A seven-acre apartment, office and restaurant development proposed as the first major development on the Los Angeles River, is stirring concerns among some who worry the project would undermine a decades-long effort to revitalize and ensure access to Los Angeles’s cement waterway.
The project, called Casitas Lofts, has been proposed by New York-based Pan Am Equities and appears to be the company’s first major project outside of the East Coast. It would replace an industrial parcel just east of the 2 Freeway between Atwater Village and Glassell Park.
The development would require a city approved zoning change and would be near the entrance of the relatively new “Bowtie Parcel” state park land, which is expected be developed as a green space and is a key feature of river revitalization efforts. That parcel is currently closed but offers events, like art installations through a non-profit.
The Casitas project would have 419 apartments, of which 35 would be set-aside for low-income renters and 22,000 square feet for offices and restaurants.
The project, if it moves forward, would potentially set a precedent for similar projects in the future, which makes it “very important,” according to Damon Nagami, a spokesperson for the Natural Resource Defense Council, a national environmental advocacy group.
According to Nagami, if the project is a go, the defense council wants to ensure it is done sustainably with equitable access to the river and without displacing current residents.
Carl Robinette recently reported on a development proposed near the Los Angeles River. The LA River is that iconic concrete canal you see in movies like Terminator 2, but with large parts of the river inhabited by green space and wildlife, some groups want to expand and open the natural environment in and around the LA River, while developers see an emerging opportunity for high-end housing near Atwater Village.