DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - The Downtown development scene has been moving forward at a steady clip for more than a year, with a coterie of real estate players and investors recognizing that the community is ripe for additional housing, entertainment options and office space. Still, things ratcheted up even more than could be expected in just the last four months.
Since Los Angeles Downtown News’ previous Development issue in May, a whopping 14 projects have either been announced or have burst into the mainstream. These include major housing efforts on Figueroa Street, the conversion of a vacant 1924 building into a hotel that will feature traditional as well as hostel-type rooms, and a playground in Grand Park.
These projects join a diverse field of 80 already planned or in-the-works developments. It seems that everywhere one looks in Downtown, the signs of change are evident, from the Blossom Plaza mixed-use project in Chinatown to the Federal Courthouse rising in the heart of the Civic Center to Carmel Partners’ 700-apartment effort, complete with a Whole Foods, in the Financial District.
In the following pages, Downtown News runs down the latest information on 94 Central City projects. Given the current state of affairs, expect the momentum to continue.
These projects were either publicly announced, were revived or gained prominence in the past four months.
1200 FIG: A pair of 35-story condominium towers with a large retail podium has been proposed for a lot across from the Los Angeles Convention Center. A consortium of investors including Jamison Services and Hankey Investment Company President W. Scott Dobbins is behind the twin buildings at 12th and Figueroa streets. Designs from architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux show curved, steel-and-glass towers that would hold a combined 648 condominiums. The residences would sit above a 90-foot-tall podium with parking and 50,000 square feet of retail space; development officials expect to attract businesses that appeal to the sports-themed crowds coming to Staples Center and L.A. Live. The plan is in the entitlement phase and no budget or timeline have been announced.
1400 S. FIGUEROA ST.: Developer DHG Family Trust this spring announced plans to build a seven-story building with 106 residential units at 1400 S. Figueroa St. in South Park. DHG is still securing entitlements for the building, said project representative Donna Tripp. The development would have 4,750 square feet of street-facing retail space and amenities including a fitness center and a pool deck. There would also be two levels of underground parking. The project is being designed by GMP Architects-LA. No timeline or budget has been revealed.
AMP LOFTS: Bolour Associates and Crescenta Capital Partners are behind a $130 million effort to create 320 live/work apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space at Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District. The complex, with designs by the Shimoda Design Group, would be shaped like a “J,” and be flanked by a seven-story building at the northern end of the property and another one fronting Seventh Street. The rest of the 311,000-square-foot development would primarily be two- and three-story structures along Imperial Street and Santa Fe Avenue. Apartments would range from 525 to more than 1,200 square feet and would employ an open-plan concept. There would also be 390 parking spaces. The land, the longtime home of the American Moving Parts auto factory, currently holds 11 warehouse and industrial buildings, which will be razed. Project manager Ryan Granito anticipates breaking ground by the middle of 2016. He predicts 20 months of construction with the project coming online by mid-2018.
ARTS DISTRICT RETAIL CENTER: A 125,000-square-foot retail center has been proposed on the site of five warehouse buildings in the Arts District. ASB Real Estate Investments has partnered with Century City’s Blatteis & Schnur for the $32.5 million acquisition at Palmetto and Mateo streets, immediately south of the Molino Street Lofts and near the newly opened second phase of the condominium complex Barker Block. ASB plans to pour an additional $30 million into the project, which will include 430 parking spaces. No timeline has been announced.
CHINATOWN PARK: The city Board of Public Works this month is expected to approve a designer for a park that would rise on a Chinatown hillside, said Louis Reyes, a spokesman for First District City Councilman Gil Cedillo. In May, the office of County Supervisor Gloria Molina contributed $950,000, bringing the amount secured for the facility at Ord and Yale streets to $8.25 million. Demolition on the site is scheduled to start by the end of the year. The L-shaped plot will be transformed into what is described as a “vertical park,” with several deck-like flat areas connected by ramp-like “fitness trails.” A performance space is slated to sit next to the main entrance off Ord Street, and a trail will lead to an elevated observation deck. In 2010, the project secured $5 million in Proposition 84 state funds. Officials hope to open the park in the summer of 2016.
COLLEGE STATION: Evoq Properties this year revealed a plan to create a mega-project near Union Station. There are two proposals for the site at 924 N. Spring St., dubbed College Station. One calls for two residential towers up to 20 stories tall along with several four-story buildings for affordable senior housing units, and another eight-story building with 80 live/work lofts. The second plan envisions multiple five-story buildings instead of two taller towers, but keeps the senior housing and live/work components of the first plan. The proposals include about 40,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial and retail space. The future of the College Station plan, however, is up in the air as Evoq is being sold to a coalition of investors. Evoq officials would not comment because the sale is pending.
FOREMAN & CLARK BUILDING: The 13-story Foreman & Clark building at 701 S. Hill St. will see a major renovation, as owner Kyung Cho plans to turn it into a housing complex. The 1929 structure in the Jewelry District currently holds office tenants and street-level jewelry businesses, but would be converted into 165 residential units. The ground floor space would be filled by two restaurants and a bar/lounge, according to City Planning Department documents. Cho is in the entitlement process, which could last into spring 2015, according to project representative Elizabeth Peterson. Los Angeles-based architecture firm EWAI is handling designs. No timeline or budget details have been revealed.
FREEHAND HOTEL: The 1924 Commercial Exchange Building at 416 W. Eighth St. was purchased in July and will become the third establishment in the Freehand Hotel chain. Freehand, a partnership between Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Company and the Sydell Group, will create approximately 200 rooms in the 13-story Beaux Arts structure originally designed by the firm Walker & Eisen. The hotel will hold a mix of traditional guest rooms and hostel-style rooms with up to eight beds. Los Angeles-based Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the transformation and the Elizabeth Peterson Group will work on planning and land-use issues. Construction is expected to start in the third quarter of 2015. A rooftop pool and lounge are planned, as are ground-floor retail and a restaurant. The tall neon sign on the corner of the structure will be preserved. The hotel is slated to open in 2016.
GLASS TOWER: The Glass Tower, one of the many projects that stalled during the recession, returned to the limelight in June, when San Francisco’s Trumark Urban purchased the project site at the northeast corner of 11th Street and Grand Avenue in South Park. Trumark intends to spend $100 million on the already entitled, 151-condominium development. Downtown-based architecture firm HansonLA is handling designs; initial renderings of the 24-story edifice show a tower with box-shaped elements sprouting along one corner of the building. Trumark anticipates breaking ground in January, and the for-sale residences could hit the market as soon as 2016. Planned amenities include a fitness center and a pool deck.
GLOBE THEATRE RENOVATION: For the first time in decades, the Globe Theatre marquee is illuminating Broadway, following a relighting ceremony in June. The 101-year-old theater is undergoing a $5 million exterior and interior renovation that should be complete this fall, said project spokeswoman Elizabeth Peterson. Long used as a swap meet, the Globe will reopen as a high-end nightclub run by Erik Chol. The Globe, at 740 S. Broadway, will feature live performances; the mezzanine will be reactivated and the Broadway entrance will reopen. Most recently the 24,347-square-foot space had operated as Club 740. In that iteration the entrance was through an alley, and the club became infamous for fights and noise violations.
