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Historic Flower Market Part of LA’s Urban Renaissance


By Joel Miller, Psomas and Angie Brooks, Brooks + Scarpa

Historic Flower Market Part of LA’s Urban Renaissance

For the past 15 years, Downtown Los Angeles has been going through an urban metamorphosis as developers have built dozens of residential high-rises throughout the area. This has spawned the transformation of downtown from a daytime office/industrial hub into a vibrant 24-hour urban neighborhood and entertainment destination.

The Flower Market is a beloved cultural institution with a long history in Downtown Los Angeles dating back to the early 1900s. Ownership is through a consortium of families, many descended from the Japanese immigrant flower growers who founded the market more than a century ago. Over time, the Flower Market has become one of the world’s largest wholesale flower markets.

With the renaissance of LA’s downtown, the descendants of the original owners see the value in their 3 ½-acre site and are looking for a higher return on their investment. The owners could have sold their property to another downtown developer, but instead decided to move forward with their own development design concept that would retain the Flower Market. They’ve chosen the course of preserving a valuable commercial and historical asset to the region.

Plans call for the preservation of the historic Flower Market and also transforming it for the next 100 years. The development design takes its cue from the flower itself and incorporates color, pattern and a residential tower that resembles a honeycomb.

The current bustling marketplace, where vendors sell flowers wholesale and retail, mainly operates in the early morning hours. Looking to the future, the Flower Market’s owners envision a 24/7 neighborhood with the addition of commercial/retail/event space and 323 dwelling units in a 15-story residential tower, which will transform the neighborhood. An integral part of the transformation, the wholesale flower market itself will flow into a lively open walkway, with amenities like flower kiosks, incubator culinary stalls, benches, and bike parking.

This proposed project has relevance to cities across the country with dense downtown cores that want to preserve historic spaces, while taking part in the urban renaissance. 

 

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