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Two complexes with office space for HBO and Apple are under construction right next to the Culver City station on the Expo Line.
Photo by Jenna Chandler

Mapping the Expo Line’s development fever

From Downtown to Santa Monica, construction is humming along the light rail

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Two complexes with office space for HBO and Apple are under construction right next to the Culver City station on the Expo Line.
| Photo by Jenna Chandler

Anyone who rides the popular Expo Line from Downtown to at least Culver City sees a flurry of activity along the tracks.

Rents have risen dramatically around the Expo Line’s stations, and it’s obvious that developers are counting on that trend to continue, as a wave of transit-oriented construction continues to rise along the route. There could be more development on the horizon.

In July, the city approved a plan to allow taller, mixed-use buildings to be built in a half-mile radius around five train stations in Palms, Rancho Park, Sawtelle, Mid-City, and Cheviot Hills. (Fix the City, the nonprofit that successfully sued to overturn Hollywood’s community plan, has filed a lawsuit against LA in an effort to stop this plan.)

Here, a map of the more notable projects along the light rail line. Projects vary in scale, purpose, and even ambition—but each will help to define how the Expo Line will be used in future years.

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1. 2528 South Grand Avenue

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2528 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007

We'll start close to the beginning of the train’s westbound route, where less than two weeks ago, developer CityView filed plans with the city to turn this inauspicious restaurant building into a mixed use structure with 296 residential units, 25 of them for very low-income tenants.

Close to both the LATTC/Ortho Institute stop on the Expo Line and USC, the project is one of many currently planned in and around Historic South Central. Designs by Humphreys and Partners Architects show balconies and a rooftop with communal space above the complex.

Via department of city planning

2. District Square

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3670 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

The West Hollywood-based Charles Company originally planned this shopping center near the Expo/Crenshaw station as a massive retail space complete with a Target. Plans changed and the project shifted to include a senior living component and far less commercial area (also no Target).

Last year, the project re-emerged with a whopping 573 residential units—more than three times what was initially proposed—plus shops, a grocery store, and as many as seven restaurants.

The project is surrounded in turmoil. In May, the Real Deal reported that the Charles Company was marketing a ground lease for the property. The Los Angeles Times also reported last month that the company had defaulted on $6.3 million in federal loans on the project. Last year, its founder was arrested on bribery charges. The site remains empty. A groundbreaking date is unclear.

The large green lot in the lower right corner is the District Square property.

3. Metro/LA County/Watt Companies joint development

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3606 W Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

This two-building project slated for the south side of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards could bring 492 residential units and commercial and retail space to two Expo Line-adjacent properties. The new structures would rise on two parcels—one vacant, and one occupied by a county probation office. Both are on either side of Crenshaw just south of Exposition Boulevard.

Via Crenshaw Crossing

4. Cumulus

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3351 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Rising now next to the Expo Line stop at La Cienega and Jefferson (at the site of what was once the home of the KLOS radio station), this massive development project will include almost 2 million square feet of residential, retail, and office space, including more than 1,200 units of housing and a grocery store. Developed by Carmel Partners and designed by TCA Architects, the project will include 1,500 bike parking spaces and a landscaped bike trail in addition to 2,371 automobile parking spaces.

Solomon Cordwell Buenz, courtesy of Carmel Partners

5. 8777 Washington

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8777 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

This project featuring 128,000 square feet of creative office space is set to rise just across the street from the Ivy Station complex. It’s not yet complete, but has already been leased by Apple for its entertainment division (after HBO backed out and moved across the street). Developed by Lincoln Property Company and Clarion Partners, the project will incorporate more than 28,000 square feet of open space, including a large central courtyard and rooftop deck.

Photo courtesy of Morley Builders, rendering via Culver City Planning Department

6. Ivy Station

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8830 National Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

This complex is going up on the site of a parking lot for the Expo Line’s Culver City stop at National and Venice. The project includes 200 apartment units, 240,000 square feet of office space, and a 148-room hotel. In a testament to the close relationship between development and mass transit, the complex is named for a long lost stop on Pacific Electric’s Air Line, which was itself named after a housing development. Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2020. HBO plans to move its headquarters into all the available office space in 2021.

Courtesy of Lowe Enterprises

7. Linea

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2443 S Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

First proposed in 2008, plans for this project from developer Alan Casden originally included 160,000 square feet of retail and buildings up to 17 stories tall. After false starts and long stalls, in March 2017, the Real Deal reported Carmel Partners bought the property. That same year, the developer broke ground on 595 apartments and 5,000 square feet of commercial space in a four-building project, now called Linea.

Via Carmel Partners

8. 11434 W Pico Blvd

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11434 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

A strip club called Fantasy Island on Pico with a mock lighthouse at this site is slated to be replaced by a six-story apartment building. The designs are by KFA. The applicant listed on city records is an LLC connected to the Calabasas-based real estate investment firm Amoroso Companies, which is busy in this neighborhood; it’s also building a five-story project near the Expo/Bundy station.

