LA to build interim housing where a park and restaurant was planned

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California Construction News staff writer

LA’s housing and homelessness committee has supported a plan to build interim housing on a two-acre city-owned site at 217 West First Street where an earlier plan to build a park with a public plaza, a two-story restaurant and other features failed due to cost.

The property is the site of a 1931 state office building red-tagged after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake and partially demolished in 1976. The city purchased the site in 2013 with a plan to build a park to complement Grand Park.

The city held a design competition and chose a design for a park with a restaurant, arts plaza and green space.

“As the project progressed, it became clear that the cost to build the project as designed dramatically outpaced the funding to construct it,” Councilmember Kevin De Leon wrote in a council motion.

About 7,000 people are currently experiencing homelessness in downtown Los Angeles, and additional temporary housing units are still urgently needed to bring people inside as soon as possible.

“While the city remains firmly committed to the goal of turning this parcel into a recreational space that can be enjoyed by all Angelenos, the homelessness crisis demands “an all hands on deck” approach,” De Leon’s motion states, adding “more units are urgently needed to bring people inside as soon as possible.

“The city must use (the site) to provide additional temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness.”

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