For Immediate Release
City of Los Angeles Releases Draft Environmental Impact Report
Release of the DEIR marks important milestone as the $2 billion proposal advances
LOS ANGELES (Oct. 20, 2011) – The City of Los Angeles today released its environmental study of The New Wyvernwood, an unprecedented $2 billion investment in Boyle Heights that will transform the aging Wyvernwood Apartments into a beautiful and modern mixed-use community while delivering a powerful economic boost to the entire region.
The project includes up to 4,400 new homes to rent and to own, 300,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail and commercial space, 25,000 square feet of civic space, and 10.5 acres of publicly accessible, privately maintained community parks. More than 26 additional acres will be devoted to courtyards, paseos and other open space, including an extensive network of landscaped pathways for bicycles and pedestrians.
Plans for The New Wyvernwood are detailed in the project's Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), an analysis required by the California Environmental Quality Act. The DEIR analyzed the potential environmental and community impacts of the project on traffic, public services, air quality and numerous other areas. The report found that the proposal will not have a significant impact in the majority of areas. Where a potential significant impact is identified, the developer has committed to mitigation measures to reduce impacts in a meaningful way.
In addition to improved open space, the 69-acre site will feature a new network of well-lit and lushly landscaped streets and pathways, twice the number of trees, and enhanced sustainability measures to conserve natural resources. A modernized street grid will improve access and circulation throughout the property, and a new layout will improve visibility and enhance safety for residents and visitors.
"We are very proud of our plan to revitalize and renew the Wyvernwood property, which will have a positive impact throughout the community," said Mark Sanders, co-founder and principal of Fifteen Group, the family-owned investment firm that owns the property and is proposing the redevelopment. “The people of Boyle Heights deserve a truly 21st-century community to enjoy for generations to come."
Included in the DEIR is an economic analysis from HR&A Advisors finding that the construction effort will create more than 10,000 construction-related jobs, and once complete will support 2,800 permanent jobs as well as generate $25 million in annual tax revenue.
To ensure that these jobs directly benefit the immediate community, the developer has established the Boyle Heights Jobs Collaborative, a dedicated local hiring program. Modeled on the successful jobs program at Playa Vista, the landmark development in West Los Angeles, the Boyle Heights Jobs Collaborative has already formed partnerships with leading community groups, including Homeboy Industries, PUENTE Learning Center and Jovenes Inc.
The prospect of thousands of new jobs amid this severe economic downturn has drawn praise from a variety of leaders, including Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor. “The L.A. County Federation of Labor strongly supports the plan to redevelop Wyvernwood,” Durazo said. “These new jobs, together with millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to be generated, will create tremendous benefits for workers and residents in Boyle Heights.”
Formally called the Boyle Heights Mixed-Use Community Project, the redevelopment plan has been taking shape since 2005, when Fifteen Group began holding meetings with residents, community leaders, civic groups and other stakeholders to hear their vision for the property.
“The redevelopment plan is responsive to input and feedback we’ve received throughout more than 100 community meetings,” said Steven Fink, principal of Fifteen Group. “Residents voiced frustration about the age of the complex and its infrastructure, inadequate parking and street circulation, and the lack of such amenities as air conditioning and cable TV, among other things.”
These weaknesses will be resolved by The New Wyvernwood, which will also give residents the opportunity to become homeowners at Wyvernwood for the first time.
In order to encourage current residents to continue living at Wyvernwood, Fifteen Group has developed a comprehensive Resident Retention Plan to ensure a smooth transition to residents’ new homes. Among the plan’s many commitments is a guarantee that current tenants will pay no more in rent for a comparable unit in the new community than they would have paid for their current apartment.
In addition to the rent guarantee, the developers will set aside 15 percent of all units as affordable to households with low and very-low incomes, for 30 years. Current residents will have priority access to new units, including affordable housing units, and will be able to remain onsite during construction due to a creative phasing plan.
Excitement for the project has led to a tremendous show of support by community members and residents alike. “The redevelopment plan gets an A+. Fifteen Group has carefully planned every detail, from improved apartments to more trees and park space on the property. We are ready for the New Wyvernwood!” said resident Mark Aguilar.
The New Wyvernwood has also won the support of many respected figures in the Boyle Heights faith community, including Father Gregory Boyle, Father Richard Estrada and Monsignor John Moretta.
Fifteen Group will hold a series of public presentations about The New Wyvernwood over the coming weeks. The presentations will explain the details of the plan and lay out the impact it will have for residents of Wyvernwood and the surrounding community. For more information, please visit www.wyvernwood.com or call (323) 261-4001.