DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - When the year 2000 hit, development in Downtown Los Angeles took on an interesting, measured tone. Individual neighborhoods would get hot, as developers — mostly local in the first wave — saw opportunities in compact areas. The Historic Core was the first hub, and a number of old office buildings there were turned into housing, thanks to the passage of the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. That was followed by projects in the Financial District and a few ground-up housing structures in South Park.
In 2015, development is happening in nearly every Downtown district. Projects continue to rise in the Historic Core, the Financial District and South Park, though they tend to be taller and much more expensive than in the past. At the same time, projects are steaming forward in the Arts District, City West, Chinatown and other communities. Suddenly, Downtown as a whole is hot.
Just as the districts are varied, so are the types of projects that are happening. A trio of parks are underway, in the Arts District, Chinatown and the Civic Center, and there is a burst of hotel work, whether new four- and five-star developments or upgrades of older landmarks such as the Millennium Biltmore. There are three Chinese-owned mixed-use mega-projects in South Park, and civic efforts such as a new Sixth Street Viaduct. Of course, housing remains the anchor, and thousands of units are in construction or the planning pipeline.
In the following pages, Los Angeles Downtown News provides the latest updates on 99 Downtown projects.
These projects were either publicly announced, were revived or gained prominence in the past four months.
950 S. BROADWAY: Developer G.H. Palmer Associates, known in Downtown for its huge apartment complexes in an Italian/Mediterranean design, is now taking on its first adaptive reuse project, a renovation of a small 1913 edifice at 950 S. Broadway. The seven-story structure would be turned into 30 apartments, and include a rooftop deck and about 7,500 square feet of retail space on the street and basement levels. The design from Killefer Flammang Architects would restore the original facade’s aesthetic, namely by re-creating a decorative cornice along the roofline and adding some balconies. White plaster would replace the current gray concrete surfacing on the exterior. The 102-year-old building sits next to Palmer’s under-construction Broadway Palace, which will create nearly 700 apartments in new seven- and 10-story structures at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway. Company head Geoff Palmer said he expects to finish 950 S. Broadway by next May. He declined to reveal a budget.
ALEXAN SOUTH BROADWAY: Last month, Dallas-based Trammell Crow Residential revealed plans to build a 26-story apartment structure at Ninth and Hill streets. The Alexan South Broadway would include 305 luxury apartments with 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Entitlements are currently being sought, and the developer expects to break ground next spring and complete the building in 2018, according to John Readey, a development associate with Trammell Crow’s Los Angeles office. Architecture firm RTKL is handling the designs, and renderings show a modern glass tower with balconies atop a 333-space parking podium. Plans also call for nearly 350 bicycle parking spots. Amenities would include a 12,300-square-foot outdoor deck on the sixth floor with a pool, an indoor gym, a yoga studio and a lounge with a full-size kitchen. The top floor would be a lounge area with conference rooms. No budget has been revealed.
BUNKER HILL TOWERS RENOVATION: Essex Property Trust, which owns numerous Downtown apartment complexes, is in the midst of a $76 million renovation of the Bunker Hill Towers. All 456 rental units in the 1969 complex will be upgraded; some will be improved when tenants leave, and in other cases tenants will temporarily move into vacant apartments so work can occur. The upgrades in the pair of 19-story buildings will include new HVAC (heating/ventilating/air conditioning) systems and new plumbing lines so that each apartment can have its own washer and dryer. All the windows will be replaced with more energy-efficient panes, and Essex hopes to add full-size balconies on corner units and smaller balconies with sliding glass doors on center apartments. The project also includes the creation of an amenity center along Third Street, between Flower and Figueroa streets, on a current parking lot. The 11,000-square-foot, two-story building would have street-level retail, a large gym on the second floor and a rooftop pool and sundeck. All the work is expected to finish by late 2017.
CONVENTION CENTER RENOVATION: In June, a city panel picked the team of HMC Architects and Populous to handle the renovation of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The colorful, edgy design would create a ballroom on the top of the venue and build a new structure that bridges over Pico Boulevard, creating the contiguous space desired by meeting planners that is now lacking in the two separated structures. The Pico building would have multiple floors of meeting spaces that line an open-air courtyard. The approximately $350 million renovation would also tweak the West Hall to create a large “outdoor ballroom” space, with a grand staircase drawing people in from Gilbert Lindsay Plaza just south of Staples Center. The decision is awaiting approval from the City Council, and if that is secured, the city Bureau of Engineering would begin negotiating a contract with Populous/HMC. In the meantime, venue operator Anschutz Entertainment Group is implementing upgrades to the Convention Center’s lighting, furnishings, bathrooms and concession areas. The city has approved $10 million in additional funds for capital improvements in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
E. ON GRAND: Hollywood-based 4D Development broke ground on a seven-story apartment building dubbed E. On Grand, at 1249 S. Grand Ave., in January. The $30 million, 115-unit project will have studios and one- and two-bedroom units averaging about 600 square feet, with rents of approximately $3.50 per square foot. Amenities will include a pool, sun deck, recreation room and gym. The ground floor will hold about 5,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and the building will contain 120 parking spaces. Designs come from AFCO Design Inc., and renderings show an articulated facade with glass balconies on every unit and colored accent panels. The project is expected to be complete in October 2016. At 4ddevelopment.us.
MILLENNIUM BILTMORE RENOVATION: The Millennium Biltmore Hotel is in the midst of a renovation that includes an overhaul of all 683 guest rooms. The refurbishment began this spring and will occur in phases to allow for minimal disruption to guests, said Wanda Chan, general manager of the establishment at 506 S. Grand Ave. The renovation is in the early stage, with removal of furniture and carpeting on some levels. The next step is to add new paint, carpeting and other items to the lower floors, Chan said. She declined to provide a project budget. Work is expected to be complete by early 2017.
THE HILL: Plans have been announced by a developer listed as 940 Hill LLC for a 20-story condominium tower at 940 S. Hill St. The 420,000-square-foot project would have 232 units, with 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, according to documents filed with the Department of City Planning. The building, which would replace a one-story commercial property on the site, would have 355 parking spaces in a four-story podium as well as two underground parking levels. The tower would offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences. Renderings show a deck on the roof of the parking podium that would include a swimming pool, fitness center and a tenant lounge. There would also be a rooftop area with a spa, garden and lounge. DGB is the architect. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
801 S. OLIVE ST.: The foundation has been poured and the five-story parking podium is rising at 801 S. Olive St., where San Francisco-based Carmel Partners is building a 33-story residential tower. The project is slated to wrap construction in the third quarter of 2017, according to Carmel Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. The tower at Eighth and Olive streets will have 363 units, with studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and eight penthouses. Amenities will include a fitness center, a rooftop pool and lounge, and a larger pool and recreation area on a fifth-floor deck. There will also be 10,000 square feet of street-facing retail. Most of the podium would be wrapped in translucent panels, allowing the structure to glow softly at night.
820 S. OLIVE ST.: Vancouver, Canada-based developer Onni Group has obtained entitlements and is awaiting a building permit for a 50-story residential tower at 820 S. Olive St. The project would create 589 residential units on the parcel on the border of South Park and the Financial District. There would also be 600 parking spaces. An adjacent 6,584-square-foot single room occupancy hotel will remain on land owned by the developer. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
920 S. HILL ST. : Veteran Downtown developer Barry Shy is still in the environmental review process for a proposed 32-story building at 920 S. Hill St., according to project representative Kate Bartolo. Although no budget has been revealed, Bartolo said construction is expected to begin in 12-16 months. The concrete, glass and stone edifice, to rise on a parking lot behind the Ace Hotel, would create 239 condominiums. There would also be five ground-floor commercial spaces totaling 5,405 square feet. David Takacs Architecture is handling the designs.
