Boyle Heights Developments Get Underway

Over 400 affordable housing units included in multi-million dollar commercial and mixed-use projects were presented at recent forum.

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

For years, residents have known the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension would bring even more development to the area. On Aug. 19, a couple hundred residents listened to proposed plans and gave feed back as to what they want that development to look like in their neighborhoods.

Using felt fabric buildings and trees, residents indicated what they would like to see at properties targeted for development in the area. EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo

The East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), as part of a three-year effort by residents to create community-based land-use planning, presented the “Plan del Pueblo” (Plan by the People) Community Forum. It includes recommendations from over 400 residents who say development plans should address the need for affordable and low-income housing, among other things.

For many residents, the plan is an effort to mitigate issues arising from gentrification, such as the displacement of residents who would otherwise be priced-out of their neighborhoods.

Four developers participated in the meeting that took place at Mendez High School. Presentations were made by ELACC, which already currently owns and rents dozens of affordable housing buildings in East LA, Boyle Heights, Highland Park and Unincorporated East LA; A Community of Friends (ACOF), which owns affordable housing for people with special needs and mental illnesses throughout Los Angeles; JSM Capital, LCC, a developer and property management company with apartments in Santa Monica, North Hollywood and Pasadena; and McCormack Baron and Salazar, a developer with projects in more than 30 cities nationwide.

With the exception of ELACC, which owns the properties it is developing, the other developers are negotiating with Metro to lease properties located on lots vacated for the construction of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension.

By the end of the meeting, residents had repeatedly let it be known that their top priorities are affordable housing for current residents in the area; greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables at new businesses; community rooms and childcare centers for current residents, space for street vendors along 1st Street and open space for recreation.

The community forum was targeted to residents who feel threatened by gentrification; giving them a voice in the planning and decisions of developments coming into their neighborhoods. EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo

The prospective developers outlined their project proposals for locations in the targeted area:

—1st & Boyle Avenue (Boyle Hotel): The East LA Community Corporation is in the process of securing financing to rehabilitate the Boyle Hotel, and hopes to begin construction by November. Plans include rehabilitation of the historic hotel’s 31 studio apartments; restoration of Victorian architectural features; a new roof, and upgrades to the structure’s plumbing, electrical, gas and air conditioning systems. The Boyle Hotel is located across the street from the Mariachi Plaza Metro Station.

A 3-story apartment building with 20 additional family units and underground parking will be built next door, and will include two community rooms, 21 parking spaces. Over 4,000 sq. ft. will be available as commercial space for local businesses. At least 30 percent of construction jobs are designated for local residents; green materials will be used and state efficiency requirements for green building will be exceeding by 10 percent.

—Soto St. & Michigan Ave: ELA Community Corporation is currently building “Las Margaritas,” a 3-site project that includes 115 N. Soto and 319 N. Cummings St., which are being rehabilitated, and 42 new affordable rental units being built at 137 N. Soto St. The properties will include community rooms, courtyards and open space for recreation and free parking for residents.

—1st & Lorena Street: A Community of Friends has proposed a mixed-use development with 52 affordable apartments (studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms), 22,600 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space and a semi-subterranean parking lot. The $35 million project is in walking distance to the Gold Line station, with easy access to two local landmarks, El Mercado and Evergreen Cemetery. The lot is located on approximately .8 acres of Metro-owned property. Community of Friends has proposed reconfiguring the MTA traction power station and emergency generator to the north for better use of the site. They hope to complete the development by March 2014.

—1st & Soto Street (southwest & southeast corners): A Community of Friends has proposed a $35.5 million project that will include a 3-story mixed-use building with 50 affordable apartments (2, 3 and 4 bedrooms), 8,300 sq. ft. of commercial space, a 24-seat pre-school and subterranean parking at one site, and a separate facility with 6,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 11,400 sq. ft. of office space and above ground parking stalls. The transit-oriented development is located immediately adjacent to the Gold Line portal on two lots of Metro-owned land. ACOF hopes to complete the project in March 2013.

1st & Boyle (northeast corner): JSM Capital, LLC. is developing commercial properties on 1.33 acres, including two Metro-owned parcels (totaling .83 acres, and one privately owned parcel (.5 acres) near the Mariachi Plaza Station. The project features 18,000 sq. ft. for a grocery store, 7,000 sq. ft. for a retail center with architectural features that compliment the Plaza and space for restaurants to serve local residents and Gold Line patrons. There will be 60-70 parking spots onsite and a separate parking lot with 17 parking spaces.

—Soto & Cesar E. Chavez (southeast corner, near King Taco): JSM Capital, LLC is developing residential and commercial buildings on 2 acres of Metro owned land. The development will feature 13,000 sq. ft. for a national retailer, 7,000 sq. ft, for a retail center, 10 affordable housing units near Mathews Street, and 95 parking spaces.

