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LOS ANGELES-A unit of Cleveland-based urban development giant Forest City Enterprises has set a January target date to begin construction of a $50-million, 230-unit loft apartment complex downtown.

Forest City Residential West’s seven-story project will rise at 11th and Flower streets, a block east of Staples Center. The 200,000-sf complex received the city council’s approval a few weeks ago.

A similarly sized project proposed for another downtown site was dealt a serious setback last week, when the city council told developer J.H. Palmer Associates that at least 15% of the units in Palmer’s project would have to be reserved for low-income tenants. J.H. Palmer wants to build only market-rate apartments, which would likely fetch more than $2,500 a month, instead of renting some of the units for only a few hundred dollars each month to low-income tenants.

Forest City’s project will feature only market-rate rentals, as well. But unlike Palmer’s project, the council approved Forest City’s plans because it would rise on a block that already has a high concentration of affordable housing.

The Forest City project is called The Metropolitan. Though the design process isn’t completed, a company official says the loft development will have an “industrial look” that will fit with the rest of the neighborhood. If construction begins next January, the first tenants could move in during 2003, he says.

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