The Weingart Center, one of the the many places on Skid Row where homeless men and women come for shelter, food and support, is expanding its mission into permanent housing and plans to reshape the skyline of L.A.'s most depressed neighborhood, it was reported Monday.
Weingart has filed applications with the city to build three high-rise residences on the two blocks it shares with the homeless services providers Lamp Community, Union Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America and the Midnight Mission, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Weingart filed the plans for all three buildings early this year to have them on record before the vote on Measure S, the city initiative that would have imposed new restrictions on building apartment towers, shops and offices in Los Angeles.
After the measure's failure in March, the agency is now pressing ahead first with an 18-story tower next to Weingart's existing facility at San Pedro and 6th streets, according to The Times. It could be completed as early as 2021, President and Chief Executive Kevin Murray said. Plans for the other two buildings are still in flux.
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Murray said the sleek metal-and-glass design by Joseph Wong Design Associates of San Diego would "improve the neighborhood through architecture."
"One of the things we asked the architect is we don't want it to look like a housing project," said Murray, a former state senator, according to The Times. "We want it to look like one of these other first-class downtown apartments."
The $138-million project would provide 278 new units of affordable housing, most of them for the chronically homeless, and would dominate the block, The Times reported. Weingart's existing facility, in the 11-story former El Rey Hotel, is already more than twice as tall as any other building around it.