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Arts District Opens The Door For New Live/Work Units, But They Can't Be Tacky

The Arts District (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
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The Arts District is working to maintain its status as a cool, eclectic neighborhood and avoid becoming a super-gentrified concentration of yuppies. The new Interim Live/Work Zone will allow new live/work units, but they have to follow strict rules that ensure the neighborhood keeps the artists and aesthetics that made it so attractive in the first place, Curbed reports.

Currently, developers can't build any new live/work spaces in the Arts District; they can only be put into buildings that already exist. Under this temporary rule, developers can apply to construct new live/work units in a certain zone while the Department of Planning works on a larger, permanent zone. Only a limited number of projects will be allowed, and these will be used as a test.

The affected area is bounded by 1st Street to the North, 7th Place/Violet Street to the south, Alameda Street to the West and the Los Angeles River to the east.

There are some rules for these new developments, in terms of how they are used, how they look and their impact on the neighborhood. Perhaps most important to potential new tenants is that each project must have a minimum number of affordable units.

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The individual units must have high ceilings, open floor plans, plenty of natural light and must be no smaller than 750 square feet. These are not supposed to be traditional apartments—they must be created with working artists in mind. Each project must also have on-site, communal spaces for residents to work and create.

There must also be space for green projects (like living walls) and art murals, the latter of which now legal in downtown Los Angeles. The buildings must look like they belong there from design to signage—so no concrete monstrosities or billboards. And no unsightly dumpsters; trash has to be enclosed.

All new construction must also be sustainable, using solar reflective roofs, installing bike parking and planting trees. Big sites will have to break up the buildings and put in pedestrian-friendly areas. Parking is encouraged to be put underground, and is "unbundled." This means that you purchase the spot(s) if you need one, but it's not included in your rent if you don't.

A more in-depth document, complete with photo examples, is available here.