Groups Clash Over Building L.A. Riverfront’s First Major Development as Habitat Restoration Efforts Continue

Marissa Christiansen, executive director of Friends of the L.A. River, left, talks about the proposed project Casitas Lofts in this undated photo.(Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles’s twin challenges of building more housing while restoring its namesake waterway are clashing along a shady 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River between downtown and the hills of Griffith Park.

On a 7-acre parcel in that stretch, a developer wants to build the riverfront’s first major development, Casitas Lofts, a 419-unit mix of mostly upscale apartments, offices and restaurants bordering neighborhoods on the east side of the river, Glassell Park and Atwater Village.

Proponents tout it as a potential gateway to the new Bowtie State Park and a catalyst for enlivening more of the river with snazzy development and bike trails. It would also result in the cleanup of an industrial site where Casitas Lofts would be constructed.

But opponents — including many nearby residents, the influential nonprofit Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Natural Resources Defense Council — contend the development would disrupt habitat restoration efforts, trigger gentrification and erode the area’s allure.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

This Los Angeles Times map shows the location of the development project proposed along the L.A. River.

This Los Angeles Times map shows the location of the development project proposed along the L.A. River.

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