Last year, Irvine-based developer SunCal dropped $130 million on a 14.6-acre property bordered by Sixth, Alameda, Mill, and Wholesale streets in the Arts District, and now, we finally know what’s planned for this enormous parcel. Developers have shared with Curbed renderings and plans for a massive multi-use complex that includes two, 58-story towers, rental units and condos, office space, retail, and a school; the site is currently home to two warehouses mainly used by food distributors.
The project—which would be the tallest Arts District development by a long shot—would radically alter the neighborhood, which has already changed drastically over the last few years via a steady influx of increasingly wealthier residents.
The complex would be designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, which produced a recent extension of the Tate Modern museum in London, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Beijing National Stadium (a.k.a the Bird’s Nest) for the 2008 Summer Olympics. This would be Herzog & de Meuron’s first project in Los Angeles.
The exterior of the Arts District project, called 6AM, would be mainly framed in concrete, leaving large blank spaces that are intended to “encourage murals and other evolutionary art responses,” according to a presentation on the project shared with Curbed by SunCal, the developer.
The project’s design has taken into account the kind of buildings that are already in the Arts District, namely the lower- and mid-rise industrial buildings. As shown in the renderings, there are almost two separate parts of the project, which is divided in half by a “table,” likely to be about 40 feet high.
Beneath the “table” will be a variety of uses including retail, a grocery store, a food hall, and the hotels’ lobbies. Above the “table” will be residential space and offices. The area beneath the table has the look of a really clean, very cool alley, though the presentation packet says the area is meant to evoke “the meandering, sheltered bazaars of the Middle East and the fundamental horizontality of Los Angeles.”
6AM would add 1,736 new residences (approximately 430 of which would be condos), plus two hotels, creative office space, a school, two parks, and 23,000 square feet of “art opportunity space,” says the Los Angeles Times. The new project sounds like it would essentially add an entirely new neighborhood within a neighborhood.
The two towers would rise along Alameda, a busy corridor for truck traffic, notes the presentation packet. The placement of the towers along this industrial thoroughfare is not only a nod to a future light rail station planned for the Arts District at Seventh and Alameda and the demand for new residential near transit but also “preserves the integrity of the remainder of the property as a mid‐rise environment in the Arts District,” according to the packet.
The project, which is still in the very early stages, will require a zoning change and a general plan amendment in order to be constructed. The Times says developers are “nervous” about the project in light of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative coming to the ballot in March—a measure that would crack down on projects that need zoning changes, general plan amendments, and tall projects in general. SunCal is expected to submit plans for the project in the coming weeks.