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Metro moving forward to develop site above Regional Connector’s Little Tokyo/Arts District station

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Big changes ahead for the busy corner at First and Alameda

An aerial view of a construction site at the Little Tokyo, Arts District station in Los Angeles.
Construction on the future Regional Connector station at First and Alameda.
Metro / Creative Commons

Big changes are ahead for the busy corner at First and Alameda. Metro is looking for developers with “bold” ideas to build something on the site above its future Little Tokyo/Arts District subway station.

Right now, the site at First Street, between Central and Alameda, is a huge pit. Metro is at work building the subway station—it will be one of three—as part of its Regional Connector project, which will offer one-seat rides across the city when it’s up and running by the end of 2021.

Metro spokesperson Jose Ubaldo tells Curbed that the agency intends to kick off the first phase of its developer search—putting out a request for qualifications—later this month.

The transit agency hasn’t determined what exactly will be built above the Little Tokyo/Arts District subway station. It’s looking for developers to pitch ideas based on community input.

It says the property “has great potential to foster an innovative project that supports transit usage and creates a pedestrian-friendly [and] sustainable... destination.” That may or may not include affordable housing, according to the project website.

“Concepts for future projects have a rich context to draw inspiration from and generate bold ideas that respect the area’s historic fabric, support local businesses, and create an iconic place for both existing residents and visitors,” the website says.

Metro documents note that the Regional Connector’s environmental impact report mandates that Metro pursue this development project as a “displacement and relocation mitigation measure following station construction.”

Metro has hosted four community meetings so far, but will not hold any more between now and the release of its request for information from potential developers. It is accepting comments on its plans for the site until August 20.