Although some expected winter rains and the steadily spiking costs of raw materials to chill the pace of development in Downtown, nothing is further from the truth. In fact, more cranes, more constructions crews, and more creative new concepts than ever are spreading through Downtown Los Angeles.
As proof, consider the 13 projects that have either been announced or gained prominence in just the last three months. There are plans for everything from new condominium towers (such as 1717 Olympic High Rise in City West) to light rail (an MTA proposal to connect Downtown to Culver City) to a big-budget bar (Bills, in the Historic Core). Lenders are ever more convinced that Downtown is a safe place to invest, and developers are following the money, while hoping to make some of their own.
Meanwhile, new construction is sprouting out of the ground and cranes are beginning to dot the skyline. Progress is continuing on the schools that will seat thousands of students, and throughout the entire community, apartment and condominium complexes are getting closer to completion. In just the next few months alone, residents will begin to move into Little Tokyo (at the Alexan Savoy), the Historic Core (Douglas Building), South Park (Metropolitan Lofts), City West (The Flats LA, in a renovated Holiday Inn) and other neighborhoods.
Need more? Just consider that along with the housing, there are cultural and entertainment projects underway. Perhaps the most exciting in the next few months will be the groundbreaking of the $1 billion LA Live development near Staples Center.
Of course, that is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. In the following pages Los Angeles Downtown News details the 123 projects that are forever altering the community.
These projects were announced or garnered public interest within the last three months.
ANGELS FLIGHT RECONSTRUCTION
Slow fundraising has stalled the start of the reconstruction of Angels Flight, the funicular railway linking Bunker Hill and the Historic Core. Construction now will likely start by July and finish in spring 2006, said John Welborne, president of the Angels Flight Railway Foundation. The short railway, which opened in its current location in 1996, closed after a Feb. 1, 2001 accident in which one car slid down the track and crashed into the other, killing one person and injuring seven. The two cars have been restored and are in storage. Volunteers recently started re-painting the railway's two station houses.
The basement of the Los Angeles Trust and Savings Bank Building at 215 W. Sixth St. is being converted into a "speakeasy-style" bar by Two One Three, the company behind the popular Golden Gopher bar at Eighth and Olive streets. Bills, as it will be called, is being constructed in an immense bank vault that features 12-inch thick circular doors that were thought to be the thickest, strongest and largest in the world. The intricate inner workings can be viewed through a glass cover. The 6,000-square-foot basement will also feature white marble floors, walnut wood paneling, polished stainless steel walls and much of the original architecture. The $1 million cocktail lounge is expected to open in late summer, said owner Marc Smith. The bank building above is vacant, and is being proposed for residential use.
Developer All Pacific Financial, Inc. plans to convert the 1913 Chapman Building at the northeast corner of Eighth Street and Broadway into condominiums. The 13-story building formerly housed garment businesses, and currently leases ground-floor space to retail tenants including a jewelry store. The developer is considering affordable units ranging from 500 to 600 square feet to meet demand from people making less than $100,000 a year. Plans include restoring the historic marble and columns throughout the building; construction could start by the end of the year. Architect Wade Killefer is designing the project.
A developer is raising funds to create 40 live-work spaces on a 2.5-acre plot at Main and Llewellyn streets east of Cornfield State Park, said Jennifer Siegal, whose Office of Mobile Design is behind the project. The residential units, pitched to artists, would be fashioned out of prefabricated and converted shipping containers, stacked and arranged in an "S" pattern, with roof gardens and communal areas. Siegal said the developer, who does not want to be identified, is creating a master plan for the site.
EXPOSITION LIGHT RAIL
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board of directors last month approved up to $640 million for the Exposition Light Rail Transit Project. The eight-station, 9.6-mile line would run from the Metro Center at Seventh and Flower streets south through Exposition Park, then head west to a terminus at Venice and Robertson boulevards in Culver City. Construction could begin as soon as next year. The MTA is also proposing a second phase that would extend the line from Culver City to Santa Monica.
FOURTH STREET LOFTS
Construction could start as soon as this month on a 10-unit for-rent loft structure at Fourth Street and Lucas Avenue in City West. Brentwood-based Thomas Safran Associates is planning an 8,000-square-foot structure with four stories of residential units above a floor of parking, said project manager Andrew Gross. The one-bedroom apartments will range from 800 to 1,000 square feet and cost up to $2,000. The project sits on the staging area for Skyline Village, an affordable housing project the developer and Housing Corporation of America finished earlier this year. Construction is scheduled for a May 2006 completion.