GRAND PARK PLAYGROUND: Construction began in July on a $1 million children’s playground on the eastern edge of Grand Park. The 3,700-square-foot play area, being designed by Rios Clementi Hales Studios (which also designed the 2-year-old park), will have a forest theme, complete with live sycamore trees, a tree house, a 12-foot tall tube slide and a tunnel. The look will include nature-inspired colors on oversized leaf shapes and bright green accents. The project, on the block between Broadway and Spring Street, will have hardwood benches. It will be surrounded by a three-and-a-half-foot tall fence. The park is scheduled to open in November.
HAUSER WIRTH & SCHIMMEL ART CENTER: A 100,000-square-foot former flour mill at 901 E. Third St. in the Arts District will be transformed into the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel arts complex. The project, to be run by former MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, will turn a collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings and outdoor spaces into a multi-disciplinary attraction with exhibitions, museum-caliber amenities and a series of public programs. Hauser Wirth & Schimmel will host a three-month group exhibition in an un-renovated portion of the complex in January. The facility will then close for more upgrades, with an anticipated full debut in winter 2016. The seven structures, which have been mostly uninhabited since the 1950s, include a Neo-Classical bank building, a five-story mill structure and three warehouses, two of which have arched truss ceilings and skylights. The project will include a 20,000-square-foot interior courtyard, as well as a restaurant and a bookstore.
LA PLAZA HISTORIC WALK: The County of Los Angeles and the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation, which operates a museum and cultural facility on Main Street, have proposed a massive development for a 3.7-acre site currently composed of two parking lots separated by Broadway. The project would connect El Pueblo to Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, a small park and monument at 430 N. Hill St. The development, close to Olvera Street, would include up to 345 residential units, with 20% set aside for low-income tenants. The 425,000-square-foot endeavor would also hold up to 55,000 square feet of restaurants, cafes and shops, along with 786 parking spaces in subterranean and above-grade structures. Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain is handling designs and developer Trammell Crow is also on the team. Plans call for “Block A,” the parcel on the east side of North Broadway, to hold a five-story structure with approximately 35,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and up to 119 residential units on the upper floors. “Block B,” west of Broadway, would see an eight-story structure with up to 226 apartments and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
SIXTH AND BIXEL: Developer Holland Partner Group in June broke ground on a 648-apartment project in City West. The developer, which previously constructed two nearby rental complexes, will create a pair of seven-story structures and renovate a 1920s medical office building on a four-acre site on Sixth Street between Lucas Avenue and Bixel Street. The new buildings will have 606 units and the medical building will hold 42. The $200 million project will also create 25,000 square foot of retail and commercial space, much of it fronting Sixth Street. Project officials hope to open the converted office building by mid-2015, and bring the other structures online in phases in 2016. Togawa Smith Martin is designing the project that will offer studio to three-bedroom apartments ranging from about 500-1,300 square feet. Rents are expected to start around $1,500 and go to slightly under $4,000. The project will have rooftop decks, a large fitness center and a pool, along with open space including a public plaza and 300 trees.
UNION STATION MAKEOVER: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is assembling the final iteration of its proposal to upgrade the 75-year-old transit hub. One major change is the creation of a larger indoor/outdoor passenger concourse that will connect people to trains on an updated rail yard. The Patsaouras Bus Facility near the eastern entrance to Union Station will be demolished and rebuilt as an elevated terminal between the historic station building (the west entrance) and the new concourse. There are also a slew of outdoor improvements, including the conversion of the parking lot adjacent to the west entrance into a public plaza. The master plan will be discussed by Metro’s Board of Directors at its September meeting, and a final plan is slated for completion in October, according to Metro Deputy Executive Officer Jenna Hornstock.
801 S. OLIVE ST.: San Francisco-based Carmel Partners is in the final design phase for a 27-story apartment tower at Eighth and Olive streets, according to Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. The company plans to break ground in the first quarter of 2015 and expects construction to last about 30 months, leading to an estimated completion in the third quarter of 2017. Plans for the tower at 801 S. Olive St. call for 363 units, with studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and four penthouses. Amenities would include a large fitness center, a rooftop pool and lounge, and several open-air decks with views of Downtown. There would also be 10,000 square feet of street-facing retail space as part of a three-story parking podium. The podium would be wrapped in translucent panels, allowing the structure to glow gently at night.
820 S. OLIVE ST.: Plans for a 50-story residential tower between Hill and Olive streets continue to move forward. The Vancouver, Canada-based developer Onni Group, which recently topped out on a 33-story apartment tower at 888 S. Olive St., intends to bring 589 housing units and 600 parking stalls to the site between South Park and the Financial District. An adjacent 6,584-square-foot single room occupancy hotel, on land owned by the developer, will remain, project architect Chris Dikeakos has said. It is too early to reveal a budget or timeline, according to an Onni spokesman.
920 S. HILL ST.: Veteran Historic Core developer Barry Shy is moving forward with plans to build a 32-story tower at 920 S. Hill St. Slated for the parking lot behind theAce Hotel, the concrete, glass and stone structure would have 239 condominiums and five ground-floor commercial spaces totaling 5,405 square feet, said Kate Bartolo, a representative for the project. The design comes from DavidTakacs Architecture. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
950 E. THIRD ST.: The Department of City Planning is mulling a proposal for an entitled 472-apartment project at 950 E. Third St. in the Arts District. The $150 million complex, slated to rise on a six-acre site adjacent to the Southern California Institute of Architecture, has engendered neighborhood opposition for its design and what critics say is a lack of open, communal spaces. Developers have said they are taking residents’ suggestions into account as they work to refine the designs. The nearly 400,000-square-foot project would be dominated by an A-shaped concrete and wood building. There would also be about 22,000 square feet of retail and 922 parking spaces, according to Dilip Bhavnani of Legendary Development, which is partnering on the project with Associated Estates. Plans also call for a public path through the project site connecting Third Street to Merrick Street and Traction Avenue. The entire development would be built in a single phase and construction is expected to take about three years.
1000 S. GRAND AVE.: The excavation process and the pouring of concrete for subterranean parking is complete on Houston-based developer Hanover Company’s 274-unit, seven-story apartment building at Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard, according to company development partner Ryan Hamilton. The project will feature studio to two-bedroom apartments and 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Like Hanover’s other nearby projects, the design comes from architecture firm TCA and features a simple stucco exterior dotted with glass balconies. Amenities will include rooftop sun decks, a pool, a public paseo and a large fitness center. The building is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2016, Hamilton said.
1001 S. OLIVE ST.: Construction has begun on Miami-based developer Lennar Multifamily’s apartment complex at the southwest corner of Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street. Initial work involves excavation and construction of subterranean parking. The seven-story building will have 201 rental units, including 12 two-story townhomes, and about 4,100 square feet of retail and commercial space on the ground floor. The South Park complex will offer a third-floor pool deck overlooking Olive Street, a roof deck at the corner of Olive and Olympic, a large fitness center and a dog run. There will also be three floors of parking (one underground) with 228 stalls. The complex is slated for completion in June 2016, according to project representative Sheila Gonzaga.
1027 WILSHIRE BLVD.: The Central City Development Group and the Amidi Real Estate Group continue to work on a plan to build a 376-unit apartment complex at 1027 Wilshire Blvd. in City West. Although a timeline is unknown, project officials in the spring submitted a permit application to the Department of Building and Safety to demolish a three-story structure on the site and clear the lot in preparation for construction. The residential building would rise across the street from 1010 Wilshire, a corporate housing complex that Amidi created. The project would also contain 6,500 square feet of retail and 5,000 square feet of office space.
