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Huge Chinatown Mixed-Use Project Ditches Its 20-Story Towers

The first designs for College Station, a mega-mixed-use complex east of the Chinatown Gold Line station, included the possibility of two 20-story towers; since then, the project's been tweaked by architecture firm Johnson Fain to include shorter housing buildings, lots of street-level retail, and plans for a 37,000-square-foot grocery store, says Urbanize LA. Now, the project will mix six low-rise buildings (holding 624 *770 residential units) with "pedestrian-oriented commercial space" and inviting plazas, landscaped using native plants.

The buildings will face Spring and College streets, with balconies that face into the development and look out on the courtyards that sit on top of the complex's landscaped podium; the podium will also hold the resident amenities, like swimming pools and a gym.

Big pedestrian plazas are planned for the northern and southern edges of the 5.7-acre parcel, and will serve as connections to both the Los Angeles State Historic Park (where a big renovation is still in progress) and the Chinatown Gold Line station. Between the two plazas will be a "central pedestrian paseo" that, besides offering pretty vistas of the mountains, will serve as a break in the massiveness of the development.

Johnson Fain lobbied developer Atlas Capital Group (which bought real estate firm EVOQ Properties in 2014 and oversees this project now) to cut the towers out of the project plan. The towers had been a target for opponents who were worried about the huge project gentrifying the neighborhood and generally being out of scale with the neighborhood.

A previous timeline for the project had construction starting later this year, then continuing in phases, with final completion planned for sometime in 2018; a rep confirms that work is on track to start at the end of 2016. To the west of the Chinatown Gold Line station, Blossom Plaza (another Johnson Fain project) is well under construction.

· Fresh Renderings for Chinatown's College Station Development [ULA]
· Huge Mixed-Use Project Could Change the Face of Chinatown [Curbed LA]
· Chinatowners Say 20-Story Mixed-User Will Be Too Dense and Too Gentrifying [Curbed LA]