Arts District warehouses may give way to glassy Bjarke Ingels mixed-user

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The unstoppable Arts District continues barreling forward, with another exciting new project announced for the neighborhood. This time, the Gallo family, which has long owned a cold storage facility along the river in the Arts District, is pairing with V.E. Equities to put a glassy new development on its property along the Los Angeles River.

The project would include two boutique hotels with about 225 rooms, 800,000 square feet of creative office space, about 250 residential units, shops, and open space along the river, according to a release for the project.

The new development would span an “an aging industrial site” that extends from Seventh Street north along Mesquit Street almost up to where the new Sixth Street Bridge will be. It will be the first Los Angeles project by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who is designing Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley as well as in London, and designing 2 World Trade Center on the World Trade Center site in New York City.

The development will take the form of two glassy, box-shaped buildings that link up and reach up to 30 stories high, says the Los Angeles Times.

The Mequit project, though tall, is designed so as not to be a barrier between the river and the rest of the city. “We don’t want to wall the city off from the river. It looks like they are trying to create permeability through the buildings,” planning director Vince Bertoni told the Times. Bertoni met with Ingels last month about the development.

In the release for the project, Ingels describes the Mesquit project as “a flexible framework” that’s designed to be very customizable.

The Times elaborates, saying the idea is to build a complex that’s “a superstructure of giant concrete frames” into which glassy blocks can be inserted and divided as tenants see fit. One tenant might divide the space into multiple floors, while another will just leave it one large, tall space.

An exciting element of the project will be its proposed river deck that would extend over the railroad tracks between the river and the Gallo property. Getting the deck built would be tricky, and would mean “cooperation from a slew of public agencies and companies,” but it would be a big draw..

The project would comply with Measure JJJ, which, passed by voters in November, requires the hiring of local workers and inclusion of affordable housing in big residential projects. The Gallos and V.E. Equities are also planning ahead, trying to secure at least the initial rights to build before March, when the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, now officially called Measure S, appears on the ballot.

Bjarke Ingels Group is just the latest international architect to sign on to a project in the Arts District. Over on Sixth and Alameda, Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Mueron is designing a dual-towered megaproject with a mix of housing, retail, office space, and even a school.

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