It was waaaaay back in November 2011 that we heard that Chinatown's Blossom Plaza mixed-use project was finally on the fast track after years of delays (the project was originally approved in 2007). So now it's 2013 ... where are the bulldozers? According to the Downtown News, "it is uncertain when construction crews will show up on site" and furthermore the city still hasn't signed a deal with developer Forest City Residential West, which took over the project in 2011. Original plans for Blossom Plaza include two towers with 262 housing units, plus 43,000 square feet of retail, a 372-spot garage, and a 17,500 square foot plaza (it's not clear what will actually be built, though, since the budget has shrunk); perhaps most importantly, the project will provide a gateway to the neighborhood via the Gold Line, "meaning people who get off the train would walk a flat surface into the heart of the community, rather than go down several flights of stairs, then head up a hill on College Street."
The project is slated for a 1.9-acre site that's currently hosting the shuttered Little Joe's restaurant (a remnant from the days when the neighborhood was Little Italy). The restaurant has been closed for 15 years and meanwhile residents are starting to get antsy about the blight. As for the delays, officials are mostly blaming the state-mandated killing of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which was leading the project. The city has at least managed to snag some state and federal money and City Councilmember Ed Reyes is hoping Blossom Plaza can break ground by the time he leaves office at the end of June.
· Is the Bloom Off the Blossom Plaza? [Downtown News]
· Chinatown's Blossom Plaza Mixed-Use on the City Fast Track [Curbed LA]