LOS ANGELES—Related California has started construction of the $120 million first phase of the Grand Avenue Project, a 19-story apartment tower in the downtown here in the Bunker Hill neighborhood.

The property at 225 N. Grand Avenue between Second and Third streets will have 271 units, of which about 20 percent will be affordable living. The tower should be completed by the fourth quarter of 2014.

The site is next door to the Broad, a new art museum set to open in 2014, and across from the Metro’s planned regional connector station on Hope Street. A public plaza between the apartments and the Broad will sit atop General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way at Upper Grand Avenue and will serve as a pedestrian connection from the connector to Grand Avenue.

“The Grand Avenue Project is a game changer in the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “These new apartments are a significant step forward as we continue to make downtown a vibrant place to live, work and play.”

City Councilwoman Jan Perry, previous vice chair of the Joint Powers Authority, said in a statement that the Broad and the new apartment tower are the final pieces in completing a vibrant pedestrian environment on Grand Avenue’s west side. “This will be a lively area with the museum, plaza, new restaurants and soon the regional connector--helping to fulfill the goal of activating this dynamic hub for culture, entertainment and living,” she said.

The apartment building, designed by Arquitectonica, will be a pure rectangular white prism punctuated by windows of varying sizes and proportions, creating a dynamic display on its façade. The executive architect is LARGE Architecture and Rios Clementi Hale Studios is landscape architect. Marmol Radziner & Associates is responsible for interior design. Pankow is the general contractor.

Construction loan financing is provided by Citi Community Capital with an equity letter of credit from Ohio State Teachers Retirement System. Low income housing tax credit equity comes from Boston Financial while the Grand Avenue Authority has provided an affordable housing loan and grant.