Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) is partnering with Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) to build Go For Broke Plaza & First Street North Residences, a mixed-use development and one of the City of LA’s largest 100% affordable housing developments, in the heart of historic Little Tokyo.
Go For Broke Plaza & First Street North Residences
- Go For Broke Plaza and First Street North Residences will break ground on Tuesday, February 13th 2024–the same year we’re celebrating the Little Tokyo neighborhood’s 140th Anniversary.
About the Project
Community-based nonprofit Little Tokyo Service Center is partnering with Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) to build the Go For Broke Plaza and First Street North Residences, one of the City of LA’s largest 100% affordable housing developments, in the heart of historic Little Tokyo. This 100% affordable, mixed-use, transit-oriented development will create an unprecedented 248 affordable units, with 80 permanent supportive housing set-asides including for homeless veterans, many of whom receive services at the VA campus directly across the street. Case management and on-site services will be available to the residents of the affordable units to increase their self-sufficiency, financial capability and long-term stability. Residential units consist of a mix of 76 studios, 43 one bedrooms, 60 two bedrooms, 66 three bedrooms, and 3 manager’s units.
The ground floor along Jackson Street will feature approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space prioritizing Little Tokyo small businesses and community-based nonprofit and cultural institutions including the permanent home for GFBNEC, LTSC’s partner on this project and a non-profit community institution. The entry courtyard will incorporate the existing Go For Broke monument, which pays tribute to the WWII American veterans of Japanese ancestry who fought in the famed 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service. ‘Go for Broke’, a Hawaiian phrase meaning “to give it your all,” was the regiment’s motto, and it embodies their courage, patriotism and sacrifice as they fought for liberty abroad, as well as at home.”
With nearly one third of local businesses closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, another key component of this project is preserving the affordability of Little Tokyo for local and legacy small businesses, including 120+ year old Fugetsu-do Confectionary, Suehiro Cafe, and other longtime establishments.
Established in the 1890’s, Little Tokyo is the largest of only four remaining “Japantowns” in the US and the second oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles. Located on the historic First Street North block in the heart of the Little Tokyo neighborhood, Go For Broke Plaza and First Street North Residences reclaims land the Little Tokyo community lost to eminent domain during the Urban Renewal period of the 1950s–turning the vacant surface parking lot into affordable housing and commercial space dedicated to the neighborhood’s cultural preservation.
In 2021, the City of Los Angeles approved an amendment to ground lease this site to Little Tokyo Service Center and Go For Broke National Education Center for $1 per year over 99 years. Since then, LTSC moved quickly to redevelop this 2.5 acre site to meet the community’s needs and vision.
This project is the realization of a decades-long campaign for community control and self-determination. The community’s vision for the land – embodied in a 2013 vision document called “Sustainable Little Tokyo” – strengthens and celebrates the identity and history of Little Tokyo. The vision – developed over the years through countless meetings of residents and stakeholders – includes affordable housing, green space, retail space that complements existing small businesses and strengthens long time legacy businesses, and pedestrian pathways that access all parts of the neighborhood.
It's an honor to devote our hearts and minds toward turning the Little Tokyo community vision for historic First Street North into a reality. When we look at photos from over a hundred years ago, we see how this surface parking lot was once the vibrant, bustling heart of the neighborhood. Transforming this 2.5 acre site into one of the largest 100% affordable and community-based developments in the City of Los Angeles has defied conventional affordable housing development, but it's been worth every complex challenge to restore this part of Little Tokyo with urgently needed affordable and permanent supportive housing, local small businesses and cultural institutions, and green public spaces that finally create a true home for the Go For Broke monument and its tribute to the 442nd Regiment.
- Address: 232 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles CA 90012
- Timeline: Construction start in early 2024; Projected completion in 2026
- Unit Mix: 248 affordable housing units, with 80 permanent supportive housing set-asides including for homeless veterans
- Project footprint: About 2.5 acres (land parcel) and about 380,000 square feet of housing and retail space
- Ground Floor: Approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space prioritizing Little Tokyo legacy small businesses and community-based nonprofit and cultural institutions, including a new home base for GFBNEC, 120+ year old Fugetsu-do Confectionary, and Suehiro Cafe.
- An entry courtyard will incorporate the existing Go For Broke monument, which pays tribute to the World War II American veterans of Japanese ancestry in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
- This project is the realization of a decades-long campaign for community control and self-determination. In 2013, the Sustainable Little Tokyo Community Vision incorporated this site as part of its Master Plan for the development of community assets in Little Tokyo.
- Developer: Little Tokyo Service Center
- Community Partner: Go For Broke National Education Center
- Equity Investor/Lender: U.S. Bank
- Architects: Ten Architects and RED Studio
- General Contractor: Walton Construction
For over 40 years, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) has provided a safety net of social welfare and community development services to empower people and communities in need. Starting with its home in Little Tokyo, LTSC preserves and strengthens the unique ethnic communities of the Southern California region where people, culture and collective future matter.
Learn more about our affordable housing efforts here.
News & Media Coverage
- FCI News (2/26/24) Catch Go For Broke Plaza & First Street North Residences
- Cultural News (02/25/24) Contents of Weekly Cultural News, Feb. 19-25, 2024 (Reiwa 6): Go For Broke Plaza project to create affordable housing, spaces for legacy small business, and culture in Little Tokyo
- Urbanize LA (02/16/24) Go For Broke Plaza and First Street North Residences break ground at 232 Judge John Aiso St.
- Affordable Housing Finance (2/15/24) Project Breaks Ground in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo
- Rafu Shimpo (02/10/24) Groundbreaking to Launch Affordable Housing and Community Plaza Project In Little Tokyo
- Urbanize LA (12/13/23) L.A. City Council approves $48M for new affordable housing at 200 N. Central Avenue in Little Tokyo
- Rafu Shimpo (7/13/23) Rep Gomez Announces $1.5 Million for 248 Units of Affordable Housing in Little Tokyo
- Rafu Shimpo (03/25/2021) City Council OK’s Go For Broke Expansion Ground Lease
- Urbanize Los Angeles (03/04/2021) Tinker Toy Garage Site in Little Tokyo Could Yield More Affordable Housing
City of Los Angeles Housing Department
City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department
State of CA Department of Housing and Community Development
California Tax Credit Allocation Committee
California Debt Limit Allocation Committee
U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez
Los Angeles Development Fund
Little Tokyo Towers Foundation
California Wellness Foundation
Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
California Community Foundation
Corporation for Supportive Housing
Capital One Predevelopment Funding
National Equity Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation: Bring Them HOMES Veterans Initiative