Casden proposes the construction of a transit-oriented, mixed-use development consisting of 638 market-rate and affordable apartments, and approximately 160,000 square feet of commercial space. The 4-acre project site, which is currently occupied by the Catalina Pacific Concrete Plant, is located at 11122 W. Pico Boulevard and 2341-2441 S. Sepulveda Boulevard in West Los Angeles, including the adjacent MTA railroad right-of-way along Exposition Boulevard on which phase two of the Expo Line is being constructed and the Sepulveda station will be sited.
The Casden West LA project will include 638 apartments, including 71 of which will set aside as affordable units for low-income seniors. The residences will consist of a mix of studio units and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with a few three-bedroom units. The average size ranges from 534 square feet for the studios to 1,500 square feet for the three-bedroom units. Casden’s decision to build rental housing at this location is driven by several market factors that were revealed during thorough pre-design research. Based on the type of demand for a particular area, Casden designs an appropriate plan to suit those needs. In this case, we discovered there is significant and growing demand for quality rental housing in the area around Pico and Sepulveda boulevards.
The retail component is designed take advantage of the natural slope of the site by providing at-grade access to the “big-box” retail store(s) from Pico Boulevard, and the local-serving retail space that fronts on the transit plaza and along Sepulveda Boulevard. It is anticipated that possible local-serving retail uses would include a newsstand, coffee shop, restaurants and other convenience shops for residents living in or near the project, as well as commuters using the Expo Line or buses. The grocery store of approximately 50,000 square feet is located approximately 12 feet below the grade of the transit plaza, at parking level P-2. Pedestrian access to this space is provided from a multilevel plaza that extends from the transit area uniting three levels of retail space in a lively setting with outdoor seating and eating facilities—the pedestrian “heart” of the project relating the retail spaces to the transit amenities.
The project will provide subterranean and above-grade parking to meet municipal code requirements. It will contain a six-level subterranean parking lot of 1,795 parking spaces, 1,1,55 of which are proposed to serve the residential units and 640 spaces are proposed for retail patrons and employees.
How will cars access the project and what impact will the development have on traffic in the West LA area?
Access to the project’s commercial space will be from Pico and Sepulveda. Access to the residences will be from Exposition and Sepulveda. All traffic impacts caused by the project and proposed mitigations will be fully analyzed as part of the city’s comprehensive environmental review process of the development. In addition to the advent of the Expo Line, which we believe will prove to be a viable transportation alternative for a number of area residents, visitors and employees, the mixed-use nature of the Casden West LA project is designed to promote a reduction of car trips by providing a large supply of housing and employment opportunities in close proximity to one another and to abundant public transit options. Moreover, locating shopping uses on-site will reduce the need for project residents to make lengthy trips to satisfy everyday shopping needs. Instead, such errands can be accomplished just a few steps from home.
Casden has been working closely with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Expo Line Authority staff to coordinate the planning and design of the Pico-Sepulveda project with their plans for Phase 2 of the Expo Line and the Sepulveda Station. This coordinated effort ensures that Casden’s project will complement, not conflict with, the Expo Line and the station, which is located on the bridge spanning Sepulveda Boulevard. An easily accessed plaza at the entry to the Sepulveda Station will offer rail users an inviting environment with street furniture, landscaping and specially programmed retail stores, including a café and newsstand. Casden’s vision for the project is to create a place where people can live without daily dependence on a car and to create a local destination for area residents to access by foot, bike, bus, or rail.
Van Tilburg, Banvard and Soderbergh, AIA, (www.vtbs.com), an award-winning architectural firm, has designed the project in a contemporary architectural style. Residential units will be contained in four buildings on a podium above two floors of commercial uses and five levels of subterranean parking. The project has been designed to create an open, non-internalized environment that sustains street-level interest and promotes pedestrian traffic. Generous windows and pedestrian entries will be provided at the street level to promote visual interest and create a welcoming environment along the project’s Pico and Sepulveda frontages. Other features include broad and inviting sidewalks, street seating and mature landscaping.
The project will be a silver-level LEED-certified development and be designed to both state and local green building regulations. As such, it will incorporate special features into the design to be environmentally responsible by the conservation of energy and water and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Casden is a leading developer of high-end residential and mixed-use communities in Southern California. During the past 25 years, Casden and its affiliates have developed or acquired 90,000 apartment units valued at more than $7 billion. Some of its local projects include the Palazzo residential developments across the street from The Grove and in Westwood Village. Casden has a long and extensive track record of building and managing affordable housing, as more than one-third of those units have been permanently set aside as affordable housing.
This project exemplifies the principles of smart growth, efficiently integrating a mix of housing, retail and transportation options into a single location. By providing quality, market-rate rental housing, the project will help address the city’s rental housing shortage. Moreover, the addition of very low-income apartments for seniors will increase the city’s supply of much-needed affordable housing units. The new housing will not displace any residents. As a transit-oriented development, the project will serve to lower rates of vehicle miles traveled by project residents, reduce air pollution and energy consumption, increase mobility alternatives, increase public safety, and promote healthier living. According to a fiscal impact report on the project prepared by The Concord Group, the Casden West LA project will create 1,637 construction jobs and 695 annual permanent jobs when operational. Aggregated over a 15-year period, the project is expected to generate a total of $1.14 billion in additional economic output. The City of Los Angeles will receive $35.2 million in fees and revenue as a result of the project aggregated over a 15-year period.
The City of Los Angeles has prepared a final environmental impact report on the project that studied potential impacts, including traffic, circulation, noise, air quality, aesthetics, and other issues. The document is available for public review at the City Planning Department’s website (http://cityplanning.lacity.org/eir/). Public hearings will be held by city decision-makers later this spring.