The Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) is currently in the midst of facilitating the development of four city-owned parcels on Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox Avenue.
Three of the four parcels are owned by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and are used as public pay surface parking lots. The fourth is a city-owned commercial building that houses Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Woodbury University and the American Center for Music Theater.
“We see this as a perfect opportunity for infill development near transit,” the department’s assistant general manager, Helmi Hisserich, said.
On July 24, the department issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a mixed-use and mixed-income housing development on the sites, which are located at 1633 N. Wilcox Ave. and 6518-6522 Hollywood Blvd. The deadline has been extended, and the proposals are now due on Nov. 1.
According to the RFP, HCID is hoping to offer a ground lease to a developer who will construct the project while also offering replacement parking. There are 147 public parking spaces on the sites, and the department wants that number to be equaled or increased.
The department would like the developer to build a minimum of 60 housing units, and fifty percent of the housing units are to be workforce housing.
Additionally, the city would like the developer to build commercial space that “is dedicated to supporting Hollywood as an arts district,” the document states. The project must also be compatible with the Hollywood Boulevard National Register Historic District and the surrounding community.
The 57,000-plus square feet of city-owned land has been targeted for redevelopment for decades, according to the RFP. A representative of HCID said the department has not historically pursued such projects, but it has teamed with LADOT due to the dissolution of the Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles.
HCID held a bidders’ conference on Aug. 13. Hisserich said there was a “big” turnout, with approximately 100 people attending.
“So, we expect to see a lot of interest on the site,” she said.
Hisserich said HCID worked with LADOT, the city’s housing department and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office to determine what was needed at the site. Among the parcels’ most endearing qualities is its proximity to transit, she said.
HCID mulled the possibility of designating all of the units as affordable housing, Hisserich said. However, the city has lost a lot of subsidies for affordable housing, and the department did not want to allocate “scarce” resources to the project, she said.
The assistant general manager said a nonprofit could wind up developing the property. If a nonprofit is chosen and it is a partner agency in the Promise Zone application, the project could be eligible for federal funding.
After the department receives the proposals, officials will take into account the developer’s experience, the proposed design, the project’s economic feasibility and more, Hisserich said.
“It’s our hope that we’ll have a strong group of proposals to choose from,” she added.
Hisserich said the final decision will be made by a group of individuals from the housing department, planning department, LADOT and O’Farrell’s office.
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Leron Gubler said the RFP is needed on that “old section of the boulevard.” He said many of the buildings there do not have parking, and some companies won’t move into the area if there is no parking.
“It’s impossible to get higher grade tenants into that section,” Gubler said.
He said the RFP presents an opportunity to alleviate parking problems in the area — if the developer selected plans to increase the parking spots available. It also could add to Hollywood’s affordable housing stock.
“We support it because it’s hopefully a way to address some of the issues,” Gubler said, adding that equaling the number of current parking spots won’t be of much a community benefit. “It won’t hurt, but we’re hoping it will actually help matters.”
The parcels are within the jurisdiction of the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council.
Representatives declined to comment on the sites because the council has not discussed the RFP during its monthly meetings.
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