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First look at planned redevelopment of William Pereira’s former MWD complex on Sunset

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The 5.5-acre Echo Park site would hold residential, retail, offices, and a boutique hotel

Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Developer Palisades Capital Partners released its first renderings today of a big mixed-user planned for the eastern edge of Echo Park, on Sunset and Beaudry.

The new project—a mix of open space, a hotel, and hundreds of new apartments—will replace the former headquarters of Metropolitan Water District, designed by modernist William Pereira, the architect also responsible for the original LACMA buildings.

One of the low-rise buildings will look pretty similar the original Pereira architecture, with groovy screens that mimic those that once covered Pereira’s buildings. Another nod to Pereira is water features. His original MWD buildings floated above fountains and pools, symbols of the water district’s role in the growth of Los Angeles.

Periera’s buildings and the Holy Hill Community Church sanctuary that was added to the site after MWD moved out will all be torn down to make way for Palisades’s development.

It will hold a 17-story boutique hotel and 778 apartments (“a mix of market-rate and affordable”) in new low-rise buildings and two new high-rises that reach heights of 49 stories and 31 stories, respectively. The project design team includes Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, and Natoma Architects.

Palisades’s 5.5-acre project would also bring over two acres of open space to the site, including terraces, courtyards, water features, and gardens designed by James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architect behind the High Line in New York.

Those two towers will be raised up on podiums, “allowing pedestrians at eye-level to enjoy views of the Downtown skyline,” says an announcement from Palisades. “Neighborhood-serving retail” will face Sunset, while “new pedestrian access points along the perimeter of the site.”

The developers submitted an application for the project to the city today.

The back of the project, off Sunset.