1133 S. HOPE ST.: A project that received city approvals in 2008 but then stalled has been dusted off and is moving forward. Vancouver, Canada-based developer Amacon is working on plans for a 28-story tower that would include 208 residential units and 5,029 square feet of restaurant and retail space. The building would extend from a rectangular parking podium and would rise on a current parking lot just east of the Flower Street Lofts. Amenities would include a pool and spa, a fitness center and a library.
1200 S. FLOWER ST.: Developer Onni Group continues to seek entitlements for a pair of residential high-rises at 1200 S. Flower St. The Vancouver, Canada-based Onni is planning 31- and 40-story buildings that would bring a total of 730 housing units and approximately 843 parking spaces to South Park. A five-story, 72,000-square-foot office building that currently occupies part of the site would remain, though a two-story warehouse would be razed. The complex would have a landscaped podium deck and offer amenities such as a swimming pool and a dog run. No budget or timeline have been disclosed.
BROADWAY AND OLYMPIC CONDOS: Developer Barry Shy is planning to build a 15-story condominium complex at 955 S. Broadway. There will be 163 units with eight commercial spaces coming to the corner of Broadway and Olympic Boulevard, said project representative Kate Bartolo. The 184,705-square-foot structure would offer units from 665 to 1,465 square feet. There would also be an outdoor area on the second floor and a rooftop deck with a pool, barbecue and garden. Plans include a restaurant and a 60-foot long greenscape in the rear of the building, Bartolo said.
DA VINCI: Construction on developer G.H. Palmer Associates’ 526-apartment building at 909 W. Temple St. has hit some delays, and the opening has been pushed back from late summer until December, according to company head Geoff Palmer. Designed in the same Italian/Mediterranean style as many other G.H. Palmer projects (such as Orsini and Piero), the five-story Da Vinci, on the northwestern edge of Downtown, will feature studio to two-bedroom apartments above three levels of parking and 8,200 square feet of street-level retail. Some two-story, two-bedroom lofts will also be available. Amenities include a pool, barbecue areas and a large fitness center. At thedavinciapts.com.
EIGHTH AND GRAND APARTMENTS: Carmel Partners is deep in construction on a seven-story, 700-unit apartment complex at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue. The residences will have floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, and the project will offer multiple courtyards and a rooftop pool deck, as well as a four-level underground parking structure. The project in the southern part of the Financial District is slated to open as a single phase in the second or third quarter of 2015, according to Carmel Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. The complex will have an anchor tenant on the ground floor: Whole Foods is filling 42,000 square feet of retail space. Negotiations for other retail leases are being discussed, according to Garibaldi.
FOREST CITY SOUTH PARK: Developer Forest City has secured entitlements for two seven-story structures near the Herald Examiner building in South Park, and is finalizing designs. The approximately $140 million development would feature one building at 156 W. 11th St., at Hill Street, with 177 studio to two-bedroom units and 7,300 square feet of street-level retail and commercial space. Amenities would include a pool deck, courtyard and gym. A second building would rise at 1201 S. Main St.; it would hold 214 apartments and about 9,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The two projects would have a combined 507 parking spots and 446 bicycle parking stalls. Forest City tentatively plans to break ground in the second quarter of 2015, according to Director of Development K.C. Yasmer, and is aiming to finish construction in early 2017.
FOURTH AND BROADWAY: Plans for a high-rise at Fourth Street and Broadway from veteran developer Izek Shomof continue to move forward, said Hamid Behdad of the Central City Development Group, which is working with Shomof on the project. A groundbreaking is planned for 2015 for the 34-story tower that would feature 450 residential units and parking spaces. The complex, being designed by Downtown-based architect HansonLA, would be built to condominium specifications but likely would open as apartments. The 450,000-square-foot development would hold 7,000 square feet of retail space. Early renderings show a mid-rise portion of the building with a curved segment fronting the southeast corner of Fourth and Broadway. A rectangular tower would rise on top of that.
G12: The 640-unit project dubbed G12, from developer Sonny Astani and private equity firm Wolff Company, does not yet have a scheduled groundbreaking date. According to a representative for Astani, however, the plan is to begin construction by the end of the year on the complex bounded by 12th and Olive streets, Pico Boulevard and Grand Avenue. The first phase of the development would create a seven-story, 347-unit residential building. The entire project would also feature 42,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The three-acre site was purchased from parking lot company L&R Group. At astanienterprises.com.
MACFARLANE PARTNERS/PARK FIFTH: Developer MacFarlane Partners plans to build 24-story and seven-story residential buildings on the parcel north of Pershing Square. The company completed its acquisition of the plot bounded by Olive, Fifth and Hill streets this summer. MacFarlane expects to start construction on the seven-story building within a year, according to project representative Julie Chase. The low-rise structure, which would sit on the north end of the site, would create 315 apartments and would have a rooftop deck. Construction is expected to take about two years. No timeline for the high-rise building has been revealed, but it would hold 300 units and feature a roof deck with a pool, barbeque area, clubhouse and other amenities. The plan marks a new start for the site known for its previous proposed development, Park Fifth. Developer David Houk had secured entitlements for a $1.3 billion, 73-story complex, but plans were crushed by the recession.
MEGATOYS LOFTS: After working on an underground garage, construction crews have hit street level and are getting ready to pour the concrete for the first floor of a 320-unit apartment complex, said Tom Wulf, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises. Lowe is partnering on the two-building project at 905 E. Second St. with Megatoys and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The five-story buildings between First and Second streets flanking Garey Street are on pace to open in October 2015, Wulf said. The Arts District property was long the headquarters for Megatoys, a toy business run by the Woo family. The $60 million development, with designs by Togawa Smith Martin Architects, will include 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor dining. The studio to two-bedroom apartments will average 728 square feet. Residences will have open floor plans with features including gourmet kitchens, quartz countertops, and washers and dryers. The project will contain four courtyards, one dedicated to pets. Another courtyard will offer a pool, spa and sundeck with grilling areas, fire pits and an outdoor lounge.
NEW PERSHING APARTMENTS: The opening of Skid Row Housing Trust’s 69-apartment complex at Fifth and Main streets has been pushed back from October to December because additional structural steel work was required, according to Dana Trujillo, housing development director for SRHT. In the meantime, the company has begun looking for tenants for the ground-floor retail space in the former Pershing Hotel. The $16 million renovation will create studio and one-bedroom residences (350-500 square feet). Amenities will include a landscaped courtyard and community room with a full kitchen. The renovation is preserving the majority of the original building’s historic facade, while expanding its footprint from 37,000 to 60,000 square feet. The design comes from Killefer Flammang Architects. At skidrow.org.
OLYMPIC AND BROADWAY APARTMENTS: Construction has begun on G.H. Palmer Associates’ two-building project on two lots at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway, according to company head Geoff Palmer. The project will feature a 10-story, 439-unit building on a current surface parking lot and a six-story, 247-apartment structure on an adjacent parcel. Palmer declined to discuss the construction budget or the timeline. The buildings will feature brick facades to match the historic feel of Broadway, which is a departure from Palmer’s other Downtown projects that tout an Italian/Mediterranean aesthetic. The development is a partnership between Palmer and parking lot company L&R Group.