950 E. THIRD ST.: Site clearing has been completed at 950 E. Third St., and construction on a 472-apartment project is expected to begin this month, said Dilip Bhavnani, a principal at Legendary Developments. The company has partnered with a division of Brookfield on the Arts District effort that will create a 400,000-square-foot complex with 22,000 square feet of retail space and 774 parking spaces. The $170 million project will fill the six-acre site adjacent to the Southern California Institute of Architecture and is expected to take approximately 28 months, Bhavnani said. A public path through the project site would connect Third Street to Merrick Street and Traction Avenue.
1001 S. OLIVE ST.: Lennar Multifamily is in the framing stage on a 201-apartment complex at the southwest corner of Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street, said vice president of development Scott Rynders. The Miami-based developer expects to complete the seven-story building by the summer of 2016, he added. The project will include 12 two-story townhomes, a third-floor pool deck, a dog run and a large fitness center. There will also be 228 parking stalls, as well as 4,100 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space. A budget has not been revealed.
1200 S. FLOWER ST.: Developer Onni Group has obtained entitlements and is awaiting a building permit for a pair of residential high-rises at 1200 S. Flower St. The Vancouver, Canada-based developer intends to erect 31- and 40-story buildings that would create a total of 730 housing units; the project would include 843 parking spaces. Amenities would include a swimming pool and a dog run. The complex would also feature a landscaped podium deck. A five-story, 72,000-square-foot office building on part of the South Park property would remain. However, a two-floor warehouse would be demolished. No budget or timeline have been disclosed.
1400 S. FIGUEROA ST.: Developer DHG Family Trust expects to break ground on a seven-story residential building at 1400 S. Figueroa St. by Oct. 1, said Don Getman, a principal at GMP Architects-LA, which is designing the project. The South Park structure will include 106 residential units and 4,750 square feet of street-facing retail space. Amenities would include a fitness center and pool deck, and there would be two levels of underground parking. Construction on the $25 million project is expected to take about 20 months, with an opening in mid-2017, said Getman.
AMP LOFTS: A groundbreaking is expected in the middle of 2016 for 320 live/work apartments at Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue, said project representative Dana Sayles. The 311,000-square-foot Arts District development from Bolour Associates and Crescenta Capital would include 20,000 square feet of retail space and 390 parking spots. Designed by the Shimoda Design Group, the $130 million complex would be built in a “J” formation, with a series of two-, three- and seven-story structures. The property is the former home of the American Moving Parts auto factory. At ampartsdistrict.com.
ARTHOUSE LOFTS: The 53 live-work units in the Arts District complex Arthouse will be available for move-ins next month, and several residential leases have already been signed, according to developer Philip Rahimzadeh of Core Development Group. The project is in two brick buildings at 1200 S. Santa Fe Ave. Rahimzadeh acquired the three-story and four-story 1909 buildings last October for $18.1 million. The property covers 94,000 square feet and includes 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. There are 12- to 14-foot ceilings, brick walls, oak floors on upper levels, stainless steel appliances, gated parking and a gym. At arthouselofts.com.
BEACON TOWER: Equity Residential, which owns a number of mid-rise apartment buildings in Downtown, has submitted plans to build a 33-story tower at the northeast corner of Fourth and Hill streets. It is waiting for the Department of City Planning to process the plans, according to Equity Vice President of Development Dustin Smith, and he said the company anticipates breaking ground in spring 2016. The project would rise on what is currently a surface parking lot, and would feature 428 apartments (studios and one- and two-bedroom units) and 2,900 square feet of ground-floor retail. The design from the firm TCA features a glass-heavy facade with balconies and a rooftop “beacon” for decorative lighting. The project would have a subsidized housing component, with 22 very-low-income units and 86 workforce residences. Construction would take two years.
BROADWAY AND OLYMPIC CONDOS: Prolific Downtown developer Barry Shy hopes to break ground on a 15-story condominium complex at 955 S. Broadway in 12-16 months, according to project representative Kate Bartolo. The proposed 184,705-square-foot structure near the Ace Hotel remains in the environmental review stage. Plans call for the 163 housing units to run from 665-1,465 square feet. There would also be eight commercial spaces, an outdoor area on the second floor and a rooftop deck with a pool, barbecue and garden. Shy has not disclosed the budget.
BROADWAY PALACE: Developer G.H. Palmer Associates is in construction on a two-building project at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway. Broadway Palace includes a 10-story, 439-apartment building rising on a former surface parking lot and a six-story, 247-unit structure on an adjacent lot. Broadway Palace will have brick facades that complement the historic look and feel of Broadway. The project will be complete in early 2017, according to company head Geoff Palmer. He declined to reveal a budget for the development, which is a partnership between Palmer and parking lot company L&R Group. At ghpalmer.com.
CIRCA: The development at 1200 S. Figueroa St., now dubbed Circa, broke ground in July. Plans call for a pair of 36-story high-rises with a combined 648 luxury condominiums sitting on top of a seven-story retail podium with 48,000 square feet of space for shops and 1,770 parking spaces. Additional features at the approximately $500 million development include a two-acre outdoor amenity deck and a 15,000-square-foot ribbon of LED signage along Figueroa. Circa is backed by a development group composed of Hankey Investment Company, Jamison Services (headed by prominent landowner Dr. David Lee), Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital. The design of the curving towers comes from Harley Ellis Devereaux. Circa is slated for completion in late 2017.
DA VINCI: Developer G.H. Palmer Associates has started construction on the rebuild of the second edifice of the Da Vinci at 909 W. Temple St. The first phase opened in the spring, but the second structure in the two-building, 526-apartment complex burned down last December, when its wood frame was nearly complete; a suspect has been arrested and charged with arson. Company head Geoff Palmer said there are no changes from the original plan in the rebuild, which features Palmer’s signature Italian/Mediterranean-inspired architecture. The second building, south of Temple Street, is expected to be complete by May 2016, according to Palmer. At ghpalmer.com.
EIGHTH AND GRAND: Though San Francisco-based developer Carmel Partners envisioned its seven-story, 700-unit apartment complex opening in September, the completion date has been pushed a month to October, according to a company representative. The apartments at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue in the Financial District will have floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, and amenities include a top floor lounge with a bar and dining area, two pools, landscaped terraces with outdoor eating areas, and a theater-style screening room. It will also have a four-level underground parking structure. The ground-floor anchor tenant will be a Whole Foods, which is filling 42,000 square feet of space and is slated for a Nov. 4 opening. The project has another 8,000 square feet of retail space, though tenants have not been announced. While all the residences will be completed at the same time, Carmel is planning to lease around 300 units in the first phase after opening. At eighthandgrand.com.
EIGHTH AND SPRING: Vancouver, Wash.-based Holland Partner Group’s plans for a 24-story building with 320 apartments at Eighth and Spring streets remains under City Planning review, said Tom Warren, head of the company’s Southern California developments. Holland Partner acquired the parking lot at 737 S. Spring St. for $12.5 million. The developer is already in construction on two projects (Sixth and Bixel and Vibiana Lofts) and has submitted plans for a South Park high-rise at Ninth and Figueroa streets. The company hopes to break ground on the Eighth and Spring tower by the end of the year, Warren said.
ETCO HOMES LITTLE TOKYO: Beverly Hills-based developer Etco Homes plans to break ground in the fall on an eight-story residential complex at 118 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka St. in Little Tokyo. BGA Inc. is designing the 77-unit building. Etco would offer one- and two-bedroom lofts, with floor plans up to 1,250 square feet, as well as some ground-floor retail space. The project would include a rooftop gym, pool and spa area. No budget has been revealed. At etcohomes.com.
