Firms Compete in LA’s RFP Process for 5.2-Acre Project

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorLos Angeles–A panel of city agencies and local citizen groups in Los Angeles will decide which of the three short-listed design firms will design a mixed-use project slated for a 5.2-acre site at the intersection of First and Almaeda streets in Los Angeles.The property, located in an area that is a merging point for Little Tokyo, Chinatown and Downtown, is owned by the city and will be sold to the development team that best meets the criteria reflected in the city’s request for proposal (RFP) for the project.The three developer and architect team finalists include Urban Partners/Related and Jerde Partners; Concerto Development/Williams & Dame and Johnson Fai\n and Ankrom Moisan; and Neiman Properties and Rothenberg Sawasy Architects (RSA).“It all comes down to the economics,” Mark Rothenberg, managing principal of RSA tells MHN. “We thought they would decide last week but there is still no word on the decision. The city does not really have a timeline.”RSA’s proposal (pictured) features residential, retail and office complexes with landscaped walkways, a cultural promenade, which pays homage to the neighboring Japanese community and 40-ft. setbacks with a variety of restaurants with outdoor dining areas.One of the key focal points, notes Mitchell Sawasy, RSA design/principal, is the large open plaza that fronts the new Gold Line Metrorail along Alameda Street. “As a 21st century urban infill development,” says Sawasy, “this feature embraces the transit-oriented character of the project and serves as a gateway to the Little Tokyo and Arts Districts.”If approved, RSA’s project will feature 400 apartment and condo units, of which 20 percent will be allocated to affordable housing. They will be located in a variety of low-rise multi-story buildings linked with public open space and one or two levels of retail space at the base. 700 public parking spots will also be available.The project will contain 369,000 sq. ft. of office space in two distinctly different buildings–a 15-story signature office tower and a six-story flexible live/work structure with a small community theater located on the ground floor. Overall, RSA’s plan calls for more than 17,000 sq. ft. of community space, which is allocated to a variety of uses, including a flexible theater, a day/care children’s area, art galleries and space allocated for resident/community meetings. Landscaped areas, water features, public art and controlled use of signage would be incorporated throughout the development.“We believe our design proposal is the best one for the community and we hope the panel chooses what is best for the community,” concludes Rothenberg.