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Four Vacant Skid Row Hotels Could Become Tiny, Affordable Apartments

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Four empty hotels in Skid Row may be turned into small apartments for low-income residents. According to a document from the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committee, there's a new proposal calling for a number of Skid Row properties to be turned into low-income housing, Urbanize LA reports. The "Efficient City Apartment" project will be designed by David Lawrence Gray Architects and would include 132 "entry level, market rate" units and 28 units for veterans. Most apartments would be about 277 square feet, and the units would sit on top of retail, in addition to car and bike parking.

The hotels are next to one another at 721, 801, 809 and 813 E. 5th St. They were built as places for those coming in from the Southern Pacific Railroad depot to rest, but went into decline after the depot merged with Union Station. The Salvation Army had previously used them, but they've been vacant for the last six years, according to Curbed LA.

According to the proposal, this would be beneficial both because it would put some use into vacant properties, but also add some more affordable housing, "a product type that is sorely missing Downtown." The project also states that the veteran housing is being added not only because there's a need for it, but because it would create tenants at multiple income levels.

"Housing works better when there is a range of housing types within a project or area," the proposal states. "Segregating housing by income level tends to create pockets of extreme wealth and poverty that don't serve society well. A range of incomes in a project works better."

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The Rosslyn Hotel was turned into housing for the homeless with special consideration for veterans and those with mental illnesses, and a similar idea was proposed for the Cecil Hotel (now called Stay on Main). However, that plan was rejected after complaints that concentrating services in Skid Row would only make it worse.