FOREMAN AND CLARK BUILDING: A renovation of the 1929 Foreman and Clark Building has not yet begun, as the project remains in the entitlement process, said Victoria Peterson of project representative the Elizabeth Peterson Group. Kyung Cho owns the 13-story edifice at 701 S. Hill St. and plans to transform it into a housing complex with 165 residences. Two restaurants and a bar/lounge would occupy the ground-floor space, replacing the current office tenants and street-level jewelry retailers, according to documents filed with the City Planning department. Los Angeles-based architecture firm EWAI is handling designs. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
FOREST CITY/SOUTH PARK: In July, developer Forest City commenced framing work on a pair of seven-story buildings in South Park. The structure at 1100 S. Hill St. will feature 177 studio to two-bedroom units above 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and there will be a pedestrian paseo connecting the edifice to the Herald Examiner Building. The second building, at 1200 S. Broadway, will contain 214 studio to two-bedroom units, also above 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail. The $135 million project will feature 500 parking stalls and 450 bicycle parking spaces. The buildings are expected to open in summer 2017.
FOURTH AND BROADWAY: Developer Izek Shomof said construction on a residential tower at Fourth Street and Broadway is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016. The 34-story edifice would feature 450 residential units and 450 parking spaces, along with 7,000 square feet of retail space. Downtown-based architect HansonLA is designing the 450,000-square-foot project. Units would likely come online as apartments, though they will be built to condominium standards. Renderings show a mid-rise portion of the building with a curved segment fronting the southeast corner of Fourth and Broadway, with a rectangular, high-rise tower on top. No budget has been revealed.
GAREY BUILDING: Developer Lowe Enterprises continues construction on the Garey Building, with interior, façade and site work now taking place at the 320-unit apartment complex, said Tom Wulf, senior vice president of Lowe. The developer 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 Arts District property was long the headquarters for Megatoys, a toy business run by the Woo family. The five-story buildings between First and Second streets flanking Garey Street continue to be on pace to open in January, Wulf said, and pre-leasing will commence in November. The $60 million development, with designs by Togawa Smith Martin Architects, includes 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor dining along a pedestrian-only street connecting First and Second streets. 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. The development is being constructed to LEED certification standards and will include 530 parking spaces for both retail and residential tenants. At gareybldg.com.
G12: Financing for developer Sonny Astani’s 640-unit G12 has been secured by private equity firm Wolff Company. Project representative Brenda Rodriguez said the first phase of G12, a 347-unit residential building at 12th Street and Grand Avenue, is in construction and is expected to be complete by late 2016. Plans call for starting construction on the second phase, with 293 units, next year. The entire complex stretches south to Pico Boulevard and west to Olive Street, and there will be 42,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the three-acre site. No budget has been disclosed. At astanienterprises.com.
HANOVER GRAND AVENUE: Houston-based Hanover Company is completing the interiors of a seven-story, 274-unit complex at Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. The project features studio to two-bedroom apartments, many with glass balconies. Residents will have access to rooftop decks and a pool, and there will be 12,000 square feet of street-level retail space. The project is expected to be finished by early 2016, according to Hanover development partner Ryan Hamilton. Architecture firm TCA is handling the design. It is one of three Hanover projects in South Park; the first one opened earlier this year. At hanovergrandavenue.com.
HANOVER OLYMPIC: Exterior construction is nearly complete at Houston-based developer Hanover Company’s seven-story project at Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street, according to Hanover development partner Ryan Hamilton. He said the 263-apartment project will be complete in the first quarter of 2016. The South Park building will include a rooftop deck, a gym and interior entertainment spaces, and the residences will have glass balconies overlooking the street. The design from architecture firm TCA features an articulated facade and 14,500 square feet of street-level retail space. The project sits next to the company’s Hanover South Park, which opened in January. A third Hanover complex, at Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard, is also under construction.
HOLLAND PARTNER SOUTH PARK: Holland Partner Group earlier this year revealed plans to build a 28-story, 341-apartment tower at the southeast corner of Ninth and Figueroa streets in South Park. The project is still under review by the City Planning Department, according to Tom Warren, head of Holland Partner’s Southern California division. The Vancouver, Wash.-based company hopes to break ground in October, he added, with construction taking roughly two and a half years. Designs by Preston Partnership depict a glass tower with box-shaped clusters of balconies. Nearly 11,700 square feet of retail space would front the sidewalk along Figueroa and on Ninth. The tower was originally envisioned as the third part of developer Sonny Astani’s Concerto project, but Holland acquired the property.
MACFARLANE PARTNERS PROJECT: Developer MacFarlane Partners plans to create more than 650 residential units in two buildings that would rise on a plot bounded by Olive, Fifth and Hill streets. The project, which would include a seven-story building and a 24-story high-rise, is in the site plan review phase. The goal is to break ground on the shorter building next spring, said Jeff Berris, director of development at MacFarlane Partners. The first building on the parcel north of Pershing Square would have 312 apartments, while the taller structure would hold 348 residential units. Plans call for a roof deck with a pool, a barbeque area and other amenities. Construction on the shorter building is expected to take about two years. No budget has been revealed.
MACK URBAN SOUTH PARK: Developer Mack Urban’s $750 million South Park project with partner AECOM Capital is deep in construction. Excavation has been completed for the first phase, and crews are now pouring the footings and garage for the 362-unit complex, according to project representative Jack Skelley. The building, which is expected to be complete in early 2017, will include 4,000 square feet of retail space. The second phase, a 38-story tower at Grand Avenue and 12th Street, has finished the entitlement process and permits are being secured; the goal is to break ground by the end of this year. The structure would have 536 apartments and 13,000 square feet of retail space. The final phase, a 12-story apartment building with 134 units at Olive and 12th Streets, has received city approvals; Skelley said the plan is to break ground after the taller tower is underway in 2016. Architecture firms AC Martin and Togawa Smith Martin are handling the designs.
MARIONETTE LOFTS: Financing is in place for developer and landowner Eli Melech’s $20 million apartment structure at the current site of the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in City West. Although no date for a groundbreaking of the Marionette Lofts has been set, plans call for erecting a five-story building with 102 one- to three-bedroom apartments arching over the Historical-Cultural Monument at 1345 W. First St. The theater itself would be preserved and would serve as the complex’s lobby and also maintain a small performance space and a display in honor of the late Baker. Melech said approvals from the city Office of Historic Resources have been granted, and he is awaiting a green light from the Department of City Planning. The theater continues to stage puppet shows.
ONYX: Developer Jade Enterprises broke ground on the South Park housing complex Onyx in April. The two-building project will bring 410 apartments and roughly 30,000 square feet of commercial space to Pico Boulevard at Flower and Hope streets near Metro’s Blue Line Pico Station. The seven-story buildings are being designed by Downtown-based TCA Architects and will offer 462 underground parking spaces. An Onyx spokesman said the project is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2017. No budget has been revealed.
SARES-REGIS LITTLE TOKYO: Construction is underway and developer Sares-Regis is on schedule with its seven-story development at 232 E. Second St. in Little Tokyo, said company spokeswoman Zoe Solsby. Framing has been completed and external sheathing has begun, with the $84 million development expected to be complete in June 2016, Solsby said. The complex will create 240 rental units with 51 studios, 116 one-bedroom and 73 two-bedroom apartments; residences will range from 715-1,750 square feet. Sares-Regis is negotiating with potential tenants, including restaurants, for 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, Solsby said. There will be three levels of underground parking and two floors above ground, providing a total of 472 parking spaces. At sares-regis.com.
SB OMEGA: Developer Barry Shy’s proposed 38-story residential high-rise remains in the environmental review stage, said project representative Kate Bartolo. The 452-unit condominium tower at 601 S. Main St. would replace a current parking lot and bring an additional 25,000 square feet of retail space to Sixth and Main streets. The Historic Core project would include a seven-story parking podium, with racks set aside for 268 bicycles. Bartolo said construction is expected to begin in 12-18 months. No budget has been revealed.
