There was yet more good news last week for the for-sale housing sector in the Arts District last week, as developers and politicians gathered to celebrate construction of the final phase of the Barker Block development. When complete, the development will comprise more than 300 residential units at the site of a former furniture manufacturing factory on Hewitt Street near the LA River. The second and final phase of the development will add 68 loft and townhouse units to the existing 241 live/work lofts that came online before the crash in an adjacent building on the same site. When complete in late 2013, the final phase will add 72,451 square feet of residential space to the development site, with an average unit size of 1,065 square feet (650-plus square feet to 2,000-plus square feet for lofts and 1,100-plus square feet to 1,300-plus square feet for townhouses).
Besides the fact that the Barker Block is the only for-sale housing arriving in the neighborhood in the near future, it's also yet another example of the regenerative powers of the city's Adaptive Reuse Ordinance (which helps developers convert existing old buildings into residential space). The Barker Block's final phase will leave its picturesque building's brick façade intact (the interiors of some of the units will also feature the brick, but probably painted over), while ripping out a section of the roof that runs the length of the building to bring light into the units and create an inner courtyard spanned by the building's original trusses.
Barker Block also has some attractive neighbors. Directly across the street are the green umbrellas and patio of Urth Café, and the imminent La Kretz Innovation Campus will be moving into the warehouse spaces directly across Hewitt Street from the Barker Block, meaning the number of bearded entrepreneurial techie types gathering in the vicinity will soon rival the number of bearded artsy types in the neighborhood. "If ever there was an 'innovation district' in cities, it is this Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles," says Henry Cisneros, founder and chairman of CityView, one of the developers of the project (Cisneros is the former secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development).
The project was developed by CityView (which also delivered the tanning booth-heavy West 27th Place student housing near USC back in 2011) in partnership with private equity firm Blackstone. Kor Group is the building partner and Nakada and Associates were the architects of record. In total, the development team spent $125 million on the Barker Block, with $25 million of that going to the final phase of construction.
· Barker Block Archives [Curbed LA]