The Downtown Car Wash at the corner of Figueroa and Olympic is one of the most anachronistic sights in Downtown LA—amid the rapid development in and around South Park, it's squat one-story frame hearkens back to a time when Downtown was a dead neighborhood to be avoided entirely. Well, those days are over, Downtown is booming, and what better way to bring the car wash property up to date than to turn it into (drumroll) mixed-user with a hotel component, of course!
It's been more than a year since developer Ben Neman bought the property for $25 million, but on Wednesday, he filed plans with the city, finally revealing what's in store for the famed holdout, reports Urbanize LA.
Once the car wash is demolished, the .83-acre site will become home to 374 residential units, 373 hotel rooms, 33,500 square feet of commercial office space, and a 10,800-square-foot conference center. The project also adds more than 65,000 square feet of commercial space with promises of bars, outdoor dining, and "live dancing." Ooh la la. Parking will naturally be provided, in either an above-ground or underground lot. No renderings or start date for construction have been revealed yet.
The Downtown Car Wash has been on that South Park corner since Robert Bush built it in 1980. Back then, the land cost him just $525,000. Beginning in the mid-aughts, LA Live transformed the neighborhood around it, upping the value of Bush's land to $2.4 million, and yet he still hung on to it. Holding out on selling the property was probably the wisest decision Robert Bush ever made, because Neman ponied up around $25 million for the land in 2014.
It's taken a bit of time for Neman to get moving on this project, considering how hungry Downtown LA is for new housing. The year-and-a-half delay on filing plans may have had something to do with his arrest for suspected involvement in a money laundering scheme with the Sinaloa drug cartel. He's been out on a $500,000 bail since the spring, but might have bigger fish to fry than planning a mixed-user.
· Mixed-Use Development to Replace DTLA Car Wash [Urbanize LA]
· $25-Million South Park Car Wash Will Become Hotel/Condos [Curbed LA]