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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 opening of the Regional Connector Transit Project in 2021, Metro analyzed 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 1st 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

Opportunity Overview

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 and an urban design consultant team developed an "Opportunity Overview" of the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. This document identifies the real estate development opportunities and developable areas around Metro’s transit infrastructure at station, summarizes development regulations on the site, and highlights community priorities for the site given existing community-driven visioning efforts and additional outreach Metro and the consultant team completed in 2018.

For more information on the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station Joint Development activities, please contact:

Nicole V. Avitia
Manager, Transportation Planning
Countywide Planning & Development
213.922.7439
AvitiaN@metro.net


Four Developers Advancing in Selection Process

Metro released a Request for Interest/Qualifications (RFI/Q) for the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station on August 27, 2018. The RFI/Q set expectations for a high quality project consistent with stakeholder priorities and Metro’s mission of creating Transit Oriented Communities (TOC). Eight proposals were received in January 2019.

RFI/Q proposals were evaluated based on the proposers’ relevant experience, and their project concepts’ alignment with priorities detailed in the Opportunity Overview . After thorough evaluation, four of the development teams were selected to respond to a formal Request for Proposals (RFP). Responses were received in August 2019 and are currently being evaluated based on the following:

  • Vision, scope and design
  • Public benefits associated with the project
  • Financial feasibility/sustainability
  • Response to community feedback and outreach plan
  • Project timeline and feasibility

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, Metro hosted a public Open House to provide an opportunity for attendees to meet the four development teams, learn about their proposals, ask questions, and provide feedback. Two identical open houses were held at 3-5pm at 6-8pm. The Open House presentation is available here. Metro accepted online comments on the proposals from October 17, 2019 to November 22, 2019; these comments were sent to the appropriate development teams/recipients. General comments on Metro Joint Development are always welcomed via our online comment form.

Following the open house and final evaluation of the RFP proposals, staff anticipates recommending the Metro Board authorize entering into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement and Planning Document (ENA) in early 2020 with the highest scoring proposer. Once an ENA is executed, the selected developer will be required to engage with stakeholders to further refine the project concept.

Any questions related to the RFP must be submitted to Gina Romo, Principal Contract Administrator, at romog@metro.net or 213.922.7558.


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.

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. Metro released a Request for Interest (RFI) in August 2018 that set expectations for a high quality project consistent with stakeholder priorities and Metro’s mission of creating Transit Oriented Communities. Four development teams were selected to advance in the process and respond to a full Request for Proposals (RFP). After RFP responses are received, Metro will complete evaluation of the proposals. The four shortlisted teams will also be required to present their proposed projects in community forum to be held in late summer 2019.

The schedule for the project is as follows:

August 2018

Request for Interest/Qualifications (RFI/Q) released.

Spring 2019

Eight proposals received. Four selected to advance in the process.

Summer 2019

Request for Proposals issued. Four proposers present their project concepts in a public forum. Proposal evaluation team completes their evaluations.

Late 2019/early 2020

Metro Board considers recommendation to enter into negotiations with the highest scoring proposer.

What will be developed on the site?

Metro looks to the community around the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to answer this question. 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 and an urban design consultant team developed an "Opportunity Overview" of the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. This document identifies the real estate development opportunities and developable areas around Metro’s transit infrastructure at station, summarizes development regulations on the site, and highlights community priorities for the site given existing community-driven visioning efforts and additional outreach Metro and the consultant team completed in 2018. Responses to the RFI/Q were evaluated based on their responsiveness to the community priorities outlined in the Opportunity Overview.

Once chosen, the developer of the site will continue to engage with and seek input from the community to progress the architectural design and programming of the site.

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 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 AvitiaN@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: For questions regarding Joint Development efforts along the Regional Connector alignment, please contact Nicole V. Avitia at AvitiaN@metro.net .