A vacant historic building along Broadway in the Baker neighborhood is getting a new life as a $32 million project by Zocalo Community Development is underway. The First Avenue Hotel, former home to the very popular El Diablo restaurant which closed in 2013, is being transformed into an affordable housing project with a total of 102 units along with 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, perfectly suited for Broadway. To orient yourself, here is a map of the area with the project site outlined.

As you may have seen in the above aerial, this project also includes a small surface parking lot and an existing building. There was a former two-story annex attached to the 1st Avenue Hotel which has since been demolished to make way for a five-story addition to the historic building. Here are a couple preliminary renderings of the five-story addition courtesy of JG Architects.

Construction is already underway for the five-story addition which will contain a total of 56 units; the remaining units will reside in the the historic building. Below are a few photos of the construction progress from this past weekend.

As you can see in the photos, the cores have topped out, and the wood framing has started to go vertical. Here are two additional photos from West 1st Avenue.

To wrap up, let’s head over to Broadway to check out the progress of the historic building. A significant amount of exterior renovation is taking place along the ground floor, with interior work also underway.

Here are two more photos looking south showing the brilliant red brick wall on the north side of the historic building.

This project will be a great asset to Broadway and Baker once it is complete and open. The new ground-floor retail and additional residents will breathe new life into this already vibrant intersection.