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See The City Block-Sized Mixed-Use Project Planned In South LA's Florence

Developers have been selected to transform a South LA site that has been vacant and slated for redevelopment for more than a decade.

The property is a roughly 8-acre site that takes up almost the entire block bordered by Los Angeles, San Pedro, Wall and 59th streets in the Florence neighborhood. Under the proposed plan, affordable housing, senior housing, a city park, a community center, a grocery store, and shops and restaurants space would rise there. 

A preliminary rendering of the project envisioned for 200 East Slauson

The team working to build the project includes developers The Bakewell Co., which is based in South LA, The Michaels Organization, nonprofit philanthropic organization Brotherhood Crusade and Capri Investment Group. The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to draw up an exclusive negotiating agreement for the group and its proposed project.

The design team includes architects Perkins&Will, SOM, GGA and landscape architects Studio-MLA, Bakewell said. 

Danny Bakewell Jr., executive vice president of the Bakewell Co., said he has watched the site and the neighborhood around it go through many changes over the decades. Bakewell’s father, Danny Bakewell Sr., is the co-founder of the Brotherhood Crusade, a nonprofit philanthropic organization that has owned and occupied a building at the corner of San Pedro and Slauson for over 40 years. The organization will contribute the land it owns and will be housed in a new building within the development. 

Much of the site is city-owned property, but as part of the redevelopment plan, parts of it would be sold to the developers. The site would be broken up into five parcels, three of which will be purchased from the city and developed with more than 500 units of housing, a grocery store and commercial space. One parcel will be the site of a new building for the Brotherhood Crusade and a community center, and the last piece, which will remain city-owned, will give way to a new park, a city report details. 

Bakewell said he is excited by the chance to help remake the property in a way he sees as sensitive to the neighborhood’s needs. 

“We have a team from the community, that knows the community and that had the betterment of the community in mind when putting the project together,” Bakewell said.

The dense neighborhood’s population is generally poorer than other neighborhoods in the city and county of Los Angeles, according to census data. Just over 65% of residents are renters. 

The project will also create a new home for the nonprofit Brotherhood Organization.

The project is slated to bring 525 units to the property, 245 of which would be available to residents making between 30% and 80% of the area median income, or roughly $35,450 to $96,600 for a family of four in Los Angeles County. Those 245 units would be split between 136 low-income senior apartments and 109 other affordable apartments.

The remaining 280 units would be nonsubsidized apartments that the city report identifies as workforce housing. Bakewell said these units would only be available for those people or families who earn up to about 150% of the area median income.

The majority of the project site, save the Brotherhood Crusade’s building, has been earmarked for redevelopment since 2010, when the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency purchased it for that purpose and began to negotiate with potential developers Abode Communities and T.R.U.S.T South LA, according to a city report. The dissolution of the agencies threw a wrench in those plans for years, and the site became blighted. The warehouses that once occupied the site were demolished in 2017

The site has undergone some remediation to remove hazardous materials and will require more. Costs to perform that work are estimated in the report at $3M to $11M or even more. The city is responsible for those costs, Bakewell said, and the development team won’t be able to take possession of the site until it meets the necessary standards set by environmental agencies for sites that will have residential housing.

Bakewell said it will take about three or four years to develop the project once it breaks ground, but he noted that a start date is unknown, as it is dependent on the development team receiving the development agreement with the city and the time frame for environmental cleanup of the site. 

The report from the city estimates the total development costs at $239M. Though that estimate is from August 2020, when the team submitted its proposal, Bakewell said it is still roughly accurate, assuming that the coronavirus-fueled spike in construction materials costs cools off by the time the project breaks ground.