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In the foreground is a river. There are trees that line the river. In the distance are highways, houses, and Los Angeles.
The LA River.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The new LA River

The national spotlight is on the river, and developers are paying attention—here are 21 projects planned to rise along the waterway

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The LA River.
| Getty Images/iStockphoto

The plan to ecologically restore an 11-mile section of the Los Angeles River put a big, national spotlight on the waterway.

Anticipating a revitalization, city and real estate developers have had their eyes on the flood channel for years now. The result has been a steady stream of projects—parks, bridges, residential, adaptive reuse, mixed-use, and even some glitzy projects by big-name architects.

(Some neighborhoods noticed too, moving to control the inevitable gentrification of the river’s restoration.)

This map tracks the biggest projects and new developments within a block of the concrete channel, from a new, $500 million Sixth Street Viaduct to a proposal to bring affordable housing, parks, and a natural overlook to the section of the river between Vernon and its Long Beach terminus.

For more reading on the LA River:

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6670 Reseda Blvd

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Set to rise just a half-block from the LA River, this apartment complex would replace a pair of low-slung office and retail structures that have been on the property since the 1950s. The complex would hold 205 units of housing, including 18 apartments reserved for tenants making under half of LA’s median income, and have approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space at street level.

The exterior of Reseda complex in Reseda, California. The facade has blue glass windows and a combination of wood walls and white painted walls. Via Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Sportsmen’s Lodge redevelopment

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A redevelopment of part of the Sportsmen’s Lodge complex by developer Richard Weintraub would turn it into a fancy 98,000-square-foot retail center called Sportsmen’s Landing. The open-air mall would bring roughly 24,000 square feet of restaurant space, a 30,000-square-foot gym (shown as an Equinox in promotional materials), and roughly 37,500 square feet of shops, including an Erewhon grocery store. (The hotel next door would remain on-site, unchanged.)

The project is expected to get underway next month, with completion expected in the fall of 2020.

A rendering of the Sportsmen’s Lodge redevelopment. There is a courtyard with people, trees, tables, and chairs in the foreground. In the background are a row of shops and restaurants. Courtesy of Midwood

Glendale/Griffith Park Bridge

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bridge across the LA River that will link Griffith Park and Glendale? It’s about time. This over-300-foot-long bridge would link the LA River Greenway Trail—the pedestrian and bike path that goes along the Griffith Park side of the river—with the Glendale side of the river, the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, and Glendale’s bikeway system.

The Glendale connection will be on Flower Street, and link up to Griffith’s John Ferraro Athletic Fields, where the soccer fields are.

(Map point is approximate)

Atwater Village-Griffith Park bridge

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This arresting bridge set to connect Atwater Village and Griffith Park was originally intended to be a gift from local developer Morton La Kretz, who donated about $5 million for its construction. But delays pushed the timeline back, and as they did, the project budget quickly ballooned to $16 million.

The bridge is under construction now, with completion expected in the fall of 2019.

(Map point is approximate.)

A tall white angled piece of the bridge rises out of a large concrete pier in the bed of the river. Two white beams bend over the pier and touch each bank of the riverbed. Bianca Barragan

Atwater Village - Silver Lake pedestrian and bike bridge

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Once planned as a temporary crossing for pedestrians and cyclists while the Glendale Hyperion complex of bridges is overhauled, this bridge connecting Atwater Village and Silver Lake over the LA River will be a permanent fixture once complete. The new 430-foot-long bridge will use piers that were left behind by the Pacific Electric “Red Car” trolleys. It will cross from Glendale and Ferncroft Road on the Atwater side and link up to the LA River bike path on the Silver Lake side.

(Map point is approximate.)

The exterior of silver lake atwater bridge in Los Angeles. Via the Bureau of Engineering

2750 Casitas

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An LLC linked to New York-based Pan Am Equities has proposed a 419-apartment complex here, near the 2 Freeway between Glassell Park and Atwater Village. Located near the Bow Tie parcel, the project would abut the open space/art space Bowtie Parcel, and plans to provide access to the 18-acre space. A warehouse occupies the site now.

The apartments, 35 of which would be reserved for low-income tenants, would be held in a group of five-story buildings that form a triangle shape, designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios.

