Revitalizing the Vermont Corridor to Better Serve the Community’s Most Vulnerable
The Vermont Corridor project in Koreatown has made substantial progress as it approaches its countdown to completion in 2021. Approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2018, this project developed by the Trammel Crow Company will serve as the future headquarters for the County of Los Angeles Departments of Mental Health (DMH) and Workforce
Development, Aging, and Community Services (WDACS).Recently, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined partners of the project and leaders in the surrounding Koreatown community to tour the expansive construction of the building.
“The County of Los Angeles is part of the revitalization of communities. It means from an economic point of view, from a cultural point of view, and from the perspective of removing the stigma of mental health—this is a monument to self-esteem and self-worth,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.
In 2018, the County kicked off the first stage of this project following approval from the Board of Supervisors. It has since employed over 2,400 construction workers with many coming from the local community.
“I think it is a wonderful thing for them to be able to hire people straight from my local community. It feels amazing to be able to say I contributed,” said Sylvia Lachapelle, a sound electrician on the project who joined the tour.
The ground floor will also host a peer resource center and walk-in mental health services clinic. “It makes a real statement about the importance of mental health—the mental health of our entire community—in particular those who have suffered for too long and have not had the dignity that a building like this and its resources would bring,” said Director of DMH, Dr. Jonathan Sherin, after the tour.
While the building itself is a visual marvel, its design is even more impressive in its energy efficiency and ability to serve the community. Its exterior of glass and aluminum will significantly reduce energy demands for the future office space. Other sustainable building measures include use of recycled and regional materials, and water re-use for landscaping. Furthermore, having the headquarters of DMH and WDACS in the same facility will significantly improve operational efficiency of County services delivery.
Visitors on the tour expressed enthusiasm about the building’s completion in 2021 and believe it will make a huge impact on the local community once finished. Future phases of the project include an affordable housing development reserved for economically vulnerable seniors, a community center that will be run by the YMCA, and additional market-rate housing and retail space.
Johng Ho Song, the President of the Korean Youth and Community Center, applauded the collaboration between the County, non-profits, and the community. “I learned they are going to incorporate direct services in this building and we are going to have this building be a part of the community—I’m really looking forward to that,” commented Song.