New high-rise building will house the homeless on skating row in Los Angeles

Construction began Tuesday on a 19-story homeless housing project designed to reshape a nook of sliding rows into a more upscale suburban image.

The 278-unit Weingart Tower will replace a parking lot at 555 S. Crocker St. , near Weingart Center, the project developer in association with Chelsea Investment Corp. The building is expected to open in December 2023.

The Weingart Tower is the first phase of a project that will eventually house 382 units, dwarfing the existing Weingart facility, in the former 11-story El Rey Hotel, which is already twice as high as any other building around it.

Weingart CEO Kevin Murray said the high-rise building made of metal and glass “will improve the neighborhood through architecture.” Announcing the conceptual plan By Joseph Wong Design Associates in a 2017 interview. AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is the project architect.

“One of the things we asked the architect was we didn’t want it to look like a condominium,” said Murray, the former state senator, “we want it to look like one of these other first-class apartments downtown.”

The $160 million first phase will include 228 studio units and 47 one-bedroom units, all paired with supportive services including case management, medical and mental treatment services, client plan development, group meetings, and a meal program. Three modules will be for managers.

The project receives $32 million from HH’s suggestion, the $1.2 billion bond measure approved by voters in 2016. The Weingart Corporation played a key role in passing HHH.

Other funding was obtained from Pacific Western Bank, a tax credit investment by the Richman Group and funds from several government programs.

Mayor Eric GarcettiAddressing the crowd at a small opening ceremony, he talked about the restaurants, sports arena, and other developments that opened downtown. Garcetti said the Weingart project symbolizes a “city of belonging” that is accessible to all individuals.

“We love seeing downtown revitalized over the past two decades,” the mayor said. But he added, “You don’t have to be rich to enjoy it, you wouldn’t have had a lucky life to enjoy it.”

The mayor also indicated that the city’s efforts to resolve the homeless crisis will soon bear fruit. “In the next five years, you will see a decrease in homelessness because of the work we put in,” Garcetti said.

Times staff writer Dakota Smith contributed to this report.

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