SIXTH AND BIXEL: Construction of the 606-apartment, new-construction portion of Holland Partner Group’s $200 million City West project continues, with crews wrapping up the concrete pouring for the underground parking structure and beginning above-grade work. The site will hold two seven-story structures, which Tom Warren, head of the company’s Southern California division, expects to be complete by mid-2018 (the first units would be available in early 2017). The project includes the conversion of an old medical office building at Sixth Street and Lucas Avenue; that is expected to open in November. The development will have 25,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, much of it fronting Sixth Street. The designer is Togawa Smith Martin. Residences will be studio to three-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $1,500 to slightly under $4,000. Amenities will include rooftop decks, a large fitness center and a pool, along with a public plaza and 300 trees.
SPRING STREET APARTMENTS: Australian developer Joseph Hellen is finalizing plans for a 40-story residential tower at 525 S. Spring St. It would have about 360 one- to three-bedroom residences, built to condominium specs but likely marketed as apartments, according to project architect Simon Ha of Steinberg Architects. The project would rise on a surface parking lot between the Alexandria Hotel and the Spring Arcade Building. Renderings from Steinberg, in collaboration with TSK Architects, show a white structure with undulating horizontal floor lines that create wavy balconies on upper levels. The plan also calls for the restoration of the 1910 Arcade, the 1931 Roxie and the 1910 Cameo theaters, small venues that sit behind the proposed tower on Broadway. Hellen had once looked to tear the theaters down, but now wants to revive them as entertainment spaces or potentially convert them for retail use.
SUNCAL SIXTH AND ALAMEDA: Earlier this year, Irvine-based developer Suncal, in a partnership with Michael Dell’s investment firm MSD Capital, spent $130 million to buy 15 acres of land in the Arts District. The company is now working on preliminary designs for the site’s master plan, figuring out how many buildings to erect and what uses they’ll serve, according to Dan Rosenfeld, a land-use consultant for the group. Suncal will debut its initial plan for public comment before the end of the year, Rosenfeld added. He noted that the project could include residential, retail and creative office components.
TEN50: San Francisco-based developer Trumark Urban has completed the below-grade parking garage and first floor of a 25-story tower at 1050 S. Grand Ave. The $100 million project, which had a groundbreaking ceremony in May, will contain 151 luxury condominiums, most with one or two bedrooms; there will also be several one- and two-floor penthouses. Amenities will include a fifth-floor pool deck with cabanas, a fitness center, entertainment areas and small pockets of green space. The project is slated for completion in October 2016. Ten50 also includes 5,672 square feet of retail space, with storefronts along Grand Avenue and 11th Street. The design by Downtown-based HansonLA includes Rubik’s Cube-like glass features along one corner, which will soften toward the top of the building.
TITLE INSURANCE BUILDING: Construction continues at the Historic Core’s 1928 Title Insurance Building. Interior demolition and seismic upgrades began this year, and renovations and infrastructure upgrades will take place on the structure at 433 S. Spring St. through late 2016 or early 2017, according to developer Capital Foresight. Plans call for transforming the structure into 215 residential units with 60,000 square feet of ground- and second-floor retail space.
TOPAZ: Construction continues on the 159-unit apartment complex Topaz, located just north of Sixth and Main streets. Developer Jade Enterprises broke ground on the six-story Historic Core project in September 2014 and expects to open the building in the third quarter of 2016, according to a company spokesman. The project at 550 S. Main St. will offer studio and one- to three-bedroom units and will include 23,000 square feet of retail space. No budget has been revealed.
VALENCIA: Framing is nearly complete at developer Sonny Astani’s $60 million Valencia project. The six-story edifice at 1501 Wilshire Blvd. in City West will have 218 apartments; most units will feature balconies. Project representative Brenda Rodriguez said the goal is to finish construction in December. Amenities will include courtyards and a fitness center, and there will be 4,400 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the designs. At astanienterprises.com.
VIBIANA LOFTS: Developer Holland Partner Group has completed excavation for a 237-apartment building just south of the former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, and is now pouring concrete for its underground parking, according to Tom Warren, head of the company’s Southern California division. Plans call for five stories of wood construction over a concrete podium, with approximately 247 above- and below-ground parking spaces. The building will appear to be eight stories when viewed from Los Angeles Street, and seven floors when eyed from Main. Togawa Smith Martin is designing the project, which will include about 4,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space. The $90 million project is expected to be complete in early 2017.
BLOSSOM PLAZA: Developer Forest City’s five-story, $100 million project at 900 N. Broadway has topped out (vertical construction has been completed). Next comes the installation of windows and the exterior façade along Broadway and College Street; company Vice President Frank Frallicciardi said the exterior look is inspired by Chinese landscape paintings. Frallicciardi said the project is on track to finish in late spring of 2016. Blossom Plaza will feature 237 studio to three-bedroom apartments, 53 of which will be set aside for low-income tenants. There will also be 19,000 square feet of retail space and a 17,000-square-foot public plaza and walkway that connects the nearby Metro Gold Line station to Broadway. Frallicciardi said the paseo will be anchored by a traditional Chinese Flame Tree, creating a visual and physical connection between the Gold Line stop and Chinatown.
BROADWAY TRADE CENTER: The overhaul of the behemoth Broadway Trade Center is well underway, with plans to give the 1906 facility at Eighth Street and Broadway a variety of new bar, restaurant and retail options, as well as creative office space, a 153-room hotel, a private club, a rooftop park with a pool and more. New York-based Waterbridge Capital bought the 1.1-million-square-foot complex last year. Its local subsidiary, Broadbridge, is overseeing the project, which will feature a dining/retail concept based on New York’s Chelsea Market. Dubbed Earth Market, the first two floors will hold 20 small food vendors, four bars and four full-size restaurants, along with a variety of gourmet, natural products from around the world, according to a Broadbridge representative. Plans call for the office space to be on floors three and four. The current eight-story building will have 15 levels when some mezzanines are added. There will also be a mechanized parking facility with lifts that can hold up to 600 cars. CBRE is handling the office leasing and RKF is doing the retail leasing. No budget has been revealed. The project is expected to open within 30 months.
CITY MARKET: The first tenants at the City Market South project have been announced. They include San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant the Slanted Door, Italian restaurant Rossoblù, from chef Steve Samson of the Century City eatery Sotto, and a bar from Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni, owners of the Los Feliz bar Harvard & Stone. They are all expected to open in early 2016. City Market South is the initial phase of the Fashion District mega-project City Market. The overall $1 billion effort would transform the 1909 complex on San Pedro and San Julian between 11th and 12th streets into creative office space and dining establishments. It would ultimately create 945 housing units, 210 hotel rooms, 225,000 square feet of retail, 295,000 square feet of office space and 3,670 parking spaces. Once complete, City Market would offer 1.9 million square feet of space spread across 16 structures. The project is to be built over a 30-year period. At citymarketla2.com.
HERALD EXAMINER RENOVATION: The Hearst Corp., the owner of the Herald Examiner Building, this month revealed that it has partnered with New York-based Georgetown Company to redevelop the 1914 structure and turn it into a 100,000-square-foot creative office complex with retail and restaurant space. Construction is expected to begin in six to nine months and finish in late 2017, with a budget of about $40 million, according to Michael Fischer, vice president of the Georgetown Company. The building originally designed by Julia Morgan was formerly the headquarters of William Randolph Hearst’s Los Angeles newspaper, but has been mostly empty since the paper closed in 1989 (it has primarily been used for film shoots since then).
LA PLAZA CULTURA VILLAGE: Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain and developer
Trammell Crow are continuing work on the County of Los Angeles’ La Plaza Cultura Village. Though the team initially hoped to break ground in the third quarter of this year, the schedule has been pushed back a couple months, according to Jim Andersen, senior vice president at Trammell Crow. The massive mixed-use development would rise on a 3.7-acre site near Olvera Street and create 345 residential units in five- and eight-story buildings, with 20% of the apartments set aside for low-income tenants. The 425,000-square-foot project would also have up to 55,000 square feet of restaurants, cafes and shops, along with nearly 800 parking spaces in subterranean and above-grade structures. La Plaza Cultura Village is fully entitled and the county Board of Supervisors certified its final Environmental Impact Report last year. The development, which would rise on two parking lots on either side of Broadway, would connect El Pueblo to Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, a small park and monument at 430 N. Hill St. At laplazacultura.wordpress.com.