In the foreground are plants and grass. In the background are a row of houses and a path with cyclists and people walking. Courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Taylor Yard G2 parcel

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This 41-acre parcel is considered the lynchpin to revitalizing the LA River as a greener public space, and, in 2017, the city took a big step forward in turning the site into an expansive public space by choosing a team to design a future park on the property.

Engineering and consulting firm WSP will lead a team that includes landscape architecture and urban design firm Mia Lehrer + Associates in coming up with interim uses for the space (so it can be used during the extensive cleanup and remediation process) and the public park that will ultimately grace the space.

The process to becoming a public green space will be a long one, but some preliminary concepts for the park are being presented to the public for feedback now.

(Map point is Rio de Los Angeles State Park. G2 is the large, vacant space between the park and the bend in the river.)

An aerial view of the Taylor Yard G2 parcel in Los Angeles, California. There is a river and on both sides of the river are many houses, buildings, schools, and parks. Courtesy of Mayor Eric Garcetti

1901 Blake Avenue

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This project would bring 52 live/work units (five of them affordable to very low income tenants) to Frogtown along the river. The project is designed by KFA Architecture and developed by Uncommon Developers.

A rendering of 1901 Blake Avenue. There are multiple buildings with various trees in front. Via Department of City Planning

Taylor Yard Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge

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This hard-to-miss orange bridge would link Elysian Valley and Cypress Park’s Taylor Yard parcel, hooking up the existing bike and pedestrian path to Kerr Road, a small street on the north side of the river. The project broke ground in June, and is expected to be complete in early 2021.

(Map point is approximate.)

A rendering of an orange bridge spanning across the Los Angeles River.
A renderings of the bridge spanning the river.
Courtesy of SPF:architects

Lincoln Heights Jail

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The Art Deco Lincoln Heights Jail is set to be redeveloped into a Rios Clementi Hale Studios-designed collection of commercial and manufacturing spaces, a public market, creative office space, live-work housing, green space with an amphitheater, and recreation space.

The old jail building, once known for over-crowding and a symbol of a rising crackdown on gay Angelenos, will be reused in the project. Developers Lincoln Property Company and Fifteen Group plan to build additional affordable housing and commercial office space across the street, on a site they previously acquired.

A rendering of the Lincoln Heights Jail in Los Angeles, California. There are buildings lining a pedestrian street. Over the street are strings of purple lights. There are purple trees lining the street. Courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Bending The River Back Into the City

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LA-based artist Lauren Bon has been working for years to get a water wheel and small dam installed on the LA River and it seems like she’s really, really close to making it happen.

Bon’s got all her ducks in a row, but since at least 2017 she has been waiting to receive a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers—the very last permit she needs to begin work on the project.

The project, titled Bending The River Back Into the City, would build a tall, functioning water wheel near the site of an earlier water wheel that, in the 1860s, directed water through the Zanja Madre, the original irrigation channel that brought water to LA back when it was still known as Pueblo de Los Angeles.

The wheel and dam would capture water that would be treated and used to irrigate the nearby Los Angeles State Historic Park, as well as the recently opened Albion River Park and Downey Recreation Center on the Lincoln Heights side of the river.

(Map point is approximate.)

The exterior of a water wheel and small dam in Los Angeles. Via LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy

Albion Riverside Park

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This more than 10-acre park on the site of an old dairy distribution center just opened in April. The park has bike trails and walking paths, plus low-maintenance landscaping that will be irrigated with rainwater captured by infrastructure within the park itself. The project will also include an upgrade for Downey Park, which is next to the new park site.

An aerial view of Albion Riverside Park in Los Angeles, California. In the foreground is a ball field. In the distance are many city buildings. Photo by Sterling Davis

Spring/Naud Street warehouses

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A collection of warehouses owned by Gaw Capital (owners of the Bradbury Building) is set to be transformed into a little hub of nightlife and good food thanks to a slew of East Coast transplants. An LA outpost of the Brooklyn indie music venue Baby’s All Right has yet to open, but a new restaurant by Momofuku’s David Chang called Majordomo and a new bar from the people behind New York City’s Apotheke cocktail bar are up and running.

