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Metro committee recommends two affordable housing developments in Boyle Heights

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One would rise at historic Mariachi Plaza

Chavez Gardens with grocery store
A rendering of Chavez Gardens, proposed by Abode Communities.
Renderings via Metro Los Angeles

A Metro committee recommended a pair of developments Wednesday that would bring new affordable housing, shops, and a grocery store to properties the agency owns in Boyle Heights, including one next to Mariachi Plaza.

Pending approval by Metro’s Board of Directors, the agency will enter into negotiations with the East Los Angeles Community Corporation and Abode Communities to build the complexes.

ELACC would spearhead the project at Mariachi Plaza, where Metro once considered putting a bulky medical office complex that drew heated opposition from community members.

Instead of offices, ELACC plans to build 60 apartments for low-income residents and young people transitioning out of foster care or the juvenile justice system. The project also includes 6,340 square feet of retail space, a community garden, and a cultural center for mariachis. It would be called the Lucha Reyes Apartments, after Mexican singer Lucha Reyes, whose statue stands in Mariachi Plaza.

Many Boyle Heights residents and stakeholders at Wednesday’s meeting spoke in favor of the project, saying that it better fit the needs of the neighborhood than previous proposals.

Ruby Rivera, director of policy and community relations at Legacy LA, told the committee that ELACC’s outreach efforts had given residents “a voice in what development looks like in their community.”

Lucha Reyes Apartments at Mariachi Plaza
Lucha Reyes Apartments at Mariachi Plaza
Rendering of the Lucha Reyes Apartments at Mariachi Plaza.

The second proposal, to be developed by Abode Communities, would bring another 60 apartments for low-income residents to a vacant lot at the intersection of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Fickett Street.

Called Chavez Gardens, the project would also include a small public park and a grocery store—something that residents had asked to be included in the Mariachi Plaza project, but which Metro found would be infeasible to build at that site.

Abode Communities also plans to develop a separate parcel owned by the agency just a block away. That project, dubbed La Veranda, would include 77 apartments and 8,000 square feet of commercial space.