A 33-story high-rise planned for the edge of Downtown LA’s Fashion District would be the highest ever built in the quickly evolving neighborhood. But activists and residents of the neighboring Skid Row area protested the project Friday, arguing that city officials should focus on housing the homeless rather than approving large-scale residential projects like this one.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the protest took place around the proposed project site at Seventh and Maple, just blocks from the service providers and affordable housing facilities of Skid Row.
Opponents of the project pointed to recent reports indicating that Downtown’s vacancy rate has climbed to well over 10 percent. “Too many luxury units are vacant in Downtown while people sleep on the sidewalk,” wrote the Los Angeles Community Action Network, an advocacy group that has filed an appeal opposing the project.
Approved by the Los Angeles Planning Commission earlier this month, the new development would bring 452 apartments to the area, along with commercial space and a public paseo. 50 of the building’s units would be set aside for residents with very low incomes.
Steve Diaz, deputy director of organizing with LA CAN, told the planning commission that those affordable units would still likely be too pricey for homeless residents of Skid Row to afford.
Commissioner Marc Mitchell was more optimistic about the proposed high-rise, calling it “an important project that will transform the area.”
If approved by the city council, the project is expected to take about 30 months to construct and could open as early as 2020.