Metro has a slew of new developments planned around Gold Line stations in Boyle Heights and the neighborhood's potentially looking at five new mixed-use projects that will bring retail, office space, and affordable housing in the near future. But the community's fighting back against one of those projects: a huge medical office complex that will rise at the Mariachi Plaza station and dramatically transform the local landmark plaza, as well as the entire block. The announcement of the project came as a surprise (and not the good kind) to local residents, and their push-back has delayed a final decision on the complex. Now it looks like community opposition just might force Metro to completely change their plans for the site: "Generally there has not been much support for Mariachi Plaza. We might start over from scratch," a Metro rep tells KPCC.
Aside from taking Boyle Heights by surprise, the project is also rubbing neighbors the wrong way with its proposed eight-story medical office building and a six-level parking garage, plus a three-floor building with street-level retail would take out a small row of shops immediately north of the plaza's iconic gazebo. Altogether, it's hit on neighborhood fears about gentrification; the owners of the small businesses who would lose their old spaces to the new project worry about being able to afford the rents in the new building. And unlike other potential projects along the light rail line, this one doesn't have any housing, a much-needed commodity in one of the city's most crowded neighborhoods.
Metro's going to be reviewing all the community feedback on the project next month.
· Is MTA having second thoughts on Boyle Heights development? [SCPR]
· Mapping Metro's Gold Line Development Boom in Boyle Heights [Curbed LA]
· Will Boyle Heights Be LA's Gentrification Hot Spot of 2015? [Curbed LA]