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Latest Developments In DTLA Reflect How The Area Is Growing

Indicative of the city’s booming landscape, the Los Angeles Planning Commission is considering two high-rise mixed-use developments in downtown LA.

Rendering of the Hill Street Lofts in downtown LA

In February’s planning commission meeting, the commission gave preliminary approvals for Agoura Oaks’ proposed Hill Street Lofts, a 390-foot high-rise development at 920 South Hill St., which is currently a parking lot, and renowned developer Barry Shy’s 601 Main St., a 38-story, 390-foot, mixed-use high-rise development.

Shy’s project will feature 452 condominiums, 15 commercial condominiums and 21,514 SF of commercial space. 

Kate Bartolo & Associates principal Kate Bartolo, who is assisting with both projects, said the Hill Street Lofts development has one more commission hearing. While 601 Main St. has at least three more meetings with the planning commission before it can move forward.

Downtown LA is really achieving a renaissance that we — those who came here early — expected,” Bartolo said. “There are still problems and issues but it’s incredibly exciting to see how creative developers are [in] meeting the needs of today and future needs.”

The two projects represent the growing demand of the downtown area.

According to a recent study by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, a nonprofit that consists of local property owners that advocates for the area, more than 2,800 residential units opened in downtown LA last year.

Rendering of 601 Main St. mixed-use development in Los Angeles

There are 25 residential developments under construction and more than 75 mixed-use and/or residential projects are being proposed.

“The Downtown LA renaissance reached new heights in 2017, showing continued strength across all sectors,” the study said. “Residential development led the way with a record-breaking 2,831 units coming to market this year at 11 projects. With almost 10,000 more units under construction and almost 30,000 units proposed, more records are likely to fall in the coming years.”

How much is too much? How dense can downtown LA get?

Bartolo said it is important for developers to place an emphasis on design to manage density in an area. 

She would also like to see more zoning incentives for projects such as workforce housing, shelters and traditional housing in parts of downtown that are less developed.

She does not think downtown is being overbuilt. 

"I don’t view it as a market capable of oversaturation," she said, while stressing the importance of responsible city building.

Find out more about what is driving development in downtown LA at our Neighborhood Series: Evolution of Downtown LA event April 3 at the Pettebone Building.