Living in Little Tokyo
In Los Angeles, a mixed-use, mixed-income apartment building, named Hikari, has tucked itself into the predominantly commercial Little Tokyo area. Created through a public/private partnership, the residential development has transformed an oddly shaped parking lot into high-density residential and retail space.
Little Tokyo, one of only three Japantowns in the United States, is a four-block area adjacent to Los Angeles’ city hall where tens of thousands of Japanese immigrants settled near the turn of the 20th century. For the last 30 years, many Japanese companies have located their U.S. headquarters in the district, and Japanese restaurants, retail stores and cultural sites have dominated the available real estate.
The city has been investing in the area through its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for more than three decades to encourage revitalization and economic development. Hikari — built on less than one acre with 102 market-rate apartments and 26 affordable units — was funded by $26.6 million in tax-exempt bonds. The apartments were designed by locally based TCA and developed by New York-based The Related Companies.