City Council Advances Onni Group’s 1,127-Unit Dual High-Rise DTLA Project Despite Opposition

The project involves over 1.5 million square feet of floor area and a $23.9 million public benefit payment by the developer
Times Mirror Square Project Rendering 1
Rendering: Official
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The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to advance developer Onni Group‘s Times Mirror Square project, a 1,127-unit mixed-use development slated for a 3.6-acre city block that includes the former Los Angeles Times building in Downtown Los Angeles.

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The 11-4 decision both certifies the project’s environmental report and denies an appeal filed against the project by Supporters Alliance for Environmental Responsibility, a group backed by members of Laborers’ International Union of North America. The DTLA project, which will feature a 53-story South Tower and 37-story North Tower, has faced opposition over its number of affordable units – it will have 24 moderate-income units and 10 low-income units – as well as its risk to birds and purported lack of a strong project labor agreement.

“We need our housing goals to lead to ownership for working families, and to build equity for this generation of working families, so their kids can get an education and a better future,” Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Rodriguez said in a statement.

Now moved forward, project plans call for 90 studios, 714 one-bedrooms, 285 two-bedrooms, and 36 three-bedrooms over a five-story parking podium and nine additional levels of below-grade parking. The Civic Center project will provide 1,744 parking spaces and 393 bike spaces as well as 34,672 square feet of commercial space. The project approval also involves the transfer of floor area rights from the LA Convention Center at 1201 S. Figueroa St., allowing for a maximum floor area ratio of 9.41: 1 instead of 6: 1.

That transfer plan includes a benefit payment by Onni Group of $23.9 million: a figure arrived at based on the developer’s 2016 purchase of the project site for $105 million, the size of the floor area transfer, and other factors. Half of that sum will be paid in cash, while the other half is earmarked for the city’s affordable housing fund, the Pershing Square Renovation Fund, and the renovation of the project site’s Times, Plant, and Mirror buildings, which total a combined 376,105 square feet.

All told, the project entails 1,135,803 square feet of new development and 1,511,908 square feet of total floor area at the project site, which is bounded by West 1st Street, South Spring Street, West 2nd Street, and South Broadway Street. The existing Executive Building at the corner of West 1st and South Broadway and parking garage at West 2nd Street and South Broadway will both be demolished.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Onni Group has constructed over 15,000 homes, built more than 11 million square feet of commercial space, and manages more than 7,000 apartments across several North American cities. It didn’t respond to request for comment.

In August, the project was on track for a late-2021 groundbreaking and late-2024 completion.

Rendering: Official
Rendering: Official
Rendering: Official
Rendering: Official
Rendering: Official
Dean Boerner

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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