A Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday approved a redevelopment project that would renovate the downtown Southern California Flower Market with a 15-story residential and commercial tower.

The proposed tower development would include 12 residential stories over three stories of office and retail space, a restaurant, the wholesale flower market and parking. The 205-foot tower would include 323 residential units, 32 of which would be set aside for moderate-income households.

The project also includes plans for an expansion of the Flower Market in the 700 block of South Wall Street near skid row.

Representatives from the Flower Market said adding the residential complex is the only way to keep the market in business in downtown Los Angeles. They said the project is an “internal development” being funded by the families who have owned the market for nearly 100 years.

“Our buildings are old and falling apart, business has deteriorated due to competition and buyers are afraid to shop in our area,” said Scott Yamabe, the manager of the Southern California Flower Association. “These are just some of the struggles we face today, and if we do not adapt today, our market’s demise is around the corner.”

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Coalition for Responsible Equitable Economic Development opposed the project, claiming environmental reports did not take into account the amount of low-income housing it should provide and contending that local labor agreements were not honored.

The groups also claimed residents and businesses in the area will be significantly disrupted by noise from the construction project.

City staff members stated in their reports that the environmental reports were conducted thoroughly.

City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo also question potential problems with construction noise, and also said more affordable housing units should be included in the project.

Yamabe said project developers recognize the project is “skid row-adjacent, so we knew the rents were going to be a lot less than other areas.”

“We realized we could only afford to build at a certain cost,” Yamabe said. “The income component of … middle-income earners is what we could afford.”

Yamabe said most units would have monthly rent prices of $1,800 to $3,000, but the moderate-income units could go for $1,200 to $1,500.

The committee voted unanimously to advance the proposal to the full City Council, but called for more moderate-income units.

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