LUXE HOTEL REPLACEMENT: Chinese developer Shenzhen Hazens announced last month that a deal has been struck to bring a W Hotel to its $700 million South Park mega-project. The five-star, 250-room hotel will be one of two 30-story buildings in the first phase of the development along 11th Street at Figueroa and Flower streets. The other building will hold condominiums, and the two structures would be connected by an eight-story podium with open-air amenities on top. Shenzen Hazens is still seeking entitlements for the project. The second phase would bring a 42-story tower to Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard, where the Luxe City Center hotel now stands. The project would create a total of 650 condominiums. There would also be 80,000 square feet of retail space, most of it fronting Figueroa Street. Shenzen Hazens hopes to break ground in 2017, with completion of the hotel in 2019 and the entire first phase (including retail space) by 2020. Construction of the second phase would begin immediately after that.
MEDALLION 2.0: Developer Saeed Farkhondehpour did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Previously, he had said he hopes to begin construction on phase two of his Medallion project in the first quarter of 2016. The development would create 500 apartments in three buildings at Third and Main streets, and construction would take about 30 months. The project would include a new collection of restaurants and a farmers market. No budget has been revealed.
METROPOLIS: Construction on the first and second phases of the Metropolis mega-project, just north of L.A. Live, is underway. The initial phase, comprising an 18-story, 350-room Hotel Indigo and a 38-story condominium tower, is expected to be complete by the end of 2016. The second phase, which features 40- and 56-story condominium towers, broke ground in December and is scheduled for completion in 2018. The foundation for the second phase has been finished and the towers will begin rising in the fall, according to a representative of developer Greenland Group. Designs from architecture firm Gensler show shining glass structures with intricately detailed steel framework. Amenities in the buildings adjacent to the 110 Freeway will include fitness centers, outdoor pools and small parks on top of several decks. The towers will sit on parking podiums that have two floors with more than 70,000 square feet of retail space off the street level along Francisco Street. Metropolis, which is bounded by the 110 Freeway and Eighth, Ninth and Francisco streets, is budgeted at more than $1 billion. At metropolislosangeles.com.
OCEANWIDE PLAZA: Beijing-based developer Oceanwide broke ground on the massive three-tower Oceanwide Plaza in March, and construction of the project’s foundation continues. The $1 billion project comprises one 49-story tower and two 40-story buildings, all sitting on top of a 100-foot-tall podium. Plans call for the towers to hold a combined 504 condominiums and 183 hotel rooms. Most of the property’s amenities, including a pool and a park, will sit on a deck on top of the podium overlooking Figueroa Street. A 30,000-square-foot ribbon of LED signage will wind around the podium and illuminate the street below. Oceanwide Plaza will also hold 1,444 parking stalls and an open-air galleria with more than 166,000 square feet of retail space. The roughly $1 billion development will be built in a single phase, with completion expected by 2018.
THE GRAND: Developer Related Cos. has reached an agreement with the gym Equinox to locate a 300-room hotel in The Grand. Equinox, which Related has a financial stake in, would replace an SLS Hotel — Related broke off a partnership with SLS’ parent company, SBE Entertainment, in January. It would be the second Equinox-branded hotel, following one opening in New York. Designed by Frank Gehry, The Grand represents the next phase of the Grand Avenue Project, which includes the already completed Grand Park and the apartment complex The Emerson, which opened last year. Related is also in discussions with potential equity partners for the $850 million development that would rise across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall; the company has spoken with more than 50 potential investors, and expects to announce a partner this fall. In addition to the hotel, there would be a residential tower with approximately 380-450 units (20% set aside as affordable housing) and a large retail and restaurant component built around a central plaza that opens to Grand Avenue. Related executives are speaking to dining and shopping tenants; they previously said the project would contain both an Equinox gym and a Soul Cycle studio. Related has said it hopes to start construction on The Grand in 2016.
WILSHIRE GRAND REPLACEMENT: Construction continues at the Wilshire Grand, where workers have completed the 57th floor of the concrete that comprises the building’s core, and steel has been erected up to the 46th level, said project spokesman Sean Rossall. The installation of exterior glass is also underway, and has been put in up to the 21st floor, Rossall said. The building’s podium is nearing completion and is expected to be finished this fall. Hanjin International is developing the 73-story tower on the northwest corner of Seventh and Figueroa streets, and Downtown architecture firm AC Martin is handling the designs and managing the construction process. The $1 billion development, which will be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, will have 900 hotel rooms atop 400,000 square feet of office space, along with retail and restaurant space. The project, which will have a sloped roof, is expected to be complete by the end of 2016, Rossall said. InterContinental will operate the hotel, which is slated to open in 2017. At wilshiregrandcenter.com.
CIVIC AND NONPROFIT
ARTS DISTRICT PARK: Construction on a $1.6 million, half-acre park at Fifth and Hewitt streets in the Arts District began last December, but has been interrupted following the discovery of ground contaminants and buried historical objects. Testing of the soil revealed lead and other harmful materials, and the Department of Water and Power in July began a remediation effort; the top three feet of soil will be taken away and replaced with new dirt, said Josephine Gonzalez, environmental affairs officer with DWP. Additionally, crews have uncovered hundreds of items from the late 19th century, among them glass bottles, ceramic dishes, roller skates and shoes, said archaeologist Madeleine Bray with Environmental Science Associates. Bray believes the items came from old trash pits in the 1880s, when the area was a residential base. The park was originally slated to open this fall, but has been pushed back to next spring, said Rick Coca, a spokesman for 14th District City Councilman José Huizar. Once complete, the park will feature an eight-foot wall for mural art, outdoor eating areas, a playground, shade trees, concrete seating and lighting.
BUDOKAN OF LOS ANGELES: The fundraising effort for the Budokan of Los Angeles continues, and developer the Little Tokyo Service Center has raised or identified sources for almost 80% of the $23.5 million project, according to the campaign’s director, Mike Murase. He said the goal is to break ground by late 2016. The 88,000-square-foot sports and activities center, on Los Angeles between Second and Third streets, would include a two-court gymnasium, a rooftop park and event space, and small community rooms. The Budokan would be used for basketball, volleyball, martial arts and other activities. At budokanoflosangeles.com.
CHINATOWN PARK: Plans for a park at Ord and Yale streets as part of an expansion of the Alpine Recreation Center were presented to the city Cultural Affairs Commission and the Department of Recreation and Parks in April. A groundbreaking is slated for spring 2016 with the park expected to be complete in 2018, said Fredy Ceja, communications director for First District City Councilman Gil Cedillo. Last May, the office of then-County Supervisor Gloria Molina contributed $950,000 to the project, bringing the amount secured for the facility to $8.25 million.
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE: In June, the final concrete shear wall for the Federal Courthouse was completed, just 11 months after construction commenced on the $323 million Civic Center project. The next step on the project, which is now 60% complete, will be the interior framing and installation of the curtain wall, said Traci Madison of the U.S. General Services Administration. The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design is aiming for LEED Platinum status, in part by cutting solar heat gain with the curtain wall facade made of angled windows. The 600,000-square-foot project on the southwest corner of Broadway and First Street will have 24 district courtrooms, 32 judges’ chambers and offices for the U.S. Marshal’s Service and the General Services Administration. A completion is scheduled for fall 2016. The builder is Clark Construction.