—1st & Boyle Avenue (southwest corner): McCormack Baron Salazar & JSM is designing the “Santa Cecilia Apartments,” a mixed-use project site located on .5 acres of Metro-owned land. The apartments will include 100 affordable housing units (mostly 2 and 3 bedroom units), 6,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, residential design to accommodate people with special needs (Universal Design), a community room, garden and separate parking lot. Construction could begin next year and could create 165 new construction jobs.

—Mathews & Ficket (on Cesar Chavez Blvd): McCormack Baron Salazar & JSM is designing the “Brooklyn Heights Apartments,” another mixed-use building located on 1.5 acres of Metro-owned land. The project includes 73 proposed affordable housing units (mostly 2, 3 bedrooms) in the unit washers and dryers, secured entrance and parking and 3,200 sq. ft. of commercial space with it’s own parking lot. The project also includes a community room and garden. The developer says the project will create 175 new construction jobs.

For more information call (323) 604-1966 or visit

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August 26, 2010  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


6 Responses to “Boyle Heights Developments Get Underway”

  1. Sally Brown on August 27th, 2010 12:18 am

    Is there going to be a central office where anyone can apply for any of the housing units? My concern is that ELACC is going to pick and choose who they want to have living in their new housing projects and not give an opportunity to those families that have been paying high markets rents in Boyle Heights and meet the affordable housing requirements. Instead the majority of thier tenants are first generation mexican citizens that speak little english have some knowledge of their tenant rights and feel intimidated by property managers. Once your in one of ELACC’s properties you are under servailance 24/7 and feel trapped. I just hope for these new developments they include in the rental contracts that any child living in household are free to laugh, play and just grow up without fearing that the family is going to get a 3 day to quit or else. Please include playgrounds in the new developments.

  2. smartmen on August 27th, 2010 1:36 pm

    I live in the Boyle Heights area. My Concern its that ELCC only Invite to their meetings of forums to people who will support their projects. I m very concern because this organization its give us more people, Boyle Heights has too many poeple living per capital that any other area in LA. Its time to STOP building Housing in our area. I am very concern that ELCC is using only people who speak Espanol to get support to their projects because its easy to move, just bring food and they will happy to support it. This developing companies need to came to the general population and heard our real concerns. Its time that we people who are homeowners have a voice. This Plan is not the Community Plan.

  3. off the street on August 27th, 2010 4:53 pm

    With nearly 75% of Boyle Heights residents are renters according to ELACC, i question if we really need more rental units. Affordable or market rate. We should emphasize homeownership. Given the opportunity, i think most residents would rather own a home than live as renters. The homeownership opportunities in Boyle Heights are few and inbetween.
    The only problem is that someone with argue that it will induce gentrification, as to say local residents are not able to buy homes in there own community, which is false. Natives sons and daughters of the area can buy homes and they do, except they buy else where. The lack of options for homeownership here force residents to look else where. The problem with affordable housing is that it most have large quantities to make it economically viable to a developer. Market rate housing would be a better suit, a project similiar to townhouses in the aliso pico area.

  4. Breed St on August 27th, 2010 6:39 pm

    I agree. We should be building housing instead of apartments. Apartments are magnets for crimes. Housing makes cities safer and grows communities.

  5. BH Citizen on August 29th, 2010 3:05 pm

    400 more units in Boyle Heights, Seriously?!? This area is already one of the most densely populated in Los Angeles. ELACC and A Community of Friends continues to want to depress and oppress Boyle Heights with low income residents. Why don’t they use some of the current land they own to develop much needed pocket parks in this area? Because block grants won’t be available to fatten their pockets. These developers are a cabal peddling poverty while increasing their own bottom line. I would also bet the majority don’t live in Boyle Heights.

  6. Raul on January 13th, 2011 11:46 am

    Where are the jobs? I see hundreds of new units, flooding the community with more and more people. We need jobs for the community, not low income housing. I know they are mixed use properties, which will bring some minute amounts of jobs. Today, families use more than one car which will in fact crowd the streets more, making current residents unhappy. There are owners who live in Boyle Heights, such as my family, but it seems like everyone is only thinking about the renters. We have seen this community being manipulated for years by the Metro (since the proposal back in the late 80’s and early 90’s) and other interest groups. We have never received anything indicating a meeting taking place proposing what to do with this land. Jobs will be better and bring in more money to the community through taxes and employment. Services for those in the community will be better, I know times are tough but we need to improve, not be latent and in the same place. Big Buy on Cesar Chavez just closed after about 50 years in the community, what about those people and the rest of the people without jobs. Lets put people and young people to work, we might see a drop in crime, who knows, but lets not make low cost renting the main focus on this great opportunity. Low cost renting, when you think low cost, do you really think quality or a quick fix to someones problem?

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