More affordable housing aimed toward low-income residents and formerly homeless individuals could be coming to Boyle Heights, with multiple projects in the works near the Metro Gold Line.
On Wednesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge tentatively ruled that a nonprofit developer could move forward with plans to build a 49-unit apartment building for mentally ill homeless people on First Street next to the El Mercado shopping center, the Los Angeles Times reported.
And in April, the East Los Angeles Community Corporation — also a nonprofit community developer — filed plans for a five-story building with 63 affordable units adjacent to the Gold Line Soto Station, according to the City Planning Department.
Both properties would sit on land owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which acquired the land next to El Mercado during its extension of the Gold Line and gave nonprofit developer A Community of Friends exclusive rights to the property.
The developer’s proposed project, known as Lorena Plaza, faced opposition from El Mercado’s owners, who appealed the city’s decision to approve the construction and then took the case to court once the appeal was overruled by the City Council, according to the Times.
A Community of Friends plans to construct Lorena Plaza with funds from Proposition HHH, the city’s $1.2-billion homeless housing bond. The organization celebrated the court’s decision that the plans for the project had gone through a sufficient environmental review to move forward.
“Words cannot express how thrilled we are and gratified by the judge’s tentative ruling,” Dora Leong Gallo, executive director of A Community of Friends, told the Times.
Both sides now have an opportunity to argue the tentative ruling, and a final decision is expected in 15 days, the Times reported.
The Soto Station project — called the Los Lirios Apartments — would include 43 units open to households earning between 30 and 50 percent of the area median income, Urbanize LA reported, while 20 would serve as permanent supportive housing for individuals struggling with homelessness. Fifty percent of the area’s median income is $52,200 for a family of four.
Rents would range from $435 to $1,079 per month, based on the size of the apartment, according to a Metro planning document, and the project would incorporate 4,265 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
ELACC’s proposal attempts to address the rising price of housing in Los Angeles, where the median monthly rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Boyle Heights is now $2,214, according to Zillow. As prices soar, organizations like ELACC are trying to keep residents from being priced out of their community.
“ELACC’s vision is simple: to help the members of a 95% Latino community create an environment that supports a productive, healthy, and fulfilling life,” according to the organization.
Urbanize LA reported that plans for an apartment complex there have been in the works since 2014, but shifted when a proposal for a second building on Metro-owned property across the street fell through. That space is now occupied by the Blue House — a historic home that was displaced when ELACC began building its Cielito Lindo Apartments near the corner of First and Soto streets. ELACC plans to open the 124-year-old house as a community center, Boyle Heights Beat previously reported.
Several other affordable housing complexes have been proposed next to Gold Line stops in Boyle Heights. The second phase of the Cielito Lindo development is currently under construction, and ELACC has proposed a 60-unit affordable housing complex next to Mariachi Plaza.
Photo: The Gold Line Soto Station. By Pablo De La Hoya.