Little Tokyo Service Center Announces Purchase Of the Former Umeya Rice Cake Company

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 17, 2019

Little Tokyo Service Center
231 E Third Street, G106
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Contact: Takao Suzuki, tsuzuki@ltsc.org

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) is excited to announce the successful  purchase of the former Umeya Rice Cake Company site, located at 414 Crocker Street.

Although the three-generation family-owned business closed its doors in 2017, Umeya rice crackers remain a fond memory for many in the community. The owner’s decision to sell the property to LTSC means the site will remain an important facet in the ever-changing landscape of the Little Tokyo neighborhood.

LTSC will redevelop the 35,766 sq. ft. site into a mixed-use, 100% affordable transit-oriented development project. The multi-story residential building will consist of approximately 120-150 units, all affordable rental housing for low income individuals and families, with 50% set aside for permanent supportive housing.

There will be approximately 13,000 sq. ft. of ground floor community, commercial, and service provider space to provide wraparound services for housing tenants.

Quotes

“Our family business has been a part of the Little Tokyo neighborhood since 1918. Given Umeya’s history and the community who supported us for nearly 100 years, the two are forever inseparable.  We are truly excited to seeing the fruits of LTSC advancing their proud mission towards community revitalization and cultural preservation in Little Tokyo for generations to come.” – Rex Hamano (Family Representative and Umeya President)

“Being able to advance a cornerstone of our mission by contributing towards alleviating the housing affordability crisis in our neighborhood on a site symbolic to the history of Little Tokyo is momentous. Once completed, this project will be the first 100% affordable housing development in Little Tokyo in over 20 years.” – Takao Suzuki, Director of Community Economic Development, Little Tokyo Service Center

 

ABOUT LTSC

Little Tokyo Service Center is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for nearly 40 years. We preserve and strengthen the unique ethnic communities of our region and help people thrive. Starting with our own home in Little Tokyo, we build and strengthen communities throughout Southern California where people, culture and our collective future matter.

 

ABOUT UMEYA RICE CAKE COMPANY

The Umeya Rice Cake Company began in 1918 and was incorporated in 1924 or 1925 by Yasuo Hamano. The company sold tasty bite sized crackers made of top quality California rice. The factory was originally located in the area currently known as Weller Court until the start of World War II when the government ordered the evacuation of all persons of Japanese ancestry. Post WWII, the company temporarily moved to Denver, Colorado until 1950 when it returned to Little Tokyo at its present day Crocker Street location. The business was taken over by Yasuo’s son, Takeshi “Tak” Hamano in 1970 and remained under his leadership until his passing in 2017 at which time son, Rex Hamano, took over as president. Umeya Rice Cake Company closed its doors in December of 2017 after nearly 100 years in business.

 

ABOUT LITTLE TOKYO

Established in 1884, Little Tokyo is LA’s second oldest neighborhood and the largest of four remaining Japantowns in the United States. The neighborhood continues to serve as a cultural center for Japanese Americans across Southern California and the nation. In its 133-year history, Little Tokyo has withstood numerous acts of displacement including the forced removal and incarceration of people of Japanese descent during World War II and the demolition of whole tracts of housing, businesses, churches and temples that occurred during the city’s urban renewal and Civic Center expansion of the 1950s through the 1970s. Today, what remains of Little Tokyo is roughly nine square blocks. The latest threat to the cultural and historical identity of Little Tokyo comes in the form of the market rate housing boom in Downtown LA, which is making the neighborhood less accessible to small businesses, individuals and families of all incomes.

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