New Los Angeles West Side Project to Offer Cost-Effective Housing Near Mass Transit

Both seniors and students stand to benefit from a new residential/commercial project based close to shopping and Light Rail.

Photo Courtesy of Casden West L.A. A pedestrian overpass with a sculpture, resembling the nearby Pacific Ocean's waves, would span the busy street and lead to the Light Rail station on Exposition Boulevard.

When you think of L.A.’s upscale West Side, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually affordable housing within walking distance of everything you might need, from a supermarket to a cineplex to a subway. But that’s exactly what’s planned for the Casden West L.A. project, which is in the initial stages of development at the corner of Pico and Sepulveda.

The plan, going before the Los Angeles City Council later in June, calls for 638 apartments, plus stores and restaurants. It will replace an old cement-batching plant, and will be just a stone’s throw from an Expo Line Light Rail station.

The apartment complex will include a full range of amenities such as a pool, a state-of-the-art fitness and recreation center, and rooftop terraces and gardens. In addition, there will be a six-level subterranean parking structure with 1,795 parking spaces.

“The project is designed to appeal to people who want to live adjacent to the Expo Line and use the Light Rail system as their primary means of transportation east to Downtown and west to Santa Monica,” says Casden spokesman Brian Lewis. “I think it will have especially strong appeal to both students and people who work at USC, and to those involved with UCLA, since it is a rapid bus ride away on Sepulveda.”

Lewis notes that the Casden project also includes 71 units of affordable housing specially set aside for seniors, whose primary mode of transportation to most destinations could easily be their own two feet. Both students and seniors will be able to get by without cars, which also alleviates traffic and parking problems.

Still, there are some local neighborhood residents who are opposed to the plan. They’re concerned that new buildings as high as 17 stories, won’t fit into the low-slung neighborhood of mostly one-story storefronts and humble residential bungalows and apartment buildings.

They’re also concerned about the project’s proximity to a 405 Freeway entrance and exit, which makes it a heavily trafficked area, as does the fact that it’s a major surface throughway between the East and West sides. Locals feel it would make congestion problems even worse.

Once the Light Rail station opens and construction on the 405 is completed, however, Casden developers foresee traffic problems diminishing. But just to be sure, they intend to cover the cost of transportation improvements including right and left turn lanes and partial construction of the transportation hub, serviced by buses and Light Rail.

With such close proximity to the Westside Pavillion — which houses Macy’s, Nordstrom and the Landmark Theaters, plus Los Angeles’s iconic Apple Pan nearby — many will find the project quite appealing.    


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