Metro’s Board of Directors adopted new development guidelines Thursday for a 1.08-acre parcel that the agency owns next to the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line stop in Boyle Heights.
A few years back, Metro unveiled plans for a big new development at the site, which would have included a large medical office building and a three-story structure with street-level retail. The project took many local residents by surprise, and proved deeply unpopular with members of the community. So Metro scuttled the plans.
Now, the agency has established a new framework for the site based on local input. The new plan calls for between 40 and 60 units of affordable housing, 12,000 square feet of commercial space, and 2,000 square feet of community space that could include a resource center where the mariachi musicians who give the plaza its name could store their instruments.
The agency is also considering establishing a park with public art on a small parcel across the street from the station at the intersection of Bailey Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
The guidelines note that the affordable housing component of the project would not be possible under the area’s zoning rules right now, but the agency expects that a forthcoming update to the community plan would allow the project to proceed once it’s adopted—probably in 2018.
Interestingly, Metro is also looking into incorporating a street vending space into the project. With the city updating its rules restricting sales on streets and sidewalks, Metro is developing a pilot program to work with vendors in MacArthur Park. If successful, the program could be adopted to Mariachi Plaza, allowing vendors to hawk their wares in designated areas.