The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is moving forward with plans for construction near Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, leading up to excavation for the Purple Line Subway project.
The agency will start work on May 11 on an L-shaped alley that currently runs south from 6th Street and east to La Brea Avenue. The alley will be rerouted to provide access on Detroit Street instead of La Brea Avenue. The work will be followed by demolition of a former Metro customer service center at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
“[The alley relocation will] take three weeks,” Metro construction relations manager Kasey Shuda said. “Then, we have to remove the artwork component [on the former customer service center] which is expected to take a week.”
The art piece is a series of three-dimensional cubes that are affixed to the exterior of the building. The piece was designed by artist Jim Isermann. Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said it will be dismantled and placed in storage until another Metro property is indentified where it can be displayed.
Shuda said that Metro is in the process of purchasing all of the buildings on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Detroit Street, including the Bank of America branch, a barber shop and a martial arts studio. The entire area will eventually be used as a construction staging area for the subway. The timeline for the purchase has not been finalized. After subway construction is finished, Shuda said the property would be “available for development.”
Ken Hixon, vice president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association, said the organization has been working with Metro to keep the community informed, and has been made aware of the plans on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard. He said the hope is Metro will provide some public parking near the site.
“That’s going to be the largest construction site in the Miracle Mile,” Hixon said. “Parking is a crisis in the area. With parking, we hope they are thinking of keeping as much parking as possible until it is absolutely necessary [for it to be removed].”
Preliminary utility relocation work is ongoing in the neighborhoods around Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile. Approximately 90 street trees will be removed as part of the Purple Line construction. The first phase of construction from Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard is expected to be completed in 2023.
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