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County picks developer to turn vacant Vermont/Manchester lot into big shopping, housing complex

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Vacant for decades, the site once hosted a swap meet that burned down in the 1992 Uprising

Courtesy of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

A mixed-use development planned for Vermont and Manchester avenues took another step forward Tuesday, when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors picked a developer to build the residential and retail portion of the project.

The developer, Bridge Housing Corporation, will be in charge of erecting the complex’s 180 residential units. It still needs to negotiate with the county on the scope of the project. But it has already proposed that 120 units be set aside for tenants making 40 to 60 percent of the area’s median household income.

An additional 55 units would be devoted to homeless residents and would come with access to on-site services like job training or mental health providers.

They’ll all range from studio to three-bedroom units.

This part of the project would also include approximately 62,000 square feet of commercial space. Proposed tenants include a grocery story, a restaurant, shops, and an “occupational training center to be operated by Metro.”

In June, county supervisors selected an operator for the development’s boarding school component, which will train students for jobs in transportation.

The boarding school was hotly contested. The Los Angeles Times reported in June that many critics said the space would be better used as sit-down restaurants and shops, which they say the neighborhood lacks.

In addition to the boarding school and residential and retail elements, the development will also bring a public plaza and a five-story, 400-space parking structure to the site at the northeast corner of Vermont and Manchester avenues.

In April, a court ruling enabled the county to seize the long-vacant four-acre property using eminent domain. The owner, Eli Sasson, had held the property since before the 1992 uprising that followed the Rodney King verdict; during the turmoil the swap meet that occupied the property burned.

The site has sat empty since then, and supervisors and numerous residents of the area attest that it become a nuisance and a blight.

Sasson had planned a high-end retail project that held a groundbreaking in 2015, but it was never built.