A screenshot from Google Maps of the former commercial warehouse where the music venue is proposed. Google Maps

Los Angeles State Historic Park

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Although the park recently reopened with permanent restrooms, new landscaping, and an overlook bridge, one very exciting addition has yet to open: a restaurant and beer garden. A small restaurant on the end of the park nearest the Chinatown Gold Line station is under construction now. Originally projected to open in the summer of 2017, the restaurant, called Cargo, is now expected top be complete by the end of the summer, a representative for the park tells Curbed.

The exterior of Los Angeles State Historic Park. In the foreground are rocks, plants, and trees. In the distance are many city buildings. Courtesy of Los Angeles State Historic Park

Sixth Street Viaduct and public park

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Under construction now, the Michael Maltzan-designed Sixth Street bridge will span the Los Angeles River to connect the Arts District and Boyle Heights. It will replace its iconic but deteriorating predecessor, which needed to be demolished. The bridge, which will appear as a succession of swooping ribbon-like arches, is scheduled to open in 2020.

A public park planned for below the bridge is in the works. It’s planned to bring athletic fields, playground and fitness equipment, walking and bike paths, a public art and performance area, and a community center to a 12-acre space beneath the new structure.

Bjarke Ingels-designed Mesquit project

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A cold storage facility along the LA River in the Arts District could give way to a project designed by architect Bjarke Ingels.

The Gallo family, which owns the site, is pairing with V.E. Equities to create a glassy development up to 30 stories tall that would contain 236 boutique hotel rooms, about 300 residential units, retail, a grocery store, gallery space, and possibly even a large public riverfront deck.

The project is in the environmental review process now.

A rendering of the Mesquit project designed by Bjarke Ingels. There are a group of buildings with glass facades. A courtyard is in the center of the buildings. Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

2136 East Violet

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Separated from the river only by train tracks, this nine-story office building will also hold street-level retail. Plans call for a new sidewalk and trees to create a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere where one does not currently exist. Right now, the site is mostly sheds and warehouses used for scrapyards and storage.

Developers Lowe (formerly Lowe Enterprises) expects a 2021 opening for the building.

A building, 2136 East Violet, in Los Angeles. The building is under construction. The facade is white with multiple windows. Courtesy of Lowe

2110 Bay

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A 1.8-acre site adjacent to the future Soho Warehouse is slated to become a three-building complex with offices, retail, and residential space. Developed by Bay Capital Fund and designed by Long Beach-based Studio One Eleven, the project is less than a block from the river and will include a tower with 110 live/work units and a rooftop pool; an office building with a rooftop restaurant; and an industrial-cool “strategically-adapted retail shed structure.”

A rendering of a building complex in Los Angeles. There is a building structure in the foreground which is all glass. The structure is surrounded by other city buildings. Courtesy of Studio One Eleven

Boyle Heights Sears

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This massive adaptive reuse project near the river and Olympic Boulevard would see the recognizable Art Deco Sears tower and its vacant 10-story distribution center transformed into a mixed-use development with 1,030 live-work units, a food hall, offices, and event space.

Architecture firm Omgivning plans to open up the decidedly industrial space with some “light courts” that will allow for more natural light into the hulking on-site buildings.

Developer Izek Shomof also plans to build a new mixed-user adjacent to the Sears project on Soto Street that would bring retail and 540 housing units to the neighborhood. Last year, it was reported that Shomof was looking for a partner on the project.

The exterior of the Boyle Heights Sears. The facade is tan and the word: Sears is on two different signs on top of the building. Courtesy of The Shomof Group

Los Angeles River Bike Path Gap Closure Project

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Metro’s working on plans for a bike path along the LA River that would run through Downtown Los Angeles, connecting the existing pathways that run from Vernon to Long Beach and from the northern edge of Griffith Park to the Elysian Valley.

The eight-mile connector will allow for people to ride from Elysian Valley to, say, the Arts District, or from Downtown up to Griffith Park.

How Metro is going to link the paths is still being decided, but the new connection isn’t slated to break ground until 2023, so there is time to figure out the details.

(Map point is the approximate end of the existing bike path from Vernon to Long Beach.)

A bicycle path along the Los Angeles river. There are people riding bicycles. On one side of the path are tall bushes with red flowers. On the other side of the path is a fence with wild grass behind it. Via Metro

Lower LA River Revitalization Plan

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This plan could lead to a major transformation of the river’s lower portion, between Vernon and Long Beach, where the river meets the ocean.