FIGUEROA CORRIDOR BIKEWAY: More delays have hit the three-mile Figueroa Corridor bikeway project, officially known as MyFigueroa. The city had hoped to finalize plans this summer and begin construction in December, but the city Department of Transportation is now aiming to finish a final design this month and break ground closer to March, according to an LADOT representative. The bikeway will run from Seventh Street in Downtown to 41st Street in South L.A. It will slash eight driving lanes to five, and significant segments of the route will feature curbs that protect cyclists from cars. The project will also create bus platforms that extend the sidewalk for transit riders, improve landscaping and install pedestrian-friendly lighting and signage, among other elements. The roughly $20 million project must be completed by December 2016 as part of an agreement for funding from the state. At myfigueroa.com.
FIRST AND BROADWAY PARK: A design competition is underway for a park at the northeast corner of First Street and Broadway, said Rick Coca, a spokesman for 14th District City Councilman José Huizar. Applications were due last month and submissions for the Civic Center site are being reviewed. Once finalists are selected, community meetings will be held to solicit feedback and preferences. The park would rise directly south of Grand Park on the site of a former state office building that was razed after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The $18 million-$20 million project has secured $14 million so far, with more than $10 million of that in Quimby fees (charged to developers for the creation of green space), according to Huizar’s office. The Department of Recreation and Parks anticipates that the remaining funds will come from a combination of future Quimby fees and department allocations.
GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL MEDICAL PAVILION: An opening date for the $80 million Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Pavilion has been pushed back from late 2015 to the third quarter of 2016, according to hospital spokeswoman Katrina Bada. The 190,000-square-foot development at Wilshire Boulevard and Witmer Street, designed by Ware Malcolmb, will hold the Frank R. Seaver Ambulatory Surgery Center, with eight operating suites. The City West project will also have a pharmacy, outpatient clinics, physician offices and the hospital’s Surgical Specialties Clinic, said Bada. Physician offices and the Orthopaedic Specialties Clinic are scheduled to open in the second quarter of next year. The builder is Millie and Severson.
LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK: The renovation of the 34-acre park on the edge of Chinatown continues, with a grand opening now expected in December. The work began in April 2014 but hit delays because of archaeological finds and the discovery of toxic waste on the site; the latter required remediation efforts and restoring of clean soil. The approximately $20 million project is transforming the park by creating several distinct areas, with new landscaping and features such as a pedestrian bridge and a two-acre wetlands zone. Other planned elements include a tree-flanked promenade, a visitor center and a paved parking area. At lashp.wordpress.com.
LOS ANGELES STREETCAR: AECOM, the project manager of the 3.8-mile circulator that would run from South Park to the Civic Center with a main spur on Broadway, has a new price tag for the Los Angeles Streetcar: $281.6 million. Current plans call for service to begin in December 2020 (pushed from 2019), but challenges remain, including a funding shortfall of at least $144.1 million, according to the city. The streetcar team is currently in the hunt for a $75 million Small Starts federal grant, but the budget will need to be reduced to $250 million to qualify. Fourteenth District City Councilman José Huizar, who is spearheading the project as part of his Bringing Back Broadway initiative, also plans to court private sector partners to help pay for the project; the city is in the process of securing a financial advisor to help craft a request for proposals on a public-private partnership, according to Huizar spokesman Rick Coca. The project will also have up to $85 million in tax funds, to be collected from property owners along the streetcar route. Another $10 million has been secured from the former Community Redevelopment Agency. At streetcar.la.
MERCED THEATRE AND MASONIC HALL: The city is looking at design bids and plans to award a contract for the renovation of the Merced Theatre and the attached Masonic Hall in October 2016, said city spokeswoman Mary Nemick. The $23 million renovation will allow the building near the Olvera Street Plaza to be used as the headquarters of city public access TV station Channel 35. The facilities would include two television studios, a 50-seat live-audience television studio, office space, conference rooms, edit bays and more. The design will be sensitive to historic preservation and will retain the historic west and east facades, said Nemick. The project is expected to be finished by late 2017.
METRO DIVISION 13 BUS FACILITY: A state-of-the-art bus development is nearly complete, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is doing finishing work on the sidewalks, landscaping and streets at the $120 million project. The Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility is expected to be finished by November, and a grand opening is anticipated in early 2016. The project at the northeast corner of Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue will hold 200 CNG (compressed natural gas) buses and contain a multi-level garage, a fueling depot and areas for washing vehicles. It is on track to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, and will feature a full green roof — planting is occurring now — and an underground 250,000 gallon water retention tank; it will collect rainwater and use it to wash buses. Systems testing is now taking place for the project that will include 397 parking spaces for Division 13 workers. Approximately 500 employees will use the facility. At metro.net/projects/MUDBFP.
PARKER CENTER: The city Bureau of Engineering last year recommended razing Parker Center and replacing it with a $475 million, 27-story office tower. In light of calls from entities such as the preservationist group the Los Angeles Conservancy to consider renovating and reusing the building at 150 N. Los Angeles St., 14th District City Councilman José Huizar proposed asking city staff to assess the Civic Center’s office space needs and an alternative Parker Center redevelopment not discussed in the project’s already complete environmental impact report. That effort is still making its way through city departments, and the BOE is holding off on its plans for the time being. Additionally, the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee in April missed a deadline to review the city Cultural Heritage Commission’s nomination of the 1954 former police headquarters as a Historic-Cultural Monument; that matter is also pending. Parker Center, designed by Welton Becket, has been empty since the LAPD moved into the new Police Administration Building in 2009.
REGIONAL CONNECTOR: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is replacing and rerouting a number of underground utilities in Little Tokyo, in anticipation of the construction of a Regional Connector station at First Street and Central Avenue. Pre-construction work is also taking place at two other station sites, at Second and Hope streets and Second Street and Broadway. Metro anticipates beginning excavation of the three stations in the fourth quarter of this year, with the work stretching into early 2016. The final designs of the stations will also be complete in early 2016, according to Metro. The 1.9-mile Regional Connector will join area light rail lines to streamline cross-county travel and reduce the need for transfers. The tunneling for the $1.42 billion project is slated to begin in early 2017 in Little Tokyo. The project is expected to open in 2020. At metro.net/projects/connector.
SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT: ntersection improvements near the Sixth Street Viaduct are progressing, said Mary Nemick, director of communications for the city Bureau of Engineering. The street work is in preparation for the demolition of the 83-year-old Sixth Street Viaduct, which is slated to start in late fall. The 1932 bridge, which needs to be replaced because of a chemical condition that has caused its concrete to weaken, connects the Arts District to Boyle Heights. The new Sixth Street Viaduct will have a design that features a “ribbon of arches,” improved pedestrian access and bike lanes. Work on the $422 million project is expected to last through the middle of 2019. The Bureau of Engineering is working with a design team led by HNTB, architect Michael Maltzan and others. At sixthstreetviaduct.org.
UNION STATION MAKEOVER: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun the environmental impact report for the Union Station Master Plan. The EIR process will last into mid-2016, according to Metro. The Master Plan comprises two main elements: It would build a larger indoor-outdoor passenger concourse to connect travelers to an updated rail yard, and it would demolish the existing Patsaouras Bus Facility near the eastern entrance to Union Station and replace it with an elevated bus terminal between the historic station building (the west entrance) and the new concourse. Other proposed improvements include the conversion of the west parking lot into a public plaza and the creation of a walkway over the rail lines. At metro.net/projects/la-union-station.
ARTS DISTRICT BREWING COMPANY: Construction is wrapping up at the former Crazy Gideon’s electronics store, where Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman of 213 Nightlife plan to open the Arts District Brewing Company. The restaurant and brewery is expected to open this fall, said project spokeswoman Annie Black. The project at 828 Traction Ave. will have 258 seats, an outdoor area and up to 20 skeeball lanes. More than half of the 17,320-square-foot establishment will be dedicated to the brewery and kitchen. No budget has been revealed.
