128-Unit Affordable Pico-Union Project Approved

Proposed by a Los Angeles developer, the Menlo Avenue project will rise six stories
1216 Menlo Ave. Rendering
Rendering: Official
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The Los Angeles planning department has approved real estate investment company Cypress Equity Investments‘ plans for a 128-unit affordable housing project at 1216 Menlo Ave. in the Pico-Union neighborhood, according to a planning report this week.

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At the site, CEI, which submitted its plans last summer, has planned a six-story development categorized as a Tier-4 project under the city’s Transit-Oriented Communities Incentive Program. The project sits within 750 feet of Metro 754 and Metro Local 30/330 stops near the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Pico Boulevard, qualifying it for Tier-3 status under the city’s TOC program, and it gets an additional boost for being 100 percent affordable.

The Menlo Avenue project will include 121 units for low-income households, three for extremely low-income households, and two for very low-income households, along with one market-rate manager’s unit. Of its 128 units, CEI’s project will have 24 studios, 39 one-bedrooms, 33 two-bedrooms, and 32 three-bedrooms, with average unit sizes of 420, 519, 740, and 978 square feet, respectively.

Facing about 200 feet of Menlo Avenue, the existing 39,995 square-foot project site is made up of two rectangular parcels and holds two structures: a single-family residence constructed in 1911 that is currently used as a language school, and an eight-unit multifamily building. While the latter will be demolished, the language-school building will be repurposed for use as administrative and social services offices and as common areas for residents. In all, project plans total about 114,450 square feet, over 100,000 of which will make up the new mid-rise community.

CEI is joined by project architect Ottinger Architects, landscape architect KSA Design Studio, and land-use law firm Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac attorney Dave Rand, who is listed as the project applicant for 1216 Menlo. Menlo Investor LLC, a company registered to CEI’s West Los Angeles office, recorded a purchase of the project site last year from Japanese Language School Unified System for $5.7 million, according to county property records.

As a Tier-4 project, the Menlo Avenue project doesn’t need to provide any vehicle parking, and project plans call for three automobile spaces along with 99 bicycle spots. The project will also have 12,020 square feet of open space (following a 25 percent reduction also allowed of Tier-4 projects) that includes a community room, courtyard, roof decks, and private balconies.

Dean Boerner

Dean Boerner is a California-based writer previously with Bisnow and the San Francisco Business Times. He received his bachelor's degree in economics and business from Saint Mary's College of California, where he also served as the editor-in-chief of The Collegian, the school's campus newspaper. Before that, he spent two years as the publication's sports editor, and he remains a committed fan, for better or worse, of his Sacramento Kings, San Francisco Giants, and Saint Mary's Gaels.
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