A project that many feared might die when California abolished its community redevelopment agencies is moving ahead. The La Kretz Innovation campus, an incubator for clean-tech companies located in LA’s Arts District, recently unveiled ambitious plans designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects.
The 65,000-square-foot adaptive reuse of a concrete reinforced-masonry warehouse on a 3.1-acre site near the corner of Fifth and Hewitt was once managed by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. It has been taken over by LA’s Department of Water and Power (DWP), and will contain the LA Clean Tech Incubator, a non-profit meant to foster clean-tech companies. The building will include 20 to 50 clean-tech companies, a job training center, a prototyping workshop, a DWP customer service center, and the DWP demand response demonstration laboratory, a facility that will house demonstrations of smart appliances and cars.
Taking advantage of the bow truss building’s huge open spaces, JFAK’s plans call for an open floorplan filled with interventions like sculptural office pods, conference rooms, an interior courtyard, and a large set of bleachers for presentations and informal gathering. Outside, the project will contain its own 1/2-acre park (the first in the Arts District), filled with sloped berms, curving pathways, drought resistant plantings, benches, tables, and, of course, wi-fi. Larger elements like an amphitheater and a central sun shade are dependent on future funding.
The project is set to be completed by the end of next year.