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LOS ANGELES-Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC of Miami has unveiled a long-range plan that would redevelop the 1930s-era Wyvernwood Garden Apartments into a $2-billion, LEED-certified mixed-use housing and commercial project in Boyle Heights that would create what the developer calls “a 21st century, sustainable community.” The plan calls for redeveloping the 70-acre site to include 4,400 residential units, 300,000 sf of retail and commercial space as well as nine acres of publicly accessible open space. Construction could commence as early as 2010 and take up to 10 years to complete.

The Wyvernwood property consists of 1,187 units, made up of the 1,175-unit Wyvernwood Garden Apartments that Fifteen Group acquired in 1998, plus an adjacent 12-unit apartment complex that the developer bought in 2006. The development plan is the result of more than two years of meetings with tenants, community groups and city officials; Fifteen Group says that no plans or applications will be submitted to the City of Los Angeles to officially begin the entitlement process until the developer completes an assessment of feedback from those it met with in formulating the plan.

According to Steven Fink, EVP and principal with Fifteen Group, a dominant theme with the tenants and community groups was “the desire to live in a place that meets everyday needs for living, shopping and accessing transit to jobs.” When construction ultimately starts for the development, it will be conducted in phases, allowing tenants to remain at the property until their units are required for demolition.

Wyvernwood is a 100% market rate-apartment complex that is subject to the City of Los Angeles’ rent stabilization ordinance. Under the proposal, Fifteen Group will agree to a covenant 15% of the new units as affordable housing under the city’s affordable housing guidelines.

Fink cites the “critical need” for affordable housing in Los Angeles and says, “Our plan increases the affordable housing stock.” Market-rate and affordable units will be distributed throughout the redeveloped property and within individual buildings, he notes.

Fifteen Group worked with the Los Angeles office of the urban design firm Torti Gallas and Partners and the locally based landscape architect Meléndrez to design a community that meets the LEED standards for neighborhood development, called LEED-ND. The proposal maintains Wyvernwood’s central green “mall” space to include play equipment, athletic courts, seating and open play areas as well as new streets in a “highly walkable neighborhood that connects to the adjacent schools, new retail stores, bus lines and freeways.”

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