New SpaceX-adjacent dense apartment development in Hawthorne up for initial approval

A dense mixed-use project that could provide hundreds of housing units for employees of SpaceX on a lot near the Hawthorne rocket manufacturing plant will be considered Wednesday night by the city Planning Commission.

Planning commissioners will accept public comment on the Blackwood Real Estate bid to erect 305 apartments and a restaurant on a 2.5-acre lot when the hearing starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 4455 W. 126th St.

City leaders haven’t endorsed the densely packed development on the southeast corner of Jack Northrop Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. The plan, which mostly calls for studio and one-bedroom apartments but includes a few dozen two-bedroom units, was sent to the Planning Commission without a recommendation to either approve or deny.

The six-level project, not far from a Metro Green Line park-and-ride facility, would share a corner with a liquor store, two gas stations and a small retail strip.

SpaceX’s director of construction and real estate, Bruce A. McHugh, said the fast-growing rocket builder could use new local accommodations.

“SpaceX supports Blackwood’s development project,” McHugh wrote in a letter to the city. “The benefits for SpaceX would be corporate housing, housing for our interns and employees, along with possible added amenities of a gym and a restaurant.”

But packing that many apartments in such a small area could pose a challenge for a city already contending with traffic and parking problems.

Blackwood, however, completed an environmental study of the potential impacts and has proposed mitigations. The company plans to build 450 parking spaces, in addition to the project’s proximity to public transit.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas also threw his support to Blackwood.

“I feel this project is the type of forward-thinking effort that will strongly benefit the residents and businesses of the city of Hawthorne,” Ridley-Thomas wrote in a letter to the city. “The project’s proximity to the Metro Green Line will further strengthen the expanding regional transportation network, while also increasing the supply of quality housing to serve the growing workforce in the tech, health care, bioscience and aerospace industries.”

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