Owners of El Mercado Shopping Center File Suit to Rescind Approval of Boyle Heights Homeless Housing Project

The owners of the El Mercado shopping center have filed a lawsuit seeking to block a 49-unit project of affordable and homeless housing, opening a new chapter in a five-year battle that has pitted homeless advocates against a popular Boyle Heights institution.

Visitors of El Mercado are shown in this undated photo. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Visitors of El Mercado are shown in this undated photo. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The lawsuit, filed by El Mercado de Los Angeles and its owner Tony Rosado, asks for a writ ordering the City Council to vacate its approval of the project and demand a full environmental impact report.

The City Council approved the development by the nonprofit A Community of Friends March 6 when Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents Boyle Heights, changed course after passionately opposing the project for years.

In a dramatic council hearing, Huizar, who had criticized the project as inappropriate for the location, said he had changed his mind after the developer accepted conditions that reduced the number of units reserved for mentally ill homeless people and increased the environmental scrutiny.

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