Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC Unveils Vision For Model Community in East Los Angeles

Los Angeles – January 11, 2007 – Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC today announced a plan to redevelop the 1930s era-complex into a 21st century, sustainable community that increases the amount of rental and for-sale housing, retail,office, and commercial space in Boyle Heights.

The plan calls for redeveloping the 70-acre site to include 4,400 residential units, 300,000 square feet of retail, office, 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 $2 billion project.

“Fifteen Group set out to create a plan for redeveloping Wyvernwood that is bold and groundbreaking,” said Fifteen Group Executive Vice President and Principal Steven Fink. “As a result of our future-forward vision, we designed a sustainable community that can be a model for development in Los Angeles.”

Fifteen Group revealed the plan at a tenant meeting at Salesian High School. This plan is the culmination of more than two years of community meetings with tenants, local stakeholders, community-based organizations, City of Los Angeles planning officials, elected officials, and professional service firms. No plans or applications will be submitted to the City of Los Angeles to officially begin the entitlement process until Fifteen Group completes an assessment of feedback from all the parties mentioned above.

“After conversations with our tenants, the recurring theme was the desire to live in a place that meets everyday needs for living, shopping and accessing transit to jobs. Our vision is a reflection and response to our community’s input,” Fink said. “We intend to make this significant investment to improve the quality of life in Boyle Heights, upgrade an underserved neighborhood, and create new homeownership and housing opportunities in a city that needs it.”

There was a tremendous and thoughtful effort that went into designing a creative relocation plan. Construction will be conducted in phases, allowing tenants to remain at the property until their units are required for demolition. Tenants who wish to remain at Wyvernwood may be relocated to a comparable apartment during construction and then have the opportunity to move into a new apartment. Others would be eligible for relocation benefits under City of Los Angeles’ rules and regulations.

“At this time, the most important thing we want tenants to understand is that no one will be asked to move for any reason associated with this plan until absolutely necessary. We are years away from beginning construction,” Fink said.

Wyvernwood is a 100 percent, 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 percent of the new units as affordable housing under the City’s affordable housing guidelines.

“Affordable housing is a critical need in Los Angeles and our plan increases the affordable housing stock,” Fink said. Market-rate and affordable units will be distributed throughout the redeveloped property and within individual buildings.

Fifteen Group worked with the Los Angeles office of the urban design firm Torti Gallas and Partners and the Los Angeles-based landscape architect Meléndrez to design a community that meets the standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND).

The proposal maintains Wyvernwood’s central green “mall” space to create opportunities to provide program elements, including: play equipment, athletic courts, seating and open play areas that residents of all ages can enjoy. New streets with generous sidewalks will create a highly walkable neighborhood that connects to the adjacent schools, new retail stores, bus lines and freeways.

Throughout the planning process, Fifteen Group adhered to the following guiding principles:

  1. Promote a safe, family-oriented community.
  2. Create a high-quality community design.
  3. Develop a project with no net loss of rental housing units for the community.
  4. Create a mixture of ownership and rental opportunities.
  5. Provide meaningful, usable open space for recreational activities.

The property consists of 1,187 units. Fifteen Group acquired the 1,175-unit Wyvernwood Garden Apartments in 1998, and purchased an adjacent 12-unit apartment complex in 2006.

“Redesigning the entire site gives us the greatest opportunity to achieve our goals, our residents’ goals and maintain rents at levels current residents can afford,” Fink said. “We are energized by our tenants who participated in the process because they are excited by the possibility of change. This is an important moment for Boyle Heights and the tenants of Wyvernwood.”