Building Up Downtown, Part Two

The historic Herald Examiner Building is expected to be ready for Arizona State University students by late 2020. 

Downtown has experienced an unprecedented development boom over the past two decades, with new high-rise residential and commercial developments ushering in a new era of the Central City.

That growth is only getting started. A collection of new parks, community spaces, office buildings and residential projects are currently in the works in Downtown, with some expected to open next year, and others two-three years out.

Los Angeles Downtown News is providing updates on ten standout Downtown projects. The first five were published in last weeks issue, with the final five found below.

Name: Oceanwide Plaza

Budget: $1 Billion

Developer: Oceanwide Holdings

Location: 1101 S. Flower St.

Projected Opening: 2020

Key Details: Located just east of Staples Center, Oceanwide Plaza is one of a handful of mega projects to rise along Figueroa, just north of the Circa towers. The project consists of a 49-story high rise and two 40-story towers. Collectively they would house 504 condominium units, plus a 154-room Park Hyatt hotel.

Additionally the complex will include 150,000 square feet of commercial space and a large LED screen along the base.

The Latest: Work on the mega project stalled in January, citing a need to restructure its financing, and has not restarted since. Crews have been spotted completing minor maintenance at the site, but no additional or significant work has been done.

Representatives for Oceanwide Holdings did not respond to a request for an updated construction timeline. Oceanwide Holdings previously indicated that Downtown’s Oceanwide Plaza would be completed in 2020.

To make things worse, last month work also stopped on a 54-story tower Oceanwide was building in San Francisco. In a statement, Oceanwide alluded that construction stalled due to cost.

Name: citizenM

Budget: Undisclosed

Developer: citizenM, in partnership with BLVD Hospitality

Location: 361 S. Spring St.

Projected Opening: Late 2020

Key Details: Unique among ongoing hotel projects in Downtown, the 11-story citizenM, with a design from the Dutch architecture firms Concrete and the Downtown-based Gensler, includes a cafe, ground-floor bar and several open office-style meeting rooms. The citizenM will have 315 hotel rooms. It’s a modular build, with prefabricated rooms and facilities being used in the assembly, rather than more traditional construction processes.

The hotel is one of several in the works at the increasingly busy intersection of Fourth and Spring streets. A Cambria hotel is under construction on the southwest corner, while the Continental Building on the northeast corner is being converted into a boutique hotel.

The Latest: The hotel broke ground in May, replacing a surface parking lot. It’s rising fast, with the basic frame nearly complete.

Project representatives expect to have the building’s core walls installed around the start of 2020, which is when the prefabricated units will start to be put into place. Once that begins, work is expected to last just under a year.

Name: Parker Center/ Los Angeles Street Civic Building

Budget: $708 million

Developer: Bureau of Engineering

Location: 150 N. Los Angeles St.

Projected Opening: 2023

Key Details: Formerly the headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Parker Center is in the process of being replaced with a 27-story civic building for city workers.

The new building will include more than 700,000 square feet of offices for various city departments and commercial space. The building will also hold a child-care center and parking for more than 1,170 cars. The building will eventually house more than 3,200 government employees.

The project is part of the Civic Center Master plan, which proposes a series of dramatic changes to the city’s government hub between now and wrapping up in 2032.

The Latest: The city completed aboveground demolition at the site in July, and is currently working to knock out the remaining Parker Center remnants.

The process is expected to be completed in December, with construction on the new tower expected to begin as early as 2021.

The city put out a request for design proposals in April, with three teams moving on to the next phases, which includes community outreach and preliminary designs. A community meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19 at the Japanese American Cultural Center to discuss guidelines for the new civic center building.

The proposals will be revealed in Spring of next year, with a design team selected in early 2021.

Name: California Market Center

Budget: $170 million

Developer: Brookfield Properties

Location: 110 E. Ninth St.

Projected Completion: Early 2021

Key Details: In a move to attract larger tenants to the 1.8-million-square-foot California Market Center, Brookfield Properties is in the midst of completely renovating the four-building complex.

The plan is to transition the complex into an open, urban campus for tech companies like Facebook and Netflix, by linking the space’s three-buildings with 30-foot-wide open-air bridges.

The escalators will be removed and replaced with stairways that lead to large, open-air indoor bridges. The buildings facades will be replaces with light-capturing floor-to-ceiling windows.

Brookfield, partnering with design-firm Gensler, also demolished an old bank building near the entrance of the complex near Ninth and Main streets.

The Latest: Work at the California Market Center was split into two phases, the first of which started in November 2018 and included an assessment of the four-building structure.

The more comprehensive work began in July, with crews working to remove a two-story retail structure along ninth and main that would create a 13,700-square-foot landscaped place for outdoor events. Recently, a 2020 opening timeline was pushed back to 2021.

Name: Herald Examiner Building

Budget: $56.4 million

Developer: The Georgetown Company

Location: 1111 S. Broadway

Projected Opening: Late 2020

Key Details: Originally built in 1914, the office building holds a total of 100,000 square feet. The Georgetown Company is renovating the space, and keeping it for office purposes. Since the Herald Examiner newspaper, which gave the structure its name, went out of business in 1989, the building has remained vacant for the past 30 years.

Tenants have already been signed. Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts are taking four of the building’s five floors.

The ground floor is set-aside for 20,000 square-feet of commercial space that will hold a restaurant and retail tenants.

The Latest: Construction fencing remains around the ground level, with scaffolding on the upper levels.

Crews have gutted parts of the interior and are still working on internal demolition, before renovating the flooring and pillars. Restoration work is also underway on the building’s Mission Revival exterior.