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Mystery developer wants to build mixed-user atop Westlake Metro station

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Developers have been trying to build there since 2006

A photo of a man riding an escalator out of the Westlake/MacArthur park subway station, with a wall of red tile in the background.
A Metro rider takes the escalator up from the Westlake/MacArthur Park station.

Metro is going to invite proposals from any and all developers looking to build atop its subway station next to MacArthur Park.

It’s soliciting proposals after receiving an unsolicited plan from a developer for the Westlake/MacArthur Park station. The initial proposal was received in 2017, but in order for Metro to consider the project any further, it has to first publicize the call for proposals for the site.

Metro is expected to post the call within the next two weeks; the posting would run 30 days, says Metro spokesperson Brian Haas. Once that period is over, the agency will weigh its options, including, potentially, deciding not to pursue any of the proposals.

Because of the way Metro handles unsolicited proposals, it does not plan to reveal the identity of the developer that reached out with a plan for a mixed-used project on the property.

The details of that project are also unclear, though any development proposed for the site would have to conform to Metro’s requirements for transit-oriented developments, including that 35 percent of any housing units in the project be affordable housing.

Outlined in red is the Metro-owned land that the agency is interested in redeveloping.
Via Metro

The desirable site was slated for a mixed-use development once before from developer McCormack Baron Salazar, which built 90 affordable apartments and about 15,000 square feet of retail in a mixed-user that opened just east of the station in 2012.

The completed project was intended to be the first phase of development on the site, but phase two never quite got off the ground. The developer’s original proposal—which would have included 82 affordable apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail, and bike parking—came in about $5 million over budget. The agreement between the developer and Metro expired in 2013, but McCormack Baron Salazar lined up new funding sources and came back with another proposal in 2015.

However, by 2017, the joint development agreement between Metro and the developer had expired again, Haas says. At that point, both parties agreed the McCormack Baron Salazar project was probably not going to work.

Metro has a number of joint developments in the works now, including one on top of the Vermont/Santa Monica Red Line station, on two blocks at Exposition and Crenshaw boulevards, and at the Little Tokyo/Arts District station.