A big Westside project, the Martin Expo Town Center, won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles City Council last week, a decision that will usher in new retail, residential, and a 10-story office tower on the site of a car dealership at the northwest corner of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive.
The project has been tweaked and trimmed since we last saw it at the beginning of the year. The most notable reductions are on the retail and office front. Office space was shaved down from 200,000 square feet down to 150,000, and the grocery store, once 50,000 square feet, has been slimmed down to 35,000 square feet. (The project also includes 18,000 square feet of restaurant space and 46,000 square feet for general retail use.)
The town center has also gained a few significant add-ons, namely an affordable housing component that will set aside 20 percent of the project’s 516 apartments for less-than-market rate rents. (Fifteen percent will be "workforce housing," where occupants median income can't exceed 150 percent of the area median income, and five percent will be for very low-income tenants.)
The project has also acquired a lot of upgrades geared at making it friendly for pedestrians and connecting it to transit—namely, the Expo Line’s Expo/Bundy station a block away. In addition to widened, 15-foot sidewalks, the new complex will have a half-acre pedestrian plaza, as well as a smaller, 4,000-square-foot pedestrian-oriented area at the corner of Olympic and Bundy, acting as a sort of staging area for people heading over to the light rail station, project manager Phil Simmons tells Curbed. There will also be 100 short-term and 600 long-term bike parking spots, as well as bike storage. There are also more than 1,500 underground car parking spaces.
"We think we’ve got as close to a perfect TOD [transit-oriented development] as possible," Simmons said.
The new mixed-user is being developed by the Martin family, which for over 40 years has owned and operated a Cadillac/GMC dealership on the site. (Two dealership-related buildings on the site would be demolished to make way for the new development.) Simmons says the Martin family’s long presence in the neighborhood helped garner support from locals.
But not everyone was swayed. Last month, the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council told the City Council the project would, "make our community a more dangerous place to live." The letter cited "significant traffic impacts" as the main reason for the neighborhood group’s opposition.
Now that plans are approved, the next step for developers is to prepare "working drawings." Simmons said he expects it will be "close to a year" before they apply for building permits. Developers aim to break ground in early 2018.
- First Look at the Huge Mixed-Use Complex Set to Rise By the Expo Line Extension in West LA [Curbed LA]