DELIJANI BROADWAY THEATERS: Rehabilitation work and permitting are underway as part of the restoration of four historic Broadway theaters owned by the Delijani family, said Kate Bartolo, a consultant to the Delijanis. The theaters are the Los Angeles (615 S. Broadway), Palace (630 S. Broadway), State (703 S. Broadway) and Tower (802 S. Broadway). The Los Angeles, Palace and Tower already host occasional events, such as film screenings or concerts. The State’s current tenant is the Cathedral of Faith, and the church’s lease runs through next year, Bartolo said. The renovation plans include the creation of roughly 12 eateries and bars, as well as upgraded interiors and theater spaces. No budget, timeline or future programming plans have been revealed.
HAUSER WIRTH & SCHIMMEL GALLERY: Andrea Schwan, a spokeswoman for the Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel Gallery, said construction continues and the project is on pace to open in March 2016. The 100,000-square-foot Arts District complex, to be run by former MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, will fill a former flour mill at 901 E. Third St. The compound is a collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings with outdoor spaces. The arts destination will hold exhibitions as well as public programs. Mostly uninhabited since the 1950s, the site’s seven structures include a Neo-Classical bank building, a five-story mill and three warehouses. There is also a 20,000-square-foot space with an interior courtyard. The project will have covered parking.
ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: Construction on the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles is expected to be finished in about three months, said museum Executive Director Marianna Gatto. The museum will be inside the 1908 Italian Hall building at 125 Paseo de Plaza near Olvera Street. The work includes a new Main Street entryway, gallery lighting and a restoration of the 1908 building’s façade and original features, Gatto added. Once complete, the $4.5 million project will display rare photos, documents, maps and artifacts illustrating the legacy, contributions and influences of Italian Americans in the region. Gatto anticipates an early 2016 opening. At italianhall.org.
THE BROAD: The $140 million contemporary art museum The Broad is scheduled to open on Sept. 20. The project at 221 S. Grand Ave., across the street from MOCA, will house the approximately 2,000 pieces of art in the collections of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, though only about 200 will be on display at any time. The entrance to the 120,000-square-foot attraction, designed by the New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is on Grand Avenue. Visitors ride a 105-foot escalator to the third floor, where the vast majority of the art is on display in a nearly one-acre, column-free space under 318 skylights. The Broad includes an in-house restaurant, Otium, helmed by Timothy Hollingsworth. The project has a 24,000-square-foot public plaza just south of the museum with an open lawn and 100-year-old Barouni olive trees. The three-story garage can accommodate 366 cars. At thebroad.org.
353 S. BROADWAY: Developer and architect David Gray is on track to finish the renovation of 353 S. Broadway by November. Gray has added a sixth floor to the building, which will hold creative office space; Gray said the space is already leased. The $8.5 million renovation is in the final stage, with elevator work and glass and siding installation taking place. Gray said his David Gray Architects will fill part of the second floor. A 4,577-square-foot bar with two patios on the ground floor has been leased by 213 Nightlife, the bar group responsible for the Broadway Bar, Golden Gopher and other Downtown spots. At davidgrayarchitects.com/353sbroadway.
537 S. BROADWAY: The renovation of a six-story Art Deco structure at 537 S. Broadway has been put on hold because of permitting problems the developer, Beverly Hills-based King’s Arch, is encountering with the city and the Los Angeles Fire Department. The company bought the structure for $7.35 million this year and announced plans to convert it into creative office space. The renovation will include a full seismic retrofit, new electrical and plumbing systems, and restoration of the intricately decorated facade. King’s Arch had originally hoped to complete construction by the end of the year, but now expects to do so in the second quarter of 2016, according to a company representative. The plan is to attract tenants in industries such as tech, media and fashion. The building was originally designed by prominent Los Angeles architects Percy A. Eisen and Albert R. Walker.
AT MATEO: ASB Real Estate Investments and Century City’s Blatteis & Schnur are working on securing entitlements for the 130,000-square-foot open-air retail center At Mateo, said Robert Schnur, co-chairman of Blatteis & Schnur. The developers purchased the property at Palmetto and Mateo streets last year for $32.5 million, and have torn down the former warehouse buildings on the Arts District site. Schnur said they hope to begin construction this fall, and will spend another $30 million on the effort that will create restaurants, shops and service businesses. Plans call for using repurposed brick, concrete and wood throughout the project. The development will include a parking garage with more than 400 spaces. At atmateo.com.
CLIFTON’S CAFETERIA: Andrew Meieran, who created The Edison nightclub, has spent north of $10 million to buy and renovate the historic Clifton’s Cafeteria at 648 S. Broadway. It has taken four years, but an opening night party with proceeds benefitting the Los Angeles Conservancy will take place Sept. 21, and Clifton’s will open to the general public the following day. The old cafeteria and dining room have been totally renovated, and Meieran has also transformed several floors of storage space into a three-level atrium with unique bars on each level. One of the biggest decorative features is a replica of a redwood tree that stands in the center of the atrium. There are also a number of taxidermy displays, turn-of-the-century apparatuses, fossils and more. Diners will be able to select from a number of food stations with categories like salads, sandwiches, rotisserie meats and desserts. Drinkers, meanwhile, get a choice of five bars, ranging from the casual Monarch Bar to the sleek, cabaret-like Shadowbox in the basement.
DESMOND BUILDING: The transformation of the 1916 Desmond Building at 11th and Hope streets is almost complete, said Robert Hooks, vice president of developer Lincoln Property Company. The 82,000-square-foot structure will be leased by Anschutz Entertainment Group and will house its 500 employees from around the city, consolidating workers in the AEG Live and AXS Ticketing divisions close to the company’s headquarters at L.A. Live. Hooks said AEG will likely move in by the end of next month. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill oversaw the design, which included upgrades to the 99-year-old structure such as seismic retrofitting and the creation of a sixth floor. At thedesmondla.com.
FORD BUILDING: Construction has begun on the transformation of the 1912 Ford Factory Building, at Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue, into creative office space. San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties purchased the 254,000-square-foot edifice and two adjacent structures for $37 million last year. The renovated five-story building is slated to open in spring 2016, according to Andrew Neilly, a spokesman for the project. No budget has been revealed. One of the adjacent structures will be converted into a parking garage for 600 vehicles, and the rooftop will feature a deck. Additional plans call for a 15,000-square-foot landscaped courtyard. The main building opened in 1912 as Ford Motor Company’s primary Southern California assembly operations for Model T’s and Model A’s. It later housed industrial tenants including U.S. Rubber and Lockheed Aircraft, and the Imperial Toy Company from 1972-2005. At thefordfactoryla.com.
LA KRETZ INNOVATION CAMPUS: The La Kretz Innovation Campus, which will house the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s energy efficiency labs, is on target to open in the fall, said Fred Walti, executive director of LACI. The 60,000-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 flexible office space, conference facilities, labs, a prototyping workshop, a 100-person training center and the DWP’s Energy Efficiency Customer Engagement Center. The project will also include a small park with a water feature, Wi-Fi, grass and tables. At laincubator.org.
SOHO HOUSE: In March, representatives of the Soho House revealed plans to build an Arts District location of its members-only, high-end club. The property is a six-story, 1917 brick building at 1000 S. Santa Fe Ave. Soho House is looking to open the Arts District project in 2017, according to a company representative in New York. Plans include a rooftop pool and artist studio rooms where guests may stay for weeks or months. Soho House bills itself as a home-away-from home for people in the film, media and creative industries. No budget has been revealed.
THE BLOC: Developer Wayne Ratkovich’s $180 million transformation of the former Macy’s Plaza is in the final stage of construction, and The Bloc is scheduled for completion by year’s end. In May, the roof over the portion of the shopping complex off Seventh Street was removed, creating an open-air environment. Additionally, the 496-room Sheraton Hotel has been fully upgraded, including a new restaurant, District on The Bloc. The shopping center will get a remodeled flagship Macy’s store, and other additions will include Wingtip, Free Market, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and a nine-screen Alamo Drafthouse; they are expected to begin opening in early 2016. Construction on a Metro connection to the Seventh Street Metro Station stop is estimated to be complete next February.
