After one year of construction, the concrete frame of the Arts District’s first skyscraper is starting to take shape at 520 S. Mateo Street.
The mixed-use development from Carmel Partners, dubbed “Alloy,” in social media posts by the developer, occupies a property flanking the 4th Street Bridge to the north and Santa Fe Avenue to the east. Plans call for the construction of multiple buildings featuring 475 live/work apartments, 105,000 square feet of office space, approximately 18,000 square feet of street-level shops and restaurants, and parking for 650 vehicles.
The centerpiece of Alloy is a 35-story, 390-foot-tall tower, which will stand as the Arts District’s tallest building at completion. A smaller mid-rise structure, combined with the podium of the high-rise, will front Mateo Street to the west.
Works Progress Architecture and Solomon Cordwell Buenz the design team for the project, which is depicted in renderings with a contemporary look and amenity decks atop its rooftop and podium levels. Plans also call for reactivating a former rail spur between Mateo and Santa Fe as a pedestrian paseo.
While construction may now be full steam ahead for Alloy, the project’s future came into doubt in 2020, following the revelation of the project’s connections to a City Hall corruption scandal centered on former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who recently pleaded guilty to federal charges of accepting bribes from real estate developers. Huizar accepted political contributions from Carmel on behalf of his wife’s short-lived City Council run in the midst of the approval process for the project, during which time he pushed to reduce the amount of affordable housing required within the development.
While work on 520 Mateo stalled out after shoring and excavation work not long after the revelation of their connection to the scandal, work resumed in February 2022. That followed payment of a $1.2-million fine by Carmel to resolve its involvement in the corruption probe.
While Alloy is set to be the Arts District’s first high-rise, it likely will not be the last. A new tower complex designed by Bjarke Ingels Group is in the works nearby, and prolific developer Onni Group is planning a 36-story high-rise just south of 7th Street.