A draft plan, called the Lower LA River Revitalization Plan, calls for a whopping 146 projects along the lower 19 miles of the LA River. Projects include affordable housing and green space around Cudahy Park, three bridges topped by parks in South Gate, new crossings, and a nature overlook at Compton Creek. (Map point is Cudahy Park.)

Bridge across lower LA river
Near Cudahy Park, the riverbank would be lined with terraced seating.
Rendering courtesy Perkins + Will

6670 Reseda Blvd

The exterior of Reseda complex in Reseda, California. The facade has blue glass windows and a combination of wood walls and white painted walls. Via Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Set to rise just a half-block from the LA River, this apartment complex would replace a pair of low-slung office and retail structures that have been on the property since the 1950s. The complex would hold 205 units of housing, including 18 apartments reserved for tenants making under half of LA’s median income, and have approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space at street level.

The exterior of Reseda complex in Reseda, California. The facade has blue glass windows and a combination of wood walls and white painted walls. Via Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Sportsmen’s Lodge redevelopment

A rendering of the Sportsmen’s Lodge redevelopment. There is a courtyard with people, trees, tables, and chairs in the foreground. In the background are a row of shops and restaurants. Courtesy of Midwood

A redevelopment of part of the Sportsmen’s Lodge complex by developer Richard Weintraub would turn it into a fancy 98,000-square-foot retail center called Sportsmen’s Landing. The open-air mall would bring roughly 24,000 square feet of restaurant space, a 30,000-square-foot gym (shown as an Equinox in promotional materials), and roughly 37,500 square feet of shops, including an Erewhon grocery store. (The hotel next door would remain on-site, unchanged.)

The project is expected to get underway next month, with completion expected in the fall of 2020.

A rendering of the Sportsmen’s Lodge redevelopment. There is a courtyard with people, trees, tables, and chairs in the foreground. In the background are a row of shops and restaurants. Courtesy of Midwood

Glendale/Griffith Park Bridge

bridge across the LA River that will link Griffith Park and Glendale? It’s about time. This over-300-foot-long bridge would link the LA River Greenway Trail—the pedestrian and bike path that goes along the Griffith Park side of the river—with the Glendale side of the river, the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, and Glendale’s bikeway system.

The Glendale connection will be on Flower Street, and link up to Griffith’s John Ferraro Athletic Fields, where the soccer fields are.

(Map point is approximate)

Atwater Village-Griffith Park bridge

A tall white angled piece of the bridge rises out of a large concrete pier in the bed of the river. Two white beams bend over the pier and touch each bank of the riverbed. Bianca Barragan

This arresting bridge set to connect Atwater Village and Griffith Park was originally intended to be a gift from local developer Morton La Kretz, who donated about $5 million for its construction. But delays pushed the timeline back, and as they did, the project budget quickly ballooned to $16 million.

The bridge is under construction now, with completion expected in the fall of 2019.

(Map point is approximate.)

A tall white angled piece of the bridge rises out of a large concrete pier in the bed of the river. Two white beams bend over the pier and touch each bank of the riverbed. Bianca Barragan

Atwater Village - Silver Lake pedestrian and bike bridge

The exterior of silver lake atwater bridge in Los Angeles. Via the Bureau of Engineering

Once planned as a temporary crossing for pedestrians and cyclists while the Glendale Hyperion complex of bridges is overhauled, this bridge connecting Atwater Village and Silver Lake over the LA River will be a permanent fixture once complete. The new 430-foot-long bridge will use piers that were left behind by the Pacific Electric “Red Car” trolleys. It will cross from Glendale and Ferncroft Road on the Atwater side and link up to the LA River bike path on the Silver Lake side.

(Map point is approximate.)

The exterior of silver lake atwater bridge in Los Angeles. Via the Bureau of Engineering

2750 Casitas

In the foreground are plants and grass. In the background are a row of houses and a path with cyclists and people walking. Courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios

An LLC linked to New York-based Pan Am Equities has proposed a 419-apartment complex here, near the 2 Freeway between Glassell Park and Atwater Village. Located near the Bow Tie parcel, the project would abut the open space/art space Bowtie Parcel, and plans to provide access to the 18-acre space. A warehouse occupies the site now.

The apartments, 35 of which would be reserved for low-income tenants, would be held in a group of five-story buildings that form a triangle shape, designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios.