OLYMPIC AND HILL APARTMENTS: The construction of developer Hanover Company’s seven-story apartment project is nearing completion. The exterior stucco work is almost finished and scaffolding will be coming down this month, according to company development partner Ryan Hamilton. The crew is now working on interior finishes, and work commenced in August on building out the clubhouse, he added. The complex is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2015. The 281-unit building at Olympic Boulevard and Hill Street will feature 16,000 square feet of retail space as well as three live/work units on the ground floor. The design comes from architecture firm TCA, which is also designing Hanover’s two other nearby Downtown projects. At tcaarchitects.com/olympic-and-hill.
OLYMPIC AND OLIVE APARTMENTS: Construction began in the summer on the Hanover Company’s third seven-story development in South Park. Excavation of the site at Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street is complete; next up is the pouring of the foundation, said company development partner Ryan Hamilton. The project will sit adjacent to Hanover’s Olympic and Hill development and will feature 263 apartments and 14,500 square feet of street-facing retail space. The design comes from architecture firm TCA and features an articulated facade and numerous glass balconies overlooking the street. Amenities will include rooftop entertainment space and a gym. The project is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2016, according to Hamilton.
ONNI TOWER: Vancouver-based Onni Group continues to make progress on a 33-story apartment tower at 888 S. Olive St. Work crews have completed vertical construction, and are now focusing on the interiors of the 303 residential units, according to an Onni Group official. The $100 million structure in the southern part of the Financial District will create one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments. Onni is targeting an opening in the first quarter of 2015. It is the firm’s first project in Downtown; Onni has plans for two additional Downtown high-rises.
ONYX: A 410-unit, two-building complex proposed for Pico Boulevard at Flower and Hope streets is still in the entitlement process, according to a spokesman for developer Jade Enterprises. The South Park effort, dubbed Onyx, would be the first residential project for the company that has extensive holdings in the Fashion District. The Onyx would rise on two side-by-side parking lots over 42,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space. Neither a budget nor a timeline have been revealed.
ROSSLYN HOTEL APARTMENTS: The renovation of the Rosslyn Hotel is approximately 85% complete, said Joseph Corcoran, director of planning and housing development for developer SRO Housing Corporation. The 264-unit affordable housing complex at Fifth and Main streets has been home to 74 residents during the construction. The project is slated for completion by Halloween, and 75 residents will be homeless veterans. A number of historic elements have been uncovered and will be showcased when the project wraps, including storefronts with original mahogany and granite, columns and a skylight. SRO Housing bought the 1913 Historic Core edifice in 2010. The project cost, including acquisition, is $33 million.
SARES-REGIS LITTLE TOKYO: The first 11 units in a seven-story Little Tokyo structure are expected to come online in January 2016, said Sares-Regis spokeswoman Zoe Solsby. In March, another 64 units will open. Ultimately, the development at 232 E. Second St. will have 240 apartments. There will be 51 studios, 112 one-bedroom and 77 two-bedroom units measuring up to 1,220 square feet. Rents are projected to average $2,400. The project, next to the just-opened Ava apartments, will includes more than 16,000 square feet of retail space, with three levels of underground parking. The final units are expected to open in June 2016. At sares-regis.com.
SB OMEGA: Developer Barry Shy is refining plans for a 38-story tower in the Historic Core. Documents filed with the city show a project that would have 452 for-sale residences along with 25,000 square feet of retail space. The development at 601 S. Main St. in the Historic Core would include a total of 858 parking spaces, said project representative Kate Bartolo. The complex would also bring 110 trees to the site as well as 268 spaces for bicycle parking. Bartolo said the development would have a promenade and outdoor dining. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
SPRING STREET APARTMENTS/GARAGE: Downtown Management expects to submit its entitlement package to the city for a 40-story structure in the Historic Core within the next month, said company vice president Greg Martin. Downtown Management, which has turned three nearby old edifices into apartment buildings, plans to erect the high-rise on a parking lot on Spring Street between the Spring Arcade Building and the Alexandria Hotel. The tower would have residences on top of six levels of parking and one floor of retail. Martin said the proposed development does not yet have a budget or firm timeline.
THE EMERSON: Developer Related Companies is on pace to open the $120 million luxury apartment complex The Emerson in early October, said Bea Hsu, senior vice president of development for Related California. The 19-story building south of the under-construction Broad art museum on Grand Avenue will hold 271 apartments, with 20% set aside as affordable housing. Amenities in the building designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica will include high-end finishes, a rooftop pool, a business center, a fitness center with a yoga studio and a dog run for residents’ pets in the rear of the property. The Emerson, which will be adjacent to the Broad museum’s public courtyard, will also have a ground-floor restaurant, an offshoot of the Beverly Hills Italian establishment Ago. At theemersonla.com.
TITLE INSURANCE BUILDING: Capital Foresight, which owns the 1928 Title Insurance Building at 433 S. Spring St., continues to move forward on plans to turn the structure into 216 residential units. All the abatement and soft demolition work in the Historic Core structure have been completed, said the company’s Bill Lindborg, and Capital Foresight expects to secure a building permit in the next 45 days, he added. Elevator modernization work is also in progress. The completed project would include 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
TOPAZ: Jade Enterprises this month broke ground on a seven-story building at 550 S. Main St., on what is currently a parking lot. The Topaz, a 159-unit Historic Core apartment complex just north of the Santa Fe Lofts at Sixth and Main streets, would stretch between Main and Los Angeles streets. The building would include 23,000 square feet of retail and would offer studio and one- to three-bedroom units. No timeline or budget has been revealed.
VALENCIA: A groundbreaking has not been scheduled for the Valencia, a six-story apartment project at 1501-1521 W. Wilshire Blvd. from developer Sonny Astani. The 218-unit City West complex, which secured entitlements earlier this year, would have features including open courtyards and a fitness center. Most units would have balconies and there would be 4,400 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space, which could be used for a restaurant, according to a representative for Astani. Construction on the estimated $60 million project is slated to last 18 months. Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the designs. At astanienterprises.com.
BLOSSOM PLAZA: Developer Forest City completed excavation on the site of the $100 million Blossom Plaza, at 900 N. Broadway in Chinatown, and began pouring the foundation in early August, according to the company’s Nate Arnold, who oversees construction. Workers will be building Blossom Plaza’s subterranean garage through next summer. The five-story project will have 237 studio to three-bedroom apartments; 53 units will be reserved for low-income residents. The development will also have 19,000 square feet of street-level space for restaurants and retail. Additionally, there will be a 17,000-square-foot public plaza with a walkway connecting the Metro Gold Line Station to Broadway; that will allow light-rail riders to easily access the heart of Chinatown, and avoid having to go down a few flights of stairs and then walk up several blocks. The project is scheduled to open by June 2016.
CITY MARKET: The initial phase of development for the massive Fashion District project, a proposed $1 billion hub of housing, office space, hotel rooms and a college campus, began this summer. Workers broke ground in June on the revitalization of existing buildings on San Pedro and San Julian between 11th and 12th streets. This initial phase of the project, dubbed City Market South, is a partnership with developer the LENA Group. It is slated to open in summer 2015. Designed by Downtown architect Douglas Hanson, the first phase in the 10-acre mega-project calls for transforming two aged buildings: One would hold 150 residential units and the other would be an office structure. The City Market, being pushed by developer Peter Fleming, ultimately would include 945 housing units, 210 hotel rooms, 225,000 square feet of retail and 295,000 square feet of creative office space. It could be 20 years before the entire project is complete. At citymarketla2.com.
