Little Tokyo Galleria Could Make Way For Mixed-Use Complex With Over 900 Units
You've likely encountered the Little Tokyo Galleria by Alameda and 3rd Street. It's oft-described as a brutalist structure, though we're not sure if this was intentional on the designers' part. The building is, indeed, pretty brutal, what with its greyscale color scheme, and its imposing block-like composition. In 2014, the owners gave it a facelift after "nearly three decades" of complaints, according to Los Angeles Downtown News. The exteriors were fitted with metallic panels and LED light boards to give it a splash of liveliness.
Well, perhaps that wasn't enough. As reported at Urbanize LA, the owners of the site (a group of Korean American investors) filed plans last week to bring a mixed-use building to the property. The complex would include 994 residential units, with 110 used as live-work lofts and 160 reserved for low-income households. Shops and restaurants are also expected. It's unclear at the moment if this project would result in a complete tear-down of the galleria, or if it will remain untouched. As noted at Curbed LA, in the past, owners had voiced plans to turn the parking structure by Alameda and 4th Street into a residential complex, so perhaps this is where the apartment units will go.
As noted at the Real Deal, the project would require a general plan amendment. Actually, it'll need a slate of accommodations; the land use designation would have to be changed from industrial to commercial, and planners are requesting a change to the height district as well. Which is to say that this is exactly the type of project that Measure S (which will be voted on on March 7) aims to strike down. The measure bars, for at least two years, most developments that require an amendment to the general plan. If passed, the newly-proposed plans for the galleria would surely get canned.
According to the L.A. Times, the galleria opened in 1985 and, for a period of time, was a bustling shopping center that was also outfitted with a movie theater and a bowling alley. Customer traffic began to decline, however, when L.A. fell into a repression in the early 90s. Also, the 1992 riots scared patrons away from the downtown L.A. area. The property switched ownership in 2008, when it was bought up by Korean American investors for $35.5 million.