CLARK HOTEL: Delays with the final construction work at the 348-room Clark Hotel at 426 S. Hill St. have pushed back its opening until early 2016, according to a project representative. The 11-story structure just north of Pershing Square has been renovated and features guest rooms with lively Mod-style details, a lobby with bright marble and chrome accents, a ballroom, a pool deck and multiple dining spaces. The additional delay is nothing new for New York-based owner Chetrit Group, which acquired the property more than a decade ago. An operator has not been revealed.
EMBASSY HOTEL: Though developer Chetrit Group originally planned to open the Embassy Hotel this year, delays with some permits and construction have pushed the debut back until early 2016, according to a project representative. The renovation of the edifice at 831 S. Grand Ave. will feature 183 guest rooms and the historic Trinity Auditorium, which has been fully restored. A pool deck has been built on the roof and an outdoor patio is being constructed along Ninth Street. As with the Clark Hotel, Chetrit Group has owned the property for more than a decade. An operator has not been revealed.
FREEHAND HOTEL: The 1924 Commercial Exchange Building is being turned into a 200-room Freehand Hotel by a development partnership of New York-based Sydell Group and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Company. The project at 416 W. Eighth St. is under construction and is expected to open in 2016, according to a project representative. The Freehand will offer hostel-style rooms with up to six beds along with traditional hotel rooms. Killefer Flammang Architects is doing the designs for the 13-story Beaux Arts structure, originally designed by the firm Walker & Eisen. Plans call for a rooftop pool and lounge, as well as ground-floor retail and a restaurant. The tall neon sign on the corner of the structure will be preserved. Sydell is also transforming Giannini Place on Seventh Street into a hotel. At thefreehand.com/losangeles.
GIANNINI PLACE: The New York firm Sydell Group bought Giannini Place, which opened in 1923 and originally served as the headquarters of the Bank of Italy, for $39 million this year. Work has begun to renovate the property at 649 S. Olive St., and it is expected to open as a 250-room hotel in mid-2016, according to a project representative. The 12-story structure stood empty for more than a decade before Sydell acquired it. The old banking floor would be turned into a large lobby, and the first floor would feature a bar and restaurant. An event space and swimming pool would be constructed on the roof. The hotel is expected to be pricier and more elegant than Sydell’s Freehand Hotel at 416. W. Eighth St.
J.W. MARRIOTT EXPANSION: In March, L.A. Live owner Anschutz Entertainment Group announced plans to build a 755-room expansion of the J.W. Marriott/Ritz-Carlton hotel. The new rooms would be part of the J.W. Marriott brand. AEG is currently in the planning and design stage, according to company spokesman Michael Roth, and the goal is to break ground on the 38-story tower in the second quarter of 2016. Plans call for the $500 million project, which will rise on a 60,000-square-foot lot at the northeast corner of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street, to open in 2018. The new building, being designed by architecture firm Gensler, would be connected to the 878-room J.W. Marriott, and there would be two levels of subterranean parking, ground-floor retail and a second-floor deck with a restaurant and a pool with cabanas. The project would also create more than 75,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and conference space.
PROPER HOTEL: The 13-story building at 1106 S. Broadway, long known as the Case Hotel, will become a Proper Hotel, part of a new brand launched by one of the project’s developers, the Kor Group. Kor teamed with Channing Henry and Frank Stork to acquire the 1924 building for $13.5 million in late 2013, and a renovation is slated to begin soon. The project will turn the structure, which has been empty in recent years after housing facilities for the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, into a 148-room boutique establishment with a mix of standard rooms and large suites. Amenities will include a swimming pool on the seventh floor and a basketball court on the sixth floor. Downtown architecture firm Omgivning is handling the designs. Plans call for the Downtown LA Proper to open in early 2017. At properhotel.com/downtown-la.
OPENED IN THE PAST FOUR MONTHS
420 BOYD ST.: A $2 million renovation of Legendary Developments’ two properties at 420 Boyd St. in the Toy District has been completed, and the buildings opened on June 1, said company principal Dilip Bhavnani. The five-story structure at Boyd and Omar streets in the Toy District is now home to skateboarding apparel and footwear manufacturer HUF Worldwide, which moved into the top three floors in July. The microbrewery Mumford Brewing opened in June and is in the adjacent building, along with the nonprofit Wheels for Hope. The buildings are now 88% leased. Two new bars are also being developed and are in the permitting stages, Bhavnani said.
A+D MUSEUM: The A+D Architecture and Design Museum, which was founded in Downtown in 2001 but spent the last 13 years outside the community, returned to the Central City on Aug. 20. The facility has opened in an 8,000-square-foot brick building at 900 E. Fourth St. in the Arts District. Exhibits in the museum, which is a block from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, are set up in a large, open space with exposed brick walls and concrete floors. The debut exhibit, dubbed Shelter, looks at new forms of housing in Los Angeles. At aplusd.org.
GARMENT LOFTS: Move-ins began in August at developer Capital Foresight’s 12-story Garment Lofts, which features 77 apartments with open floor plans averaging 750 square feet. The residences have original concrete floors and walls as well as modern fixtures and finishes in the bathrooms and kitchens. The $20 million renovation of the 1926 Capitol Garment Building, at 217 E. Eighth St., also included the restoration of the building’s ornate Gothic Revival façade, the creation of 3,479 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and a rooftop deck with a spa. Rents run from $1,850-$5,000 (for six two-story penthouses with private balconies). The project does not have on-site parking. At garmentloftsla.com.
GLOBE THEATRE: The 1913 Globe Theatre at 740 S. Broadway opened July 30 after nearly three years of renovation work from owner and operator Erik Chol, who spent about $5 million to refurbish the facility. The four-level venue now has a restored lobby entrance on Broadway, a restored and illuminated marquee, freshly painted Baroque decorative features, and a modern sound and lighting system, among other improvements. Chol is currently focusing on fixing up the Globe’s basement (to be used as a more intimate venue-within-a-venue), a second-floor private room and the third-floor balcony, the latter of which needs the most extensive work and could open next year. The Globe currently hosts DJs and events several nights a week. At globetheatre-la.com.
LEVEL FURNISHED LIVING: Move-ins at Onni Group’s $200 million Level Furnished Living began in June. Unlike most Downtown housing complexes, the 33-story project from the Vancouver, Canada-based developer features short-term rental units, pitched to people staying for weeks or several months, such as individuals in town for business. The $200 million high-rise at 888 S. Olive St. features 303 one- to three-bedroom residences, with prices starting at $5,000 a month. All units include multiple TVs, a washer and dryer and a balcony. Utilities, cable TV, high-speed wireless Internet and weekly housekeeping service are included. There is a 70-foot outdoor pool along with a hot tub, a full-size basketball court, a gym and a barbecue area. Level has 600 parking spaces and four meeting rooms. At stayinglevel.com/los-angeles.
PERSHING SQUARE PLAYGROUNDS: A pair of children’s playgrounds at Pershing Square opened on Sept. 3. The $600,000 project is a joint effort of the city Department of Recreation and Parks, the Pershing Square Advisory Board and 14th District City Councilman José Huizar’s office. Construction began in May on the playgrounds at the southern edge of the park at 532 S. Olive St. One park is for children ages 2-5 and the other serves kids 5-12. The structures feature a blue and green color scheme with splashes of orange.
TERAGRAM BALLROOM: The Teragram Ballroom opened on May 31. The 9,000-square-foot concert venue at 1234 W. Seventh St. can hold up to 600 people. The project comes from New York-based Michael Sweier, who created that city’s Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, and his Los Angeles partner, Joe Baxley. It took more than a year and $2 million to turn the 1913 City West edifice into a venue with a top-notch sound system; the transformation involved a seismic retrofitting. The building originally opened as the Playhouse Theatre and showed silent movies, and later became a print shop and a cafe. At teragramballroom.com.
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2015