FIGUEROA CENTRAL: The 4.6-acre site immediately east of Staples Center was sold late last year for $200 million to Beijing-based Oceanwide Real Estate Group, which intends to pursue a mixed-use complex, though specifics of what would rise have not been revealed. The seller was New York-based Moinian Group, which for years planned to build a campus with 45- and 33-story towers, 220 hotel rooms and retail and commercial space. The South Park site has been entitled. The property is currently being used as two surface parking lots.
HERALD EXAMINER RENOVATION: According to the most recent available information, San Francisco-based Hearst Corporation is preparing to begin work on the long-awaited renovation of the 1914 Herald Examiner Building at 11th Street and Broadway. Hearst officials had said they hope to start renovations of the structure in spring 2015. The historic two-story building designed by Julia Morgan was formerly the headquarters of William Randolph Hearst’s Los Angeles newspaper. The developer plans to convert the first floor (35,000 square feet) into retail space and the second floor (another 35,000 square feet) into creative office space. No budget has been revealed.
MACK URBAN SOUTH PARK: Developer Mack Urban bought six acres in South Park last October for $80 million. Now it is gearing up to start construction of the first phase, which will be a pair of seven-story structures on a parcel bordered by Pico Boulevard and Olive and Hill streets. The company hopes to break ground by the end of the year, according to project representative Nadene Gallagher. The plans from architecture firm AC Martin call for 362 condominiums, including 23 townhome-style residences, with about 4,000 square feet of street-facing retail space. Designs are also being finalized for a residential tower and hotel on a nearby parcel bounded by Grand Avenue and 12th and Olive streets. Mack Urban is aiming to start work on those buildings by the third quarter of 2015, Gallagher said. Mack Urban is partnering with AECOM Capital on the entire South Park development, which has an estimated total budget of $750 million.
MEDALLION 2.0: Developer Saeed Farkhondehpour is still working on securing entitlements for the second phase of his Medallion project, which would create approximately 500 residential units in three buildings facing Third and Main streets. The timeline has been pushed back, and Farkhondehpour said he hopes to start construction in one year. The opening of a food complex in the empty retail space in the first portion of the Medallion, at Fourth and Main streets, is pending final city permits. The eateries will include Uzbek restaurant Samarkand Cafe, Bread Bar bakery and casual eatery Dante’s Kitchen.
METROPOLIS: The U.S. arm of Chinese developer Greenland began construction on the first phase of the mixed-use mega-project Metropolis in June. The first two towers will be a 38-story condominium building with about 300 units and a 19-story hotel with 350 rooms; they will be connected by a pedestrian plaza with two levels of retail. In July, Greenland revealed plans for a second phase featuring a 54-story tower with 700 condominiums and another condo building with 40 stories and 510 residences. Those towers would sit on an eight-story podium with two levels of street-facing retail. The first phase is slated to be finished in 2016, with the second phase arriving in 2019. Amenities for all towers include pool decks, gyms, green space and barbecue areas. Metropolis was first broached nearly three decades ago, and has gone through different owners and designs before the current plan. The 6.33-acre site is bounded by the 110 Freeway and Francisco, Eighth and Ninth streets. The design comes from Downtown-based architecture firm Gensler. The entire project is budgeted at more than $1 billion.
ONE SANTA FE: Move-ins are scheduled to begin this month at the massive Arts District development One Santa Fe. In addition to 438 apartments, the $160 million project across from the Southern California Institute of Architecture includes a 78,000-square-foot retail area; initial tenants are Manhattan Beach-based Grow Market, vegan eatery Café Gratitude, skin and hair business Malin + Goetz and a Van Leeuwen Ice Cream shop. The project offers a pair of six-story residential structures along with a 47,400-square-foot plaza facing Santa Fe Avenue, a 99-seat theater and 802 parking spaces. Amenities include a gym, a pool, an outdoor dining area and a common room with TVs and a pool table. Rents start at $1,860 for a studio, $2,135 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,470 for a two-bedroom residence. The Michael Maltzan-designed One Santa Fe comes from developers Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds Investments, McGregor Company, Polis Builders, Cowley Real Estate Partners and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. At osfla.com.
THE GRAND: The next major step in developer Related Companies’ $850 million project to reinvent the upper reaches of Grand Avenue is the submission of schematic designs, which will occur at the end of October, said Bea Hsu, senior vice president of development for Related California. Those designs, from architect Frank Gehry, will be considered by the joint powers authority that oversees the project site, and other governmental entities will also weigh in. The Grand had initially been proposed before the recession, but stalled during the economic downturn. It was resuscitated last November, in part because Related teamed with SLS Hotel owner Sam Nazarian. Current plans call for a project with a 300-room SLS Hotel that will contain 25-35 condominiums. There will also be a residential tower that will be approximately 420 feet tall with 380-450 apartments. The other major component of the development is a podium with a stacked mix of shops and restaurants that would be situated around a central plaza that opens to Grand Avenue. Related has begun a pre-leasing effort to find tenants for the retail, food and entertainment space. The goal remains to begin construction in December 2015 and open by the end of 2018.
WILSHIRE GRAND REPLACEMENT: Construction crews building the 73-story replacement for the Wilshire Grand Hotel have reached street level. Sean Rossall, a spokesman for the $1 billion project that is being developed by Korean Air and designed and managed by AC Martin, said the concrete core of the building continues to rise. Workers are now moving forward on the podium of the tower, which will ultimately have a sloped roof and 900 hotel rooms atop 400,000 square feet of office space, along with retail and restaurant space. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 and open the following year. At wilshiregrandcenter.com.
CIVIC AND NONPROFIT
ARTS DISTRICT PARK: The design for a $1.6 million, half-acre park at Fifth and Hewitt streets in the Arts District has been chosen, said Rick Coca, a spokesman for 14th District City Councilman José Huizar. Money for the park, which will replace a parking lot south of Urth Caffe, has been secured through Quimby fees, which developers pay for park creation. The project will include an eight-foot wall for mural art, outdoor eating areas and plaza space, a playground, shade trees around the perimeter, concrete seating and nighttime lighting.
BROADWAY REVITALIZATION: The “dress rehearsal” phase of the Broadway streetscape plan was completed in late August. The biggest impact has been the cutting of driving lanes: Six lanes (four were primarily used for traffic) have been reduced to two northbound and one southbound lane from Third to 11th streets along Broadway. The reduction of lanes created room for temporary public plazas, “extended” sidewalks, planters and new seating areas. The dress rehearsal phase cost $1.5 million. Next up is the creation of permanent changes, which is expected to cost $5 million-$6 million per block. The office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar has pulled together about $5 million for the permanent build-out thus far, and the money has been earmarked for improvements on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth streets and Eighth and Ninth streets. The work occurs as Huizar’s office continues to seek to lure tenants to old buildings on the street, both street-level and on upper floors. At bringingbackbroadway.com.
BUDOKAN OF LOS ANGELES: The Little Tokyo Service Center continues to push forward with the fundraising effort for its proposed $22 million sports and activities center, said Scott Ito, the project manager. The long-anticipated development is expected to break ground in 2016, with completion approximately 12-14 months later. The Budokan of Los Angeles would be a 40,000-square-foot facility on Los Angeles between Second and Third streets. Highlights would include a two-court gymnasium, a mezzanine with an outdoor terrace, community space and a rooftop park. An array of sports, athletic tournaments, special events and community programming would take place in the Little Tokyo building. At budokanoflosangeles.com.
