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City Council approves 725-unit College Station apartment complex in Chinatown

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The project would rise on a large, empty lot across from the Chinatown Gold Line station

The Johnson Fain-designed project would hold market-rate units plus retail, including a supermarket.
Via department of city planning

The Los Angeles City Council gave its unanimous approval Friday to a 725-unit apartment project in Chinatown that had drawn opposition from community members concerned about housing affordability in the neighborhood.

Set to rise on a vacant lot across from the Chinatown Gold Line station, the College Station project would hold shops, including a supermarket, and entirely market-rate units in a neighborhood where residents are largely low-income.

Opponents argued that, if built, College Station’s presence would attract wealthier tenants to the neighborhood and lead to higher rents for existing Chinatown residents.

When the city planning commission considered the project, it recommended approval on the condition that the complex include 5 percent affordable units, roughly 37 of the 725 planned apartments.

The developer, Atlas Capital, pushed back, arguing that it wasn’t legally required to provide any affordable housing.

When College Station went before the planning and land use committee, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who represents the area, spoke in favor of approving it as purely market-rate.

“We’ll have housing for an anticipated economic growth, we’ll have increased economic activity, and that activity will be what sustains Chinatown,” Cedillo said. He also noted that his district had already approved over 600 units of supportive housing planned.

The committee greenlit the development as 100 percent market-rate, and Friday the City Council approved the project 14-0 without discussion.

The tracks of the Gold Line can be seen on the right, and curving around the top of the project.
Via department of city planning