This week, the Urban Land Institute (at the request of Metro) sent an eight member Advisory Services Panel deep into the area around Union Station and asked them to come back with advice for "what land use and planning policies should be adopted, and what infrastructure investments the City should make in the area immediately surrounding Union Station." (Metro bought the station and 42 adjacent acres earlier this year and is planning a big redevelopment on that land.) Today they shared their findings with a group that included City Councilmembers, Planning Dept. head Michael LoGrande, Metro CEO Art Leahy, and Metro leaders, reports blogdowntown. The panel says that the transport hub could make the area a major destination, and "Several talked of the potential for the Union Station area to be Downtown's next South Park." That's right--there's going to be a NEXT South Park. Here're some of their recommendations:
-- They were not into the two jails northeast of the station. LA County is already looking into rebuilding the Men's Central Jail, but is focusing on the same site (plans call for three ten-story towers). However, area Councilmember Jose Huizar is on board with getting that jail out of there--"It sounds like we as the city and Metro are on the same page, now we need to lobby the county supervisors to find another location for the jail."
-- The panel suggested that the city and county work on connecting Union Station with the surrounding neighborhoods, specifically by developing the surface parking lots between the station and Hill Street. And they made it clear they wanted actual building--one panelist said "We can't just streetscape and put in signs, we need development."
-- They also called for above-ground retail at that underground white elephant, the LA Mall. No calls for an ESPN Zone, though.
· Union Station Panel Says Area Could Be Downtown's Next South Park [blogdowntown]
· The 6 Teams That Could Master Plan the Union Station Redevelopment Include Renzo Piano and Norman Foster [Curbed LA]