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE: Construction on the $323 million Federal Courthouse began in summer 2013 and is approximately 20% complete, according to Traci Madison, a representative for the U.S. General Services Administration, which is building the Civic Center structure. The project on the southwest corner of Broadway and First Street is scheduled to open in fall 2016 and will hold 24 district courtrooms and 32 judges’ chambers; it will also house employees of the U.S. Marshals Service. Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merill designed the 600,000-square-foot structure as a large cube with a skin of serrated glass that will help light the building while cutting solar heat gain.
FIGUEROA CORRIDOR BIKEWAY: Construction has begun for the street lighting elements along the Figueroa Corridor, said Tim Fremaux, a transportation engineering associate for the city. That is the first part of an effort to make the street friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists. Plans call for trimming vehicular lanes and establishing protected areas for two-wheeled travelers. However, the project will also preserve entrance and exit points for auto dealerships and other businesses along the three-mile section of Figueroa Street between the Financial District and Exposition Park. Fremaux said officials are still in the process of requesting an extension for the Prop 1C bond money that will cover the project, and they expect to receive an OK by the end of the year. The budget for the development also known as My Figueroa is $20 million. At myfigueroa.com.
FIRST AND BROADWAY PARK: Site demolition work, including excavation, backfill, re-compaction and grading, has been substantially completed, said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works. The city will soon begin the initial outreach process to get community input for the features of the park at First Street and Broadway. The park would rise on the site of a former state office building that was razed after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The new facility is expected to complement Grand Park, which lies directly to the north. The $10 million Civic Center project has secured $4.3 million in Quimby fees, which are charged to developers for the creation of green space. The city Department of Recreation and Parks anticipates that the remaining $5.7 million will come from a combination of future Quimby fees and department allocations.
GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL MEDICAL PAVILION: The $80 million Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Pavilion is on pace to open in the thirdquarter of 2015, according to hospital spokeswoman Katrina Bada. A topping-out of the seven-story medical office building at Wilshire Boulevard and Witmer Street in City West took place in January. The 190,000-square-foot development, being designed by Ware Malcolmb, will hold the Frank R. Seaver Ambulatory Surgery Center, with eight operating suites. Additionally, the project will hold a pharmacy, outpatient clinics and physician offices including the hospital’s Surgical Specialties Clinic, which includes hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, said Bada. The builder is Millie Severson.
HALL OF JUSTICE: The $234 million renovation of the 1925 Hall of Justice, at 211 W. Temple St., is complete save for a few final interior and exterior details. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Oct. 8, but the building will likely start operating in full by the beginning of 2015, said Kerjon Lee, a public affairs officer with the County of Los Angeles. The renovated building will house the District Attorney’s office as well as the Sheriff’s Department. The first floor will feature a gift shop and a display of some historic elements from the structure, including a cell block that formerly housed Charles Manson. There is also a 1,000-stall underground parking structure. The building has been empty since the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, which left it substantially damaged.
LOS ANGELES RIVER: In May, the Army Corps of Engineers announced its support of an estimated $1 billion Los Angeles River revitalization plan, dubbed Alternative 20, instead of the $450 million Alternative 13 the Corps had initially proposed. The decision marked a victory for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who had lobbied strongly for the more expansive project. Alternative 20 would revive the waterway on a larger scale and would include the building of a connection to Los Angeles State Historic Park. The Corps’ decision marks the start of an effort to find city and federal funding for the revitalization; Garcetti in the past expressed willingness to have the city take on 50% of the project cost. The city’s efforts will include land acquisition, the remediation of adjacent properties (many of them formerly industrial sites), and construction of recreational spaces along the river. Other efforts to restore parks along the river continue, including the Albion Riverside Park in Lincoln Heights and the Taylor Yard Bridge project in Elysian Valley. At lariver.org.
LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK: The 34-acre park on the edge of Chinatown closed in April for a year-long renovation that will bring dramatic changes to the landscape. The first pieces being constructed are a large pedestrian bridge that will give sweeping views of the park, a ranger station and a welcome center, according to the state Department of Parks and Recreation’s Stephanie Campbell. Other planned features include two acres of restored wetlands, a tree-flanked promenade, permanent restrooms and a paved parking area. The approximately $20 million renovation is on track to be finished in the summer of 2015, Campbell said. Construction has resulted in the discovery of some unexpected relics, including an old trash pit and the foundation of a demolished building. At lashp.wordpress.com.
LOS ANGELES STREETCAR: A draft report by project manager URS Corp. estimated the cost of the Los Angeles Streetcar at $270 million, lower than the worst-case estimate of $327.8 million in a city analysis last year. The report is being finalized, and officials with the office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar said the actual cost could be lower, as the project will not stretch up to Grand Avenue. The 3.8-mile transit system would run from South Park to the Civic Center with a main spur on Broadway. The project is being funded by multiple sources, including $85 million in special tax funds that would be collected from Downtown property owners along the streetcar route. The city is applying for $75 million in federal grants, and is also pursuing public-private partnerships to cover the remaining $100-million-plus gap. The project’s environmental impact report is expected to be complete early next year. Huizar hopes to have the streetcar open by 2019. At streetcar.la.
MERCED THEATRE AND MASONIC HALL: The city Bureau of Engineering this summer started the design phase for the renovation of the city-owned Merced Theater and the adjacent Masonic Hall. The design process will last about one year, and the city department El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (which oversees the buildings) plans to hold a public hearing to review preliminary designs by early winter, said El Pueblo General Manager Chris Espinosa. Last year, the city approved a proposal to reactivate the vacant theater and hall by moving the city’s Channel 35 studio, which airs City Council meetings and programs related to city government, into the structure. The $23 million project will also create a first-floor space for public forums and cultural activities as well as offices for city staff. The project is expected to be finished by late 2017.
METRO BUS FACILITY: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects to open a new bus services complex in May 2015. Although work on the $104 million Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility was delayed in the wake of a March construction accident, Metro has caught up, and the project topped out in August. All utilities have been installed and all the street work is finished, and crews are now working on interiors, framing walls and putting in infrastructure equipment such as bus lifts and vehicle washers. The project will hold 200 buses and contain a multi-level garage, a fueling depot and areas for washing vehicles. The facility on the northeast corner of Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue is being designed to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards and will have, among other elements, a green roof, solar panels and a storm water reclamation system with an underground 275,000-gallon retention tank. The project will also create 397 parking spaces for Division 13 employees. At metro.net.
PARKER CENTER REPLACEMENT: City staff is preparing the final environmental impact report for the Parker Center replacement, said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works. The plan calls for Parker Center, the former headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, to be demolished and replaced by a 750,000-square-foot building. A recommendation from Public Works and the Bureau of Engineering released in May calls for building a 27-story tower. The project, with an initial budget of $475 million, would house multiple municipal departments such as General Services, Personnel and possibly Public Works, allowing the city to bring together employees from some far-flung locations. The decision to demolish the 1955 structure came after the city considered several alternatives, including reusing all or part of the dilapidated Civic Center building. The property that fronts Los Angeles Street was vacated in 2009 when the LAPD moved into the $440 million Police Administration Building.
REGIONAL CONNECTOR: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $1.42 billion Regional Connector is moving forward on the funding and construction fronts. In July, the Metro Board of Directors gave the green light to execute final designs and begin construction, and agency workers have been meeting with the contractors’ design team. A $927.2 million construction contract has been awarded to Skanska USA and Traylor Bros. Pre-construction work including moving utilities is occurring in multiple places in Downtown (resulting in numerous street closures), and Metro expects to start tunneling in the third quarter of 2015, according to project head Girish Roy. The 1.9-mile project will connect area light rail lines to streamline cross-county travel and will create three new Downtown stations at Second and Hope streets, Second Street and Broadway, and First Street and Central Avenue.
SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT: The planning for the replacement of the Sixth Street Viaduct has been completed, with highlights including a “ribbon of arches” design that will include staircases and a viewing deck. The city Bureau of Engineering worked with a design team led by HNTB, architect Michael Maltzan and others to hone the look of the structure that will replace the 1932 bridge, which needs to be replaced because of a chemical condition causing its concrete to weaken. The replacement for the 82-year-old structure, which stretches between the Arts District and Boyle Heights, will offer improved pedestrian access with 10-foot wide walkways as well as bike lanes. Construction on the $401 million project is slated to begin late this year, but work is not expected to be complete before 2018. At sixthstreetviaductreplacement.org.
DELIJANI BROADWAY THEATERS: The renovation of four historic Broadway theaters owned by the Delijani family — the Los Angeles (615 S. Broadway), Palace (630 S. Broadway), State (703 S. Broadway) and Tower (802 S. Broadway) — is ongoing with no firm timeline to completion, according to project consultant Kate Bartolo. The Palace and Tower theaters are seeing more substantial work at this point, she added. Plans for the theaters call for nearly a dozen restaurants, lounges and bars; permits were secured from the city and county this year. The family has not revealed a budget figure or any specific designs.
FARMERS FIELD: A deal between the city and Anschutz Entertainment Group to build a 68,000-seat football stadium in South Park is set to expire in October. Although it could be extended, the city has already begun looking at an alternative use for the 15-acre parcel. Dubbed Plan B, it would concentrate on finding a developer to build a 1,000-room hotel adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center. AEG for years has been working on plans for a $1.4 billion stadium, and former company President and CEO Tim Leiweke previously said that tens of millions of dollars had been spent on the effort, including a lengthy environmental impact report. However, no deal has been inked with a team and the NFL, and AEG has refused to begin construction without a signed commitment from a team and the league. The plan called for a stadium with a “deployable,” or removable roof, and was slated to include a $10 million expansion of the Blue Line’s Pico Station as part of AEG’s effort to have 25% of game attendees utilize public transit. At farmersfield.com.
ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: The restoration of the façade continues and work crews are readying a new museum entrance on Main Street, said Italian American Museum Executive Director Marianna Gatto. Restoration of the 1908 mosaic floor will commence in September, with the museum employing a specialist whose projects have included the Vatican. The long-awaited project is expected to open in early 2015, Gatto said. Exhibitions are approximately 60% completed, she added. The $4.5 million development in the building known as the Italian Hall, at 125 Paseo de la Plaza near Olvera Street, will display rare photos, documents, maps and artifacts illustrating the legacy, contributions and influences of Italian Americans in the region. At italianhall.org.
REGENT THEATRE: The exterior has been painted and the interior has been renovated, putting the Historic Core’s Regent Theatre in line to host its first concert. The project at 448 S. Main St. is led by Mitchell Frank, who owns concert promotion company Spaceland Productions. According to the Spaceland website, the first show would be Oct. 6, an appearance by Beach Fossils, and additional shows are scheduled through the fall. Original plans called for a pizzeria to open in the space. At spaceland.tv.
THE BROAD: The steel support structure for the “veil” that wraps around The Broad has been installed and work is continuing on affixing the 2,500 concrete panels to the exterior, said Karen Denne, chief communications officer for the Broad Foundation. The $140 million The Broad, being designed by the New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is rising on Grand Avenue, directly south of Walt Disney Concert Hall, on top of a three-level, 370-car garage. The 120,000-square-foot facility will house Eli and Edythe Broad’s 2,000-piece contemporary art collection. Work crews have already installed 318 third-floor gallery skylights and the lobby’s 23-foot-high glass curtain wall, which is comprised of 4,000-pound laminated glass panels. Additionally, the 100-year-old olive trees in the public courtyard at the museum have been planted. The Broad, which will also have a ground-floor restaurant and a space for lectures, is expected to open in 2015. Admission will be free. At thebroad.com.
TRACTION AVENUE BREWPUB: According to the most recent information available, 213 Nightlife is working to secure paperwork for an Arts District brewpub on Traction Avenue. The bar, from Downtown nightlife proprietor Cedd Moses, would have 258 seats. According to Eddie Navarette, chief consultant for F.E. Design & Consulting, which is representing the project, more than half of the 17,320-square-foot business would be dedicated to the brewery and kitchen. Moses’ license would allow 5,000 barrels of beer to be sold off-site annually. The brewpub, which would occupy the former Crazy Gideon’s electronics store, would also offer 27 skeeball lanes.
353 S. BROADWAY: Developer David Gray continues to work on a $7.5 million renovation of the building at 353 S. Broadway. Gray, who is both the developer and the designer, has restored the structure’s historic façade and plans to turn the five-story edifice into creative office space. Additionally, he has filed permits for a 4,577-square-foot bar with two patios and 212 seats in the building. In June, the 12-foot tall ficus tree growing out of the exterior of the top floor of the structure was cut down, and its 60 feet of roots were removed.
420 BOYD ST.: Legendary Developments is in the midst of a $10 million renovation of two long-vacant adjacent buildings at 420 Boyd St., said project developer Dilip Bhavnani. The five-story structure at the corner of Boyd and Omar streets in the Toy District will house five tenants, with each occupying a full floor. The neighboring edifice will hold a microbrewery. The exterior of the buildings has been updated and covered with a large mural. The rooftops of the buildings will be activated and used by the tenants and their guests, Bhavnani said.
CASE HOTEL: Developers Channing Henry, Frank Stork and the Kor Group continue to work on a plan to renovate the Case Hotel. The team hopes to break ground early next year on a full historic rehab of the 1924 building at 1106 S. Broadway, with the aim of turning the 107,000-square-foot structure into a four-star boutique hotel with 151 rooms. Downtown architecture firm Omgivning is handling the designs, and Henry said they hope to open in the first half of 2016. The team acquired the 13-story property across the street from the Herald Examiner Building last year for $13.5 million. Though currently empty, the Case Hotel recently housed facilities for the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles.
CLARK HOTEL: New York-based Chetrit Group has completed most of the transformation of the 1912 Clark Hotel, but a battle with a union makes it uncertain when the renovated 348-room hotel will open. The property at 426 S. Hill St. received its certificate of occupancy over the summer, but appeals to the project’s environmental review process from hospitality workers’ union Unite HERE Local 11 have prevented the hotels from receiving final permits. The dispute will be heard by the Central Area Planning Commission in this month, and while a vote in favor of Chetrit would smooth the process, a ruling for the union could lead to significant delays. As it stands, the hotel needs about six more months of work, according to project representative Elizabeth Peterson. The project currently features a gleaming lobby with marble and chrome accents, and finished rooms have lively design details, such as zebra-print wallpaper, with modern furniture and pop-art touches.
CLEANTECH MANUFACTURING CENTER: Construction of the shell of the largest building in the 370,000-square-foot Cleantech Manufacturing Center is nearing completion, and construction crews are in the process of creating the wall panels for the third and final building, said Trammell Crow Development Manager Philip Tsui. The 20-acre campus at 2455 E. Washington Blvd. is being developed by Trammell Crow and Principal Real Estate Investors. The developers are seeking clean technology and other tenants looking for state-of-the-art industrial and manufacturing space. At ctmc.info.
