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Joint Development – Little Tokyo/Arts District Station

In September 2014, Metro broke ground on the Regional Connector Transit Project , a 1.9-mile, three-station underground extension project connecting the existing terminus of the Metro Blue and Expo Lines at the 7 th Street/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles with the Metro Gold Line in the vicinity of the existing Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. The alignment will serve Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Civic Center, the Historic Core, Broadway, Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, Flower Street and the Financial District. Once complete, the project will facilitate connections among Metro’s rail network and allow for travel across Los Angeles County from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without transferring lines.

Little Tokyo/Arts District Opportunity Site

In anticipation of the planned completion of the Regional Connector Transit Project in 2021, Metro has begun analyzing opportunities for transit-oriented development along the alignment. The Metro-owned property on which the future Little Tokyo/Arts District Station is being built has been identified as a Joint Development Opportunity Site.

The Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, located on 1 st Street between Central Avenue and Alameda Street, sits at the crossroads of multiple downtown Los Angeles neighborhoods including the Civic Center, Arts District, and El Pueblo. The site is ideally situated to build upon the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles and the rich cultural assets of the area, as well as unprecedented investments in transit infrastructure, new civic and commercial development, open space and innovative community planning.

  • Site Map
  • Jurisdiction: City of Los Angeles
  • Current Use: Little Tokyo/Arts District Station Construction

The Little Tokyo/Arts District Station configuration presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for Joint Development. The area surrounding the future Little Tokyo/Arts District Station has been the subject of numerous community visioning exercises, planning efforts, studies, charrettes, and academic analyses. Metro has decided the typical Joint Development process should be modified to reflect the depth of community-driven studies already completed and to meet the needs of this unique Station site and community. Rather than prepare traditional Development Guidelines and issue a  Request for Proposals (RFP), Metro intends to issue a Request for Interest (RFI), which will set expectations for a high quality project consistent with stakeholder priorities and Metro’s mission of creating Transit Oriented Communities (TOC). The goal of the RFI approach is to solicit innovative ideas that think beyond typical development scenarios, align with community priorities, and encourages opportunities for strategic public/private partnerships to enhance the area around the future Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.

Metro will be working with an urban design consultant team to identify the real estate development opportunities and developable areas around Metro’s transit infrastructure at the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, create a baseline understanding of City of Los Angeles development regulations on the site, review and summarize existing visioning documents, and engage and present findings to community stakeholders for input. The Consultant will synthesize this information and create an RFI that effectively markets the joint development opportunity in order to generate development interest. If Metro receives a submission it deems is capable of meeting the TOC goals for the site, a likely outcome of the RFI would be to seek Metro Board authority to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) with a developer.

Project Schedule

Fall 2017

Hire urban design consultant team to initiate Little Tokyo/Arts District Station development opportunity study.

Early 2018

Engage local stakeholders and complete Little Tokyo/Arts District Station development opportunity study.

Spring 2018

Present study findings to Metro Board of Directors.

Mid 2018

Issue Request for Interest. Review responses.

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Metro Welcomes your input on the upcoming Joint Development efforts. Please share your thoughts and comments in the form below. If you cannot see the form below, please go to the form directly.


Little Tokyo/Arts District Station Frequently Asked Questions

Why Joint Development? Why my community?

Joint Development projects reflect the regional vision of shaping communities that are healthy, sustainable, and mobile. The expansion of Los Angeles County’s rail system presents an unprecedented opportunity to support the growth of communities along transit corridors in a way that promotes walkable and bikeable places, improves access to jobs and economic opportunities, and creates more opportunities for mobility and transit ridership.

Given the plethora of existing and planned investments in and around the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, and in response to community concerns regarding displacement and relocation impacts associated with the Regional Connector Transit Project, the site is being considered for development following construction completion. Once the station is built and operational, the site will be able to draw upon its newly integrated regional connectivity status as well as an array of creative community development tools and collaborations to realize a successful Transit Oriented Community (TOC).

