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Korean American National Museum ditches plan for 103 apartments

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Citing construction costs, the group returns to the originally proposed museum project

A 2017 rendering of the museum.
Via Korean American National Museum

The group planning to build the Korean American National Museum can move forward with plans to put the institution at Vermont Avenue and Sixth Street in Koreatown—but the group no longer wants to add housing to the project.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously yesterday in support of allowing the organization behind the museum to renegotiate its 50-year lease with the city again.

The project was originally planned as just the institution and parking. But in 2015, museum officials asked the city to amend its lease to allow for 103 apartments at the site.

In May, Councilmember Herb Wesson Jr. asked the city to change the lease one more time, to remove the housing but keep the museum and the parking. The museum’s board had decided to remove housing from the project “due to the increase in construction costs,” Wesson said in a motion.

Original plans showed a three-story building, with two stories of museum space, a “community auditorium,” a pair of exhibitions halls, and study areas. A second plan with the housing units showed a seven-story building.

The idea for a Korean-American museum has been formally kicking around since at least 2000 and has changed prospective locations a number of times. The museum would rise near a large project planned by the County of Los Angeles that would replace aging office buildings with new offices, housing, and community space.