Towering Performance

Los Angeles approves first high-rise development in Westlake neighborhood

Architecture City Terrain West
The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has approved a new 41-story high rise tower for L.A. working class Westlake neighborhood. (Courtesy Los Angeles Department of City Planning)
The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has approved a new 41-story high rise tower for L.A. working class Westlake neighborhood. (Courtesy Los Angeles Department of City Planning)

The Los Angeles City Planning Commission has approved the Lake on Wilshire project, a 41-story mixed-use housing tower complex proposed by Archeon Group and developer Walter Jayasinghe for L.A.’s Westlake neighborhood.

The proposal currently plans to bring 478 market-rate apartments—including 39 affordable units—to the area. The project site at 1930 Wilshire is currently occupied by a surface parking lot and is being developed to include an 850-seat performing arts center dedicated to Sri Lankan culture. The 70,000-square-foot performing arts center will sit at the corner of the site and is depicted in renderings for the project as a five-story structure wrapped in angular, multi-colored mosaic panels. The cultural center is planned to include ground floor public open spaces and feature a large statue located at the corner as well. An existing and historic medical office building located next door to the proposed tower and cultural center will be converted into a 220-key hotel room as part of the project.

The $213.8 million mixed-use project would bring 478 units to the Westlake neighborhood. (Courtesy Los Angeles Department of City Planning)

The project is located around the corner from the Westlake/MacArthur Park Purple Line Station and represents one of the first major market-rate developments for the predominantly working class and immigrant neighborhood. Westlake is sandwiched between Koreatown—which has seen many proposals for new, dense housing towers in recent years—and Downtown Los Angeles, another growing area. There are many concerns about the project, especially with regard to its less-than-stellar community benefits package and the high potential for neighborhood displacement the project could bring. Plans to provide $20,000 for the installation of Los Angeles Police Department surveillance cameras within a two-block radius of the project have also raised concerns in the neighborhood.

Recent development in the area includes a 52-unit supportive housing complex for formerly-homeless veterans by L.A.-based Brooks + Scarpa and the Skid Row Housing Trust as well as a proposal by KTGY Architecture + Planning for an 85-unit transitional housing project built using repurposed shipping containers.

The project is among the first market-rate developments proposed for the working class neighborhood. (Courtesy Los Angeles Department of City Planning)

A timeline for the Lake on Wilshire project has not been released. The project next heads to the Los Angeles City Council for final approval. For more information, see the Lake on Wilshire project website.

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