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RIOS reveals an expansive mixed-use project for Los Angeles’s Chinatown

Big Development In Little Chinatown

RIOS reveals an expansive mixed-use project for Los Angeles’s Chinatown

Buena Vista will occupy the long site adjacent to the Chinatown Metro Station to add much-needed housing and retail to the small historic neighborhood (Courtesy RIOS)

At the northern edge of Los Angeles’s Chinatown, the local interdisciplinary architecture firm RIOS has recently designed a sprawling mixed-use development within a narrow eight-acre property straddling the long edge of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The project, named Buena Vista, is the product of a joint venture between Lincoln Property Co. and S&R Partners with the goal of introducing retail, public open space, and nearly 1,000 apartment units (200 of which will be designated as affordable housing) to the Chinatown Metro-adjacent site.

While the majority of the project will lie low to the ground, taking in panoramic views of the park and the Downtown Los Angeles skyline beyond, a pair of towers are planned for the southern end of the property, rising 22 and 26 stories to become the tallest buildings in Chinatown. The taller tower of the two will be lifted over the main structure on pedestals to reveal a colorful mural on its underside that will partially shelter the large open green space connecting the north and south portions of Buena Vista. In addition to retail spaces overlooking the park, a number of semi-enclosed courtyards will be found throughout the site to provide respite from the noise and traffic of nearby Broadway street.

Looking down a big boxy development at
The project is broken up by generously sized open spaces that open up views to the adjacent Los Angeles State Historic Park (Courtesy RIOS)

Buena Vista is only one of a handful of developments taking shape around the Chinatown Metro station. The Portland-based architecture firm LEVER, for instance, has recently announced plans for a 145,000-square-foot mass timber office building a short walk south of the Buena Vista site that will add much-needed commercial space to the historic neighborhood.

Though aspects of the overall design are likely to be revised within the next few years, construction on the south parcel of Buena Vista is scheduled to begin early 2023 and conclude in 2026, while the other half is expected to be completed by 2029.

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