A rendering of the six-story project. Renderings by KFA, via West Los Angeles Sawtelle Neighborhood Council

9. 11916 Pico Boulevard

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11916 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Positioned on the opposite side of the tracks from the Martin Expo Town Center project at Expo/Bundy, this KFA-designed development will feature 100 residential units and just under 2,000 square feet of restaurant space. Like the project replacing the Fantasy Island strip club, this one is developed by Amoroso Companies.

Via department of city planning

10. Martin Expo Town Center

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12101 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Going up just a block from the new Expo/Bundy station, this Gensler-designed structure will replace a former Cadillac Dealership with 516 units of housing and more than 81,000 square feet of retail space. Twenty percent of units in the distinctive, terraced complex will be affordable, while 10,000 square feet have been designated for the development of a public plaza space.

The project was sued by neighbors who worried about the traffic impacts of the development. A court ruling last year cleared the way for the project to proceed, say reps for the Martin family, which owns the site and would develop the project. It’s expected to break ground later this year.

Courtesy of Martin Expo Town Center

11. Colorado @ 15th St

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1431 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

There’s plenty of projects in the works around the Expo Line's new Downtown Santa Monica station, but the area near the line’s penultimate stop at 17th Street has been comparatively quiet. As of now, the closest project to that station is this 50-unit building designed by Plus Architects.

Planned for the intersection of Colorado Avenue and 15th Street, the building will be about as close to the tracks as you can get. There’s been no recent movement on the project, Santa Monica city planning records indicate.

An aerial of the site where this project is planned to rise.
Google Maps

12. Lincoln Boulevard Collection

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1601 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404

This first phase of the complex, designed by Michael W. Folonis Architects and KFA, will include about 280 units along with ground-floor retail space. The buildings have been arranged to maximize cross breezes and natural light. The project broke ground in February 2018, Bisnow reported. According to the website of Michael Folonis Architects, the two-building phase is slated to wrap up in 2020.

The building at 1601 Lincoln.
Via Santa Monica department of city planning

13. 500 Broadway

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500 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401

This sleek seven-story mixed-user is set to replace a Fred Segal just a block from the Downtown Santa Monica stop and really made an impression on the city’s planning commission. Developed by The Witkoff Group, the project includes 249 apartments and over 68,000 square feet of retail space. It’s under construction now and is expected to be complete by 2021, according to the website for Koning Eizenberg Architecture, which designed the project.

Via Koning Eizenberg Architecture

14. 1415 5th Street

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1415 5th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Another project from MWFA, this building will include 64 units of housing and 6,345 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project also includes a pedestrian plaza and unique common area on the third floor, where designers decided to carve out a large hole in the building’s facade in order to satisfy an obscure local zoning requirement.

Via Santa Monica architectural review board

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1. 2528 South Grand Avenue

2528 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Via department of city planning

We'll start close to the beginning of the train’s westbound route, where less than two weeks ago, developer CityView filed plans with the city to turn this inauspicious restaurant building into a mixed use structure with 296 residential units, 25 of them for very low-income tenants.

Close to both the LATTC/Ortho Institute stop on the Expo Line and USC, the project is one of many currently planned in and around Historic South Central. Designs by Humphreys and Partners Architects show balconies and a rooftop with communal space above the complex.

2528 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007

2. District Square

3670 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
The large green lot in the lower right corner is the District Square property.

The West Hollywood-based Charles Company originally planned this shopping center near the Expo/Crenshaw station as a massive retail space complete with a Target. Plans changed and the project shifted to include a senior living component and far less commercial area (also no Target).

Last year, the project re-emerged with a whopping 573 residential units—more than three times what was initially proposed—plus shops, a grocery store, and as many as seven restaurants.

The project is surrounded in turmoil. In May, the Real Deal reported that the Charles Company was marketing a ground lease for the property. The Los Angeles Times also reported last month that the company had defaulted on $6.3 million in federal loans on the project. Last year, its founder was arrested on bribery charges. The site remains empty. A groundbreaking date is unclear.

3670 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

3. Metro/LA County/Watt Companies joint development

3606 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Via Crenshaw Crossing

This two-building project slated for the south side of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards could bring 492 residential units and commercial and retail space to two Expo Line-adjacent properties. The new structures would rise on two parcels—one vacant, and one occupied by a county probation office. Both are on either side of Crenshaw just south of Exposition Boulevard.

3606 W Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

4. Cumulus

3351 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Solomon Cordwell Buenz, courtesy of Carmel Partners

Rising now next to the Expo Line stop at La Cienega and Jefferson (at the site of what was once the home of the KLOS radio station), this massive development project will include almost 2 million square feet of residential, retail, and office space, including more than 1,200 units of housing and a grocery store. Developed by Carmel Partners and designed by TCA Architects, the project will include 1,500 bike parking spaces and a landscaped bike trail in addition to 2,371 automobile parking spaces.

