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Downtown LA's Southern California Flower Market wants to build a residential tower

290 apartments and room for the flower market to continue

Downtown’s Southern California Flower Market near 7th and Wall streets is a bustling marketplace where vendors sell flowers wholesale and retail, mainly in the early morning hours (as anyone who’s come here for a Mother’s Day bouquet might know). Right now, the market consists of two two-story buildings on a nearly four-acre site, but that's poised to change in a big way: The Downtown News reports that a plan put forth by the flower market’s owners proposes redeveloping the site by renovating one of the buildings and razing the other, replacing it with a 14-story tower.

The new tower would hold 290 residential units. (Pricing for the units has yet to be decided, says the DN.) A low-income housing component would be part of the new development, too, though the exact number of units set aside hasn’t been set.

Next to the residential tower, the upgraded market building would have space at street level for flower vendors to continue their sales operations, plus parking and office space above that. Plans call for resident amenities to go on top of the renovated building’s parking space.

The project would be designed by Los Angeles-based firm Brooks + Scarpa.

The Flower Market was founded in 1909 and originally located on Los Angeles Street. It moved to its current Wall Street location in 1923. These days, it’s owned by a consortium of families. "Many of the shareholders are descended from the vendors who founded the market more than a century ago," the DN notes.

This project is critical to the institution’s future in Los Angeles, the Flower Market’s executive vice president Scott Yamabe told the DN.

Currently, about 50 vendors operate out of the market, selling their wares to florists and businesses, but Yamabe said, the buildings that they are operating out of are outdated and in need of "constant repair." And that’s meant mounting costs for the Flower Market. In order to get this new redevelopment built, the project needs zoning changes. If those changes are aren’t approved by the city, the Flower Market would start looking outside the city for a new home, Yamabe said.

The project already has the support of Councilmember Jose Huizar, who represents the area. Last week, Huizar filed a motion asking the council to grant the Flower Market the zoning changes it’s requesting.

Yamabe told the DN he hopes to break ground on the project in about two years.