CLIFTON’S RENOVATION: The long-delayed restoration of the 1935 Clifton’s Cafeteria at 648 S. Broadway has hit more delays. The goal is now to open the four-story dining and nightlife hub by the end of the year, said property owner Andrew Meieran. The project will create multiple eating and drinking establishments inside the building, including a version of the classic cafeteria, an old-school steakhouse, a bakery and a tiki bar. The building, which will reopen as Clifton’s Cabinet of Curiosities, has seen a steady increase in its budget and lengthy delays since Meieran acquired the property in 2010. The construction budget has again increased from an earlier estimate of about $7.5 million, but Meieran declined to specify the new figure. At cliftonscafeteria.com.
DESMOND BUILDING: In July, Anschutz Entertainment Group announced plans to move more than 500 employees from across Los Angeles into the 1917 Desmond building at 11th and Hope streets, allowing them to be close to AEG’s corporate headquarters at L.A. Live. The building will primarily house the company’s AEG Live and AXS Ticketing divisions. The move is slated for April 2015, after building owner Lincoln Property Company finishes renovations on the edifice. Upgrades to the 97-year-old structure include infrastructure improvements, seismic retrofitting and the creation of a sixth floor, dubbed the “Glass Pavilion,” on what is currently the roof of the five-story building. Lincoln also plans to bring a ground-floor cafe to the 82,000-square-foot structure.
EMBASSY HOTEL: As with the Clark Hotel, South Park’s Embassy Hotel, owned by the New York-based Chetrit Group, is facing appeals from the union Unite HERE Local 11 based on claims that the project’s environmental impact review was insufficient. A Central Area Planning Commission hearing this month will either allow Chetrit Group to secure final permits and move toward opening the building, or create an uncertain future. Meanwhile, a renovation of the 11-story building at the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and Ninth Street continues. Many of the guest rooms have been completed and furnished, and the property’s historic Trinity Auditorium is being restored. A pool deck has been built on the roof, and a nearly 10,000-square-foot outdoor patio is being constructed along Ninth Street. It will take about a year to complete renovations, said project representative Elizabeth Peterson.
LA KRETZ INNOVATION CAMPUS: Construction on the La Kretz Innovation Campus is progressing and the project is on track to open in the second quarter of 2015, said Fred Walti, executive director of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. The 30,000-square-foot clean technology project and business incubator at 525 S. Hewitt St. in the Arts District will serve as a home for young companies, and will include conference facilities, research and development labs and other tools. It will vastly increase the number of entrepreneurs the current building houses and helps. The project will include a small park with a water feature, Wi-Fi, grass and tables. The DWP paid $11.1 million for the site. The department’s Energy Efficiency Group is also expected to house its testing and demonstration labs on site. At laincubator.com.
RENAISSANCE HOTEL: A proposed 450-room hotel at the northeast corner of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street continues to be in a holding pattern. Portland-based developer Williams & Dame Development, which recently opened the Marriott Tower in South Park, continues to work with the investment group Ren L.A. Limited Partnership in the effort to determine the financial feasibility of the project. The proposed Renaissance Hotel would also provide 28,000 square feet of meeting space. Williams & Dame acquired the 60,000-square-foot parcel near L.A. Live from Anschutz Entertainment Group. Although the project had an initial budget of $200 million, no current price tag or timeline has been determined.
THE BLOC: Last month, The Bloc owner The Ratkovich Company and Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse announced that a nine-screen movie theater will open in The Bloc when the transformation of the shopping, office and hotel complex is complete late next year. The theater, with a total of 800 seats, will be in the southwest corner of The Bloc, next to the third floor of the Macy’s department store. Developer Wayne Ratkovich purchased the 41-year-old, former Macy’s Plaza last summer and is in the midst of a $180 million upgrade of the complex bounded by Seventh, Eighth, Hope and Flower streets. Plans call for creating an open-air space on the street level, with the towering, unfriendly brick walls being replaced by windows and dining terraces. There will be a new suite of shops and restaurants, and the project’s Sheraton hotel is undergoing a $40 million renovation. At theblocdowntown.com.
OPENED IN THE PAST FOUR MONTHS
AVA LITTLE TOKYO: Move-ins began Sept. 6 for the first phase of Avalon Bay Communities’ Little Tokyo project. The six-story complex, at 236 S. Los Angeles St., offers studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 642-1,309 square feet. According to the website, the smallest studio starts at $2,065 per month. One-bedrooms run $2,125 and two-bedrooms go from $2,915. Phase one will bring 104 apartments above 13,500 square feet of street-level retail. The second phase, with 176 apartments and townhouses, will open in November. Ava Little Tokyo includes a pool, rooftop deck, landscaped courtyards, fitness accommodations and an amenity the website calls a “chill lounge.” At avalittletokyo.com.
BROADWAY ARTS TOWER: A 1928 structure at 529 S. Broadway has been transformed into a creative office hub. It opened in August following a two-year renovation led by a coalition of investors. The five-story building, the former Schulte United Department Store, has a total of 38,000 square feet. Although the ground floor has long housed retail vendors, the four upper levels have remained empty for more than four decades, according to project representative Joelle McTigue. The largest new tenant is Blankspaces, which provides 7,500 square feet of co-working tech space on the top floor. The renovation preserved much of the interior’s brick, marble and crown moldings, added restrooms on each floor, and transformed a central elevator shaft into a glass well to bring in natural light. Rents are $2.75 a square foot. At 529artstower.com.
EIGHTH AND HOPE APARTMENTS: A $120 million apartment complex from Atlanta-based developer Wood Partners opened in August. The 22-story structure at 801 S. Hope St. features 290 luxury apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms. Rents begin at about $2,900 for a one-bedroom unit and rise to about $7,000 for a three-bedroom residence (penthouses are approximately $9,500). Every unit has a balcony, and amenities include a sixth-floor pool deck, a roof deck, two club rooms, a conference room, a theater and a car wash. The building also has something dubbed “The Ground Floor Project,” which is an exhibition space and program for local music, theater, art, crafts and more. Wood Partners acquired the tower’s site in 2008, but put plans on pause as the recession hit. At 8thandhope.com.
MARRIOTT HOTELS: A grand opening was held July 1 for a 23-story, 393-room South Park project with two Marriott brand hotels in a single building. The $172 million effort from Portland-based Williams & Dame Development (which previously developed a trio of South Park condominium buildings) and Seattle’s American Life Inc. came in on time and on budget. The building at 901 W. Olympic Blvd. has a single lobby that is shared by the two hotels. The project holds 174 Courtyard by Marriott rooms that range from about 350-480 square feet and are marketed at business travelers on a relative budget. There are also 219 Residence Inn rooms, which are larger and come with full kitchens, and are directed at extended-stay travelers in town for conventions and families on vacation. The project, designed by Portland-based GBD Architects, has an exterior with dozens of LED strips and a large LED board at Olympic Boulevard and Francisco Street.
SPARKLE FACTORY: A Tarina Tarantino jewelry and accessories store is expected to open on the second floor of the building at 908 S. Broadway, also known as the Sparkle Factory, in early fall, said Alfonso Campos, Tarantino’s business partner and husband. The couple, who own the 1914 building across from the Ace Hotel, have secured two leases, including Oak, an upscale New York boutique, which opened a street-front space in March. There are seven floors in the 26,800-square-foot edifice.
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2014