Concept for ‘The Brownstones’ at Wheatena site

The developer of two downtown projects under construction presented a new concept for the former Wheatena site at the corner of Elizabeth and West Grand avenues.

Though details like density and size are still undetermined, a concept plan for The Brownstones envisions a two- to three-story walk-up, according to George Capodagli, principal of Capodagli Property Company, whose firm also is in the midst of constructing the 108-unit Meridia Water’s Edge, adjacent to the library, and Meridia Lafayette Village, a 115-unit project at the former Savoy property.

File photo

Capodagli presented his concept to the Redevelopment Agency at its Aug. 15 meeting but was coy about details since he has not yet acquired the properties. He was unsure whether the units would be for sale or rent, though he said the market at this time seems to indicate for sale, “but who knows” in a few years.

He stressed that the idea is conceptual but they’ve put a lot of time into it and suggested that in the future perhaps acquiring another adjoining property. “This is a process not an event,” he said, adding that they tried to be a little bit different with this idea. “We wanted to be part of town but have its own identity,” said Capodagli, with some self-supporting retail like coffee shops but nothing that would compete with downtown.

Capodagli first must negotiate for acquisition of the property, the largest of which (Block 228, Lot 1) is almost 7 acres and has been owned by the David and Sylvia Weisz Foundation in Los Angeles since 1985, according to property records. There are nine parcels in all within the redevelopment area, including the former Quinn and Boden book binding operations next door.

The most recent concept for the Wheatena site was 130 units proposed by Matzel & Mumford, which was a revised concept plan (.pdf) accepted in 2007 by the Redevelopment Agency. In early 2010, the developer determined the plan was “economically unfeasible.” An earlier plan, when the housing market was booming, called for 300 units — 264 condominiums and 36 townhouses.

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