One Santa Fe Adds Height to the A.D.

For well over a year, I’ve kept an eye on that long stretch of Santa Fe Ave. in Downtown Los Angeles, a span between two bridges from 1st St. to 4th St. as construction progresses on a new mixed-use development. While I’ve been sadly counting down the days when I will completely lose my view of the sunrise here in the Arts District, along the West Bank of the Los Angeles River, I’m happily anticipating what that area might become with the completion of what they named  “One Santa Fe.” I’ve taken lots of photos as this massive project rises, including the one in this post. (See the “urban giraffes” on the right? If you visit my Tumblr blog, you’ll see more!)

Here’s a snapshot of the project:
— 438 rental units (20 percent affordable)
— approximately 80,000 square feet of commercial space (hopefully, a grocery store)
— a 99-seat theater in partnership with SCI-Arc
— over an acre of public outdoor space
— a possible Arts District Metro station

I must admit … while I knew One Santa Fe was going to be six stories in height once finished, I don’t think I realized how TALL that really was in relation to everything else in the area. Currently, the concrete pillars in place are three stories high, and growing. While I am supportive of One Santa Fe and actually happy for any developments planned or in place that align with the creative energy and residential nature of my neighborhood, I wonder how I will really feel once Santa Fe Ave. becomes an “urban canyon” instead of a once-wide, no-stop-signs-until-now street. I am hopeful that the builders will leave additional space along each side of the road (hopefully, a BIKE LANE?), and that the final quarter-mile-long structure will be open and welcoming, so we can walk or bike inside to see the Los Angeles River and eastward beyond. On another good note, the streamlined road will likely slow down the speeding back-road drivers who use Santa Fe Ave. not only as a detour to avoid DTLA traffic, but also as a place to replicate drag-racing maneuvers as seen in the multitude of movies filmed here.

Want to know more about One Santa Fe? Read an overview of this 510,000-square-foot project by the architect Michael Maltzan or check out this recent post by Brigham Yen.

Watch what’s happening by following One Santa Fe on Instagram and Facebook.

L.A. Curbed
Downtown News
Canyon Johnson Urban Funds
Genesis LA
Los Angeles Times

Correction: I’ve been informed that proposed Metro Station may not be Gold Line as I was originally told, but may be either a Red Line or Purple Line. Will update once I hear official confirmation from Metro.

  • Hello
    Posted at 11:08h, 29 May

    Are you turning into a NIMBY? God forbid your precious view of the sunrise is blocked, who would think that would happen in the Downtown of one of the largest cities in the world? Move to the mountains or desert if you want unobstructed views.

    Also, it will be a Red Line station, not a Gold Line stop.

  • Jose
    Posted at 11:37h, 29 May

    I believe it is actually a possible Red/Purple Line AD Station, to be located at the entrance to the rail yard. Gold Line already has an AD station near Alameda/1st.

  • Melissa Richardson Banks
    Posted at 12:32h, 29 May

    Nah, not a NIMBY 🙂 … did you read the rest of the post? I was just musing … I actually LOVE that it’s being built (and am a fan of good development!). Just taking pics before my “easy-access” view of the sunrise goes … there will be new ways to see it (I walked up the bridge today). And, nope, won’t move to the mountains or the desert! I’m a certified urban gal now. Thanks for commenting!

  • Tim Quinn
    Posted at 16:09h, 29 May

    I am fully in support of this and think it is an exciting time in the Arts District. This is the place the future of Los Angeles is being invented right now. All that said, I too, was shocked at how big OneSantaFe really is. As it has grown, though, I have started to really love it. It will be a village on it’s own and the spaces are a pedestrian scale and the architecture really respects its location. Living this close to the core we have to expect that our neighborhood will become more dense and even more urban. I look forward to making OSF my hang. I just hope there will be an affordable cafe there.

  • Melissa Richardson Banks
    Posted at 16:15h, 29 May

    Me, too! I love how you stated “it will be a village on its own” — it will be, and yet, I can see how it will piece nicely into the existing neighborhood. I am also looking forward to good cafes, good retail stores, and hopefully, another good grocery store to supplement our upcoming Urban Radish and existing Woori Market.

  • John
    Posted at 18:11h, 29 May

    Why do you seem to fear the height of this project so much? Sure everything else is low, but It’s height is what gives this place a better sense of “identity” and not so much a “canyon”. These six stories is what breaks the monotony of the current vibe, and its the wide, poorly developed area that makes this place economically slow. One Sante Fe will change all this and it’s height is what gives it it’s strength. It’s an important urban facet that will invigorate the street life and fill the economic hub in the area. It’s not an unnecessary characteristic simply to be accepted for the greater good, as your article makes it seem….

  • Melissa Richardson Banks
    Posted at 18:33h, 29 May

    John, I agree. I do not fear the height nor do I fear its strength. Rather, I welcome both. My point was that One Santa Fe raises the bar in so any ways for the Arts District, not just its actual height, so I am excited for it all. In terms of the mention of “height,” it’s just that I never realized how high six stories was in this particular place until I stood there and “felt” it. (When you visit here next, you’ll see my point.) I am a hiker, and also ride my bike along this road daily, so it does feel like an urban canyon to me, which isn’t a bad thing; it’s just how it feels. I, too, remain hopeful that there will be increased street life along this corridor, but currently SCI-Arc is closed to public access from the west side of Santa Fe Ave., and as long as One Santa Fe is open on the east side, pedestrian traffic will become greater … since I have no control over that aspect, I guess perhaps it might seem that I have to “accept” that fact, but until I see the results … Thanks for your comments! 🙂

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