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DTLA Developer Decides to Top Parking Lot With Residences

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Octogenarian Aussie developer Joseph Hellen is on a roll. After converting the Historic Core's Chester Williams building into apartments (leasing is underway), Hellen is now turning his attention to his long-discussed retail-fronted parking garage project on Spring Street, but he's changing things up. With his three Historic Core apartment buildings occupied to the hilt, the developer had a change of heart and now wants to build something like 90 residential units on top of the parking levels. The Downtown News reports that "the revised proposal calls for one level of street-front retail sandwiched between two levels of underground parking and six floors of parking above, creating a total of about 500 spaces for cars. Six or seven levels of housing, with up to 90 apartments, would be on the upper floors."

There's rumblings that the new structure could contrast with the historic nature of Spring Street--this would have to be an old rendering, based on the height, and has a much glassier version--but the "project is 'by right' and does not require the typical signoffs from Building and Safety and the Planning Department" (or the City Council). But DTLA councilman Jose Huizar could complicate things for the developer--the two previously clashed over the garage because Huizar believes such a building will block loading access to three Broadway theaters and limit their usability. Hellen certainly didn't endear himself to Huizar when he put up a billboard on one of his buildings supporting the candidacy of Rudy Martinez, who tried to unseat Huizar last year.

Meanwhile, Hellen has financing for the project and says he could break ground by next summer, city allowing.
· Developer Opens One Historic Core Apartment Complex and Plans Another [DN]