New ‘first class’ skyscraper to house homeless people in LA skid row

Construction began on Tuesday on a 19-story homeless housing project designed to reshape a skidding street corner in the image of more affluent environments.

The 278-unit Weingart Tower will replace a parking lot at 555 S. Crocker Street on the corner of the Weingart Center, the project developer in conjunction with affordable housing developer Chelsea Investment Corp. The building is expected to open in December 2023.

The Weingart Tower is the first step in a project that will eventually include 382 units, eclipsing Weingart’s existing facility, in the 11-story former El Rey Hotel, which is already more than twice the height of any other building. around him.

The metal-and-glass skyscraper “will enhance the neighborhood through architecture,” said Weingart general manager Kevin Murray. Concept plan announcement by Joseph Wong Design Associates in a 2017 interview. AXIS / GFA Architecture + Design is the architect of the project.

“One of the things we asked the architect is that we don’t want it to look like a housing project,” said Murray, a former state senator, “We want it to look like one of those other first class downtown apartments “.

The $ 160 million first phase will include 228 studio units and 47 one-bedroom units, all associated with support services including case management, medical and mental health treatment services, plan development for clients, group meetings and a meal program. Three units will be intended for managers.

The project receives $ 32 million from HHH proposal, the $ 1.2 billion bond measure approved by voters in 2016. The Weingart Foundation played a major role in the adoption of HHH.

Other funding was obtained from the Pacific Western Bank, tax credits invested by the Richman Group and funds from several state programs.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, addressing the crowd at a small opening ceremony, spoke about the restaurants, sports arena and other developments that have opened downtown. The Weingart project symbolizes the “city of belonging” accessible to all, Garcetti said.

“We love to see the downtown area revitalized over the past two decades,” said the mayor. But he added, “You shouldn’t have to be rich to enjoy it, you shouldn’t have had a lucky life to enjoy it.”

The mayor also suggested that the city’s efforts to address the homelessness crisis will soon bear fruit. “Over the next five years you will see a decrease in homelessness because of the work that we have put in place,” Garcetti said.

Times writer Dakota Smith contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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