In the foreground are plants and grass. In the background are a row of houses and a path with cyclists and people walking. Courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Taylor Yard G2 parcel

An aerial view of the Taylor Yard G2 parcel in Los Angeles, California. There is a river and on both sides of the river are many houses, buildings, schools, and parks. Courtesy of Mayor Eric Garcetti

This 41-acre parcel is considered the lynchpin to revitalizing the LA River as a greener public space, and, in 2017, the city took a big step forward in turning the site into an expansive public space by choosing a team to design a future park on the property.

Engineering and consulting firm WSP will lead a team that includes landscape architecture and urban design firm Mia Lehrer + Associates in coming up with interim uses for the space (so it can be used during the extensive cleanup and remediation process) and the public park that will ultimately grace the space.

The process to becoming a public green space will be a long one, but some preliminary concepts for the park are being presented to the public for feedback now.

(Map point is Rio de Los Angeles State Park. G2 is the large, vacant space between the park and the bend in the river.)

An aerial view of the Taylor Yard G2 parcel in Los Angeles, California. There is a river and on both sides of the river are many houses, buildings, schools, and parks. Courtesy of Mayor Eric Garcetti

1901 Blake Avenue

A rendering of 1901 Blake Avenue. There are multiple buildings with various trees in front. Via Department of City Planning

This project would bring 52 live/work units (five of them affordable to very low income tenants) to Frogtown along the river. The project is designed by KFA Architecture and developed by Uncommon Developers.

A rendering of 1901 Blake Avenue. There are multiple buildings with various trees in front. Via Department of City Planning

Taylor Yard Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge

A rendering of an orange bridge spanning across the Los Angeles River.
A renderings of the bridge spanning the river.
Courtesy of SPF:architects

This hard-to-miss orange bridge would link Elysian Valley and Cypress Park’s Taylor Yard parcel, hooking up the existing bike and pedestrian path to Kerr Road, a small street on the north side of the river. The project broke ground in June, and is expected to be complete in early 2021.

(Map point is approximate.)

A rendering of an orange bridge spanning across the Los Angeles River.
A renderings of the bridge spanning the river.
Courtesy of SPF:architects

Lincoln Heights Jail

A rendering of the Lincoln Heights Jail in Los Angeles, California. There are buildings lining a pedestrian street. Over the street are strings of purple lights. There are purple trees lining the street. Courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios

The Art Deco Lincoln Heights Jail is set to be redeveloped into a Rios Clementi Hale Studios-designed collection of commercial and manufacturing spaces, a public market, creative office space, live-work housing, green space with an amphitheater, and recreation space.

The old jail building, once known for over-crowding and a symbol of a rising crackdown on gay Angelenos, will be reused in the project. Developers Lincoln Property Company and Fifteen Group plan to build additional affordable housing and commercial office space across the street, on a site they previously acquired.

A rendering of the Lincoln Heights Jail in Los Angeles, California. There are buildings lining a pedestrian street. Over the street are strings of purple lights. There are purple trees lining the street. Courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Bending The River Back Into the City

The exterior of a water wheel and small dam in Los Angeles. Via LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy

LA-based artist Lauren Bon has been working for years to get a water wheel and small dam installed on the LA River and it seems like she’s really, really close to making it happen.

Bon’s got all her ducks in a row, but since at least 2017 she has been waiting to receive a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers—the very last permit she needs to begin work on the project.

The project, titled Bending The River Back Into the City, would build a tall, functioning water wheel near the site of an earlier water wheel that, in the 1860s, directed water through the Zanja Madre, the original irrigation channel that brought water to LA back when it was still known as Pueblo de Los Angeles.

The wheel and dam would capture water that would be treated and used to irrigate the nearby Los Angeles State Historic Park, as well as the recently opened Albion River Park and Downey Recreation Center on the Lincoln Heights side of the river.

(Map point is approximate.)

The exterior of a water wheel and small dam in Los Angeles. Via LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy

Albion Riverside Park

An aerial view of Albion Riverside Park in Los Angeles, California. In the foreground is a ball field. In the distance are many city buildings. Photo by Sterling Davis

This more than 10-acre park on the site of an old dairy distribution center just opened in April. The park has bike trails and walking paths, plus low-maintenance landscaping that will be irrigated with rainwater captured by infrastructure within the park itself. The project will a