This building would be a ‘milestone in restoring and preserving’ the Arts District

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Plans for 122 new live-work lofts on the southern edge of the Arts District have breezed through the Los Angeles Planning Commission, buoyed by the support of local artists.

The commission voted unanimously Thursday to endorse the mixed-use project, which will set aside 14 units for tenants with very low incomes. A representative for the building’s developer told the commission that those units will have a “leasing preference” for artists.

“This is an important project, because it’s a milestone in restoring and preserving the community of artists that have given so much to the culture of the city and the country,” said Jonathan Jerald, a member of Los Angeles Downtown Arts District Space.

Jerald was one of more than a dozen singers, writers, and visual artists who testified Thursday in support of the project at 1800 East Seventh Street, with many saying rents in the neighborhood have skyrocketed to the point that artists can no longer afford to live there.

The building, designed by HansonLA, would feature an “art wall” with colored glass on the facade facing Decatur Street.

“It’s important that if Los Angeles wants to be the center of the arts community, the city with developers, must provide live-work spaces to artists at prices that artists can afford,” said Miles Hamada, a silkscreen artist. “What is an Arts District without artists?”

The lofts will be part of a new seven-story building, designed by HansonLA, with ground-floor restaurants and shops.

“The design of the building invokes the industrial character of the neighborhood, with masonry walls and large, factory-style windows,” said city planner Michael Sin.

It was designed almost entirely for artists. The units, averaging 781 square feet, will each hold at least 150 square feet for workspace, with additional arts production space on each floor. Some of the lofts will open to a shared courtyard and pool, plans show.

“The architecture is great, contextual, and that’s why you’re not getting a lot of people coming out against it,” said commissioner Renee Dake Wilson. “It’s fitting with the place.”

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