LA officials looking to add affordable housing to Warner Center – Daily News

on Jan24
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The Warner Center has seen an influx of new development in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue under a plan that envisions turning the area into the San Fernando Valley’s downtown.

The 1.5-square-mile district is slated for commercial and residential developments, offices and hotels. A large entertainment and sports venue has been proposed.

But one component has been missing: Not a single unit has been required for low- or middle-income neighbors.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the area, is hoping to change that. He’s been working on a plan that is expected to roll out in spring, requiring developers to add affordable housing to their Warner Center projects.

“The idea was to create an environment to live, work and play,” Blumenfield said at the Wednesday, Jan. 22, meeting hosted by the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization. “But if people who work there can’t afford to live there and have to move to Palmdale and drive two hours, that causes  traffic. It’s bad from the environmental perspective and planning perspective.”

Blumenfield added that his goal is to figure out ways to create affordable living spaces for residents like teachers, firefighters and police officers who can afford to pay about 30% of their income for their housing.

The Warner Center 2035 Specific plan was adopted in 2013 to guide development within the area bounded by the Los Angeles River, the 101 Freeway to the south, De Soto Avenue to the east, and Topanga Canyon Boulevard on the west.

The plan divides the area into eight districts — including Downtown, Uptown, Park and Commerce — and promotes replacing existing office towers with mixed-use developments.

In 2018, Blumenfield filed a motion, urging developers to build affordable units. He said that the specific plan “balances both the need for housing with the desire to retain the employment” in Warner Center.

Several major developers have proposed projects for the area.

Global firm Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield proposed to redevelop a vacant Promenade mall into a district with thousands of on-site parking spaces along with a mixed-use district with:

  • About 1,400 multi-family residential units;
  • Roughly 244,000 square feet of shops and restaurants;
  • About 630,000 square feet of office space;
  • And a hotel.

In another corner of the area, Adler Realty Investments seeks to replace 12 low-rise commercial structures in Warner Center Corporate Park with nearly 2.6 million square feet of floor area, including residential floor area, retail and more hotels. The 24-acre development would include about 1,000 multi-family units — including hundreds of apartments, condos and hotel rooms.

But out of 2,500 units approved in Warner Center, none of the projects include affordable units at this point, said Jake Flynn, Blumenfield’s communications director.

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