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Future of proposed shopping center at Mariachi Plaza in doubt

Meeting tonight in Boyle Heights over proposed Mariachi Plaza shopping center

A proposal to build a modern shopping center at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights will probably be pushed back to the drawing board after a neighborhood meeting tonight.

Critics of the plan blasted the proposal in November, arguing that the community was not included in the planning process. The project calls for an eight-story building with six levels of parking and two floors of medical offices, as well as a gym, restaurants and shops.

Locals took issue, among other things, with the number of parking spaces and the lack of affordable housing.

Officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that owns much of the land and is in charge of orchestrating the development, agreed to table the proposal until February in order to gather community input.

But in several meetings so far, people have shown strong disapproval of the plan submitted by Primestor Development, a downtown L.A.-based firm known for building retail developments in Latino areas.

“At this point, it seems the community is not even interested in talking to the developer,” said Jenna Hornstock, Metro’s deputy executive officer for countywide planning and development. “It’s very likely we’ll need to start all over.”

A large number of people is expected to attend and comment at the community meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Puente Learning Center. A rally is slated to happen before the meeting to encourage Metro to keep the community closely involved in future planning of the plaza.

“They assumed they were proposing the best for the area and they would walk free with the project,” said Carlos Ortez, who owns a restaurant across the street from the plaza. “But that’s not how things work in Boyle Heights.”

Twitter: @LATBermudez

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