3351 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

5. 8777 Washington

8777 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Photo courtesy of Morley Builders, rendering via Culver City Planning Department

This project featuring 128,000 square feet of creative office space is set to rise just across the street from the Ivy Station complex. It’s not yet complete, but has already been leased by Apple for its entertainment division (after HBO backed out and moved across the street). Developed by Lincoln Property Company and Clarion Partners, the project will incorporate more than 28,000 square feet of open space, including a large central courtyard and rooftop deck.

8777 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

6. Ivy Station

8830 National Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Courtesy of Lowe Enterprises

This complex is going up on the site of a parking lot for the Expo Line’s Culver City stop at National and Venice. The project includes 200 apartment units, 240,000 square feet of office space, and a 148-room hotel. In a testament to the close relationship between development and mass transit, the complex is named for a long lost stop on Pacific Electric’s Air Line, which was itself named after a housing development. Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2020. HBO plans to move its headquarters into all the available office space in 2021.

8830 National Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

7. Linea

2443 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Via Carmel Partners

First proposed in 2008, plans for this project from developer Alan Casden originally included 160,000 square feet of retail and buildings up to 17 stories tall. After false starts and long stalls, in March 2017, the Real Deal reported Carmel Partners bought the property. That same year, the developer broke ground on 595 apartments and 5,000 square feet of commercial space in a four-building project, now called Linea.

2443 S Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

8. 11434 W Pico Blvd

11434 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
A rendering of the six-story project. Renderings by KFA, via West Los Angeles Sawtelle Neighborhood Council

A strip club called Fantasy Island on Pico with a mock lighthouse at this site is slated to be replaced by a six-story apartment building. The designs are by KFA. The applicant listed on city records is an LLC connected to the Calabasas-based real estate investment firm Amoroso Companies, which is busy in this neighborhood; it’s also building a five-story project near the Expo/Bundy station.

11434 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

9. 11916 Pico Boulevard

11916 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Via department of city planning

Positioned on the opposite side of the tracks from the Martin Expo Town Center project at Expo/Bundy, this KFA-designed development will feature 100 residential units and just under 2,000 square feet of restaurant space. Like the project replacing the Fantasy Island strip club, this one is developed by Amoroso Companies.

11916 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

10. Martin Expo Town Center

12101 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Courtesy of Martin Expo Town Center

Going up just a block from the new Expo/Bundy station, this Gensler-designed structure will replace a former Cadillac Dealership with 516 units of housing and more than 81,000 square feet of retail space. Twenty percent of units in the distinctive, terraced complex will be affordable, while 10,000 square feet have been designated for the development of a public plaza space.

The project was sued by neighbors who worried about the traffic impacts of the development. A court ruling last year cleared the way for the project to proceed, say reps for the Martin family, which owns the site and would develop the project. It’s expected to break ground later this year.

12101 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

11. Colorado @ 15th St

1431 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404
An aerial of the site where this project is planned to rise.
Google Maps

There’s plenty of projects in the works around the Expo Line's new Downtown Santa Monica station, but the area near the line’s penultimate stop at 17th Street has been comparatively quiet. As of now, the closest project to that station is this 50-unit building designed by Plus Architects.

Planned for the intersection of Colorado Avenue and 15th Street, the building will be about as close to the tracks as you can get. There’s been no recent movement on the project, Santa Monica city planning records indicate.

1431 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

12. Lincoln Boulevard Collection

1601 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404
The building at 1601 Lincoln.
Via Santa Monica department of city planning

This first phase of the complex, designed by Michael W. Folonis Architects and KFA, will include about 280 units along with ground-floor retail space. The buildings have been arranged to maximize cross breezes and natural light. The project broke ground in February 2018, Bisnow reported. According to the website of Michael Folonis Architects, the two-building phase is slated to wrap up in 2020.

1601 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404

13. 500 Broadway

500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Via Koning Eizenberg Architecture

This sleek seven-story mixed-user is set to replace a Fred Segal just a block from the Downtown Santa Monica stop and really made an impression on the city’s planning commission. Developed by The Witkoff Group, the project includes 249 apartments and over 68,000 square feet of retail space. It’s under construction now and is expected to be complete by 2021, according to the website for Koning Eizenberg Architecture, which designed the project.

500 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401

14. 1415 5th Street

1415 5th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Via Santa Monica architectural review board

Another project from MWFA, this building will include 64 units of housing and 6,345 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project also includes a pedestrian plaza and unique common area on the third floor, where designers decided to carve out a large hole in the building’s facade in order to satisfy an obscure local zoning requirement.

1415 5th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401