How are Joint Development Sites chosen?

Joint Development Opportunity Sites are chosen based on their location and transit supportive and/or public benefit potential. Generally, these properties are Metro-owned parcels of land acquired for transit projects and utilized as interim construction staging or other transit supportive uses such as parking lots.

The Little Tokyo/Arts District Station was identified as a Joint Development Opportunity as it is ideally situated to build on the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles. It sits in Little Tokyo at the crossroads of multiple downtown neighborhoods including the Civic Center, Arts District, and historic El Pueblo.

What is the overall time frame for each Opportunity Site development?

A typical Joint Development process takes an estimated 5 years from inception to construction completion. However, as the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station configuration presents a number of challenges and opportunities for development, Metro will be augmenting the typical Joint Development process and first issuing a Request for Interest (RFI) that will set expectations for a high quality project consistent with stakeholder priorities and Metro’s mission of creating Transit Oriented Communities.

The schedule for the project is as follows:

Fall 2017

Hire urban design consultant team to initiate Little Tokyo/Arts District Station development opportunity study.

Early 2018

Engage local stakeholders and complete Little Tokyo/Arts District Station development opportunity study.

Spring 2018

Present study findings to Metro Board of Directors.

Mid 2018

Issue Request for Interest. Review responses.

If Metro receives a submission it deems is capable of meeting the TOC goals for the site, a likely outcome of the RFI would be to seek Metro Board authority to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) with a developer.

What will be developed on the site?

We need your input to answer that question! Our urban design consultants will be tasked with reviewing existing community visioning documents, researching City of Los Angeles development regulations for the area, and identifying the real estate development opportunities on the site, all the while engaging community stakeholders to identify their priorities and desired uses.

Stay tuned for upcoming outreach meetings to help shape the future of your neighborhood!

Will the site include affordable housing?

In 2015, Metro adopted an updated Joint Development policy with the objective of increasing affordable housing units in Joint Development projects to a portfolio-wide average of 35%. This means that some projects have affordable housing while others may have none. Every Joint Development site is unique and reflective of the area and community needs around it. Our community engagement process looks to each community to identify local desires, priorities, and objectives within each Joint Development project. This is a crucial step in determining the program use of the sites. You can view more information on affordable housing efforts within Metro’s Joint Development Program .

How can I get involved?

Metro is committed to a community-driven visioning process and keeping the community apprised throughout the Joint Development stages by thoroughly engaging stakeholders, including: residents; community organizations; businesses; property owners; governmental agencies; and religious, educational, and cultural institutions.

We welcome project-specific feedback and encourage community members to attend regular CLC project meetings , upcoming workshops, and stakeholder meetings to be held for this project. These meetings provide an opportunity for the community to voice concerns, priorities and visions that will guide Metro’s professional design consultants and directly influence the project for every Joint Development Opportunity Site.

We highly encourage community members to stay involved in this process as this allows Metro and potential developers to continue to elicit, discuss and incorporate community comments and aspirations regarding specific projects. Questions and comments regarding involvement opportunities throughout the Joint Development process may be directed to VelasquesN@metro.net or submitted using our comment form .

How do I stay informed?

  • Mailing List: Metro’s Joint Development team keeps an updated stakeholder list and apprises interested parties/individuals of upcoming meetings about new developments. This includes public meetings, such as those held by the Metro Board and/or City Planning Commission, and outreach-specific meetings focused on project development.

    Sign up for our Joint Development Mailing List
  • Regional Connector Transit Project and Joint Development Program webpages: Information will be updated as individual projects on the Regional Connector alignment develop. View the Regional Connector Transit project webpage and read the latest news on active Joint Development projects .
  • Metro staff: Project staff is available to answer questions or attend meetings to update larger groups of stakeholders. For questions regarding Joint Development efforts along the Regional Connector alignment, please contact Nicole Velasquez at VelasquezN@metro.net or email JointDevelopment@metro.net .

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