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Four Major Projects to Reshape Block of Broadway

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2009, at 03:44PM
Chester Williams Building Eric Richardson [Flickr]

5th and Broadway

It may be five years late, but a residential conversion of the Broadway-Spring Mercantile Arcade building is back underway and scheduled to be completed later this year.

The project has missed date after date, but the recent hiring of Librush Construction as project manager has the work back on track according to Greg Martin, Vice President of Fifth Street Funding, Inc. and Mideb Nominees, Inc.

The two firms, along with Begonia Development, Inc., are responsible for four projects -- including Broadway's first commercial adaptive reuse -- that will bring new life to Broadway between 5th and 6th streets.

Once completed, the Arcade building will house 142 apartments above its retail arcade.

Ironically, the building took only nine months to construct, opening on January 7, 1924. Crews had worked around the clock to construct the buildings in record time, including completing most interior finish work before receiving the terra cotta and completing the exterior walls.

Down the block, Librush Construction has also been put in charge of Mideb Nominees' Jewelry Trades Building. The structure, which houses a Rite-Aid on its ground floor, is slated to house 62 apartments. It too should be completed by the year's end.

Just across the street, seismic work is underway on Fifth Street Funding's Chester Williams Building. Serious construction on the 82-unit adaptive reuse should begin when that work wraps in approximately four months.

Work is also getting set to begin on Begonia Development's 537 Building. The upper floors of the 1930 art deco structure at 537 S. Broadway will be converted into commercial space, a first for the corridor.

The city created a Commercial Reuse Task Force at the end of 2008 to craft rules that would make it easier to do such a project, and Martin praised the help that Councilman Jose Huizar's office had given.

"Jessica Wethington McLean who leads the [Bringing Back Broadway] initiative on behalf of the Councilman has been extremely helpful and supportive, particularly in helping us navigate this project through the City approval process," said Martin via email. "We anticipate obtaining the building permits next week. You should see scaffolding erected at the site in the very near future."


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