Boyle Heights-based Homeboy Industries, a pioneering gang prevention program founded by Father Gregory Boyle, plans to break ground in August on a 20,000-square-foot building at Alameda and Bruno streets in Chinatown, said spokesman Michael Baca. The two-story building will house the entity's headquarters, a bakery and the 3,000-square-foot Homegirl Café and Catering. Homeboy Industries helps former and at-risk gang members with job training, counseling and job placement. The project is scheduled for a fall 2006 completion.
1717 OLYMPIC HIGH RISE
First-time Downtown developer the Hanover Company is building a 156-unit, ground-up project at 1717 W. Olympic Blvd. in City West. Plans from the Houston-based entity call for a 28-story tower with one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments, said Kevin Batchelor, the development partner in charge of the project. The units will average 1,061 square feet; the company is still working on rental rates, Batchelor said. The project is being designed by RTKL Architects. Construction is scheduled to start this September, with a September 2007 completion, Batchelor said.
Developer Barry Shy said he plans to convert the 122,000-square-foot building at 215 W. Sixth St. into 84 condominiums. Units would range from 600 to 1,200 square feet. The project would include about 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Construction, which Shy pegged at $20 million, would last a year and could start as soon as June.
Urban Partners is working on plans to turn a former used car lot at Figueroa Street and Jefferson Boulevard into a $130 million mixed-use residential center for USC undergrads. University Gateway will house 1,658 students in 421 units. The building will also feature 83,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 1,029 parking spots. USC alumni Glenn Togawa and Timothy Smith of Pasadena-based Togawa & Smith are designing the project. Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2006 with a fall 2008 completion, said Fred Jackson, a development associate with Urban Partners.
USC HEALTH SCIENCES CAMPUS
USC is tackling two projects on its Health Sciences Campus north of Downtown. Construction is scheduled to finish in April 2007 on the Harlyne Norris Cancer Research Tower, a 172,400-square-foot medical office building at Biggy Street and Eastlake Avenue. The eight-story building will serve the Keck School of Medicine, with five floors for research, two for preventive medicine, a conference center, atrium, lobby and landscaped courtyard. Additionally, crews will break ground next summer on the Institute for Genetic Medicine, a 225,000-square-foot biomedical research building. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2009, according to a USC timeline.
USC UNIVERSITY PARK CAMPUS
USC has committed $288 million to construction projects on its campus south of Downtown. The largest is the $70 million Galen Center, a 255,000-square-foot arena at Figueroa Street and Jefferson Boulevard that broke ground in December. The 10,258-seat venue also includes a 45,000-square-foot pavilion with offices and practice courts. It is scheduled to open next summer. Other campus projects include the 17,750-square-foot Fine Arts Graduate Building at 3001 S. Flower St., set for a September completion, and the 100,000-square-foot Molecular and Computation Biology building near Vermont Avenue and 36th Place, which opened this month. In addition, the university is adding a new USC Credit Union branch at Flower Street and Exposition Boulevard and a 1,200-car parking structure. Another project, a 143,000-square-foot residential center for 440 students, will break ground in October, with completion scheduled in July 2007.
VERMONT SENIOR HOUSING
Construction is scheduled to start this month on a four-story building at 39th Street and Exposition Boulevard. The project by Century City-based developer Century Housing Corporation will add 140 mostly one-bedroom units, said spokesman Shelby Jordan. The development, for seniors over 62, includes ground-floor parking and common areas. The project is partly funded by a 2002 Housing and Urban Development grant. Completion is scheduled for September 2006.
BISCUIT COMPANY LOFTS
Demolition is underway on Linear City's second condo project, and a building permit is expected in late June, said principal Yuval Bar-Zemer. The 1925 National Biscuit Company factory at 673 S. Mateo St. will contain 104 live-work units ranging from 750 square feet to 3,779 square feet. There will also be some three-level units with 1,500-square-foot gardens and private elevators. Features include hardwood floors, brick walls, oversized windows, 11-foot ceilings and a pool. Prices have not been determined. The seven-story project will set aside more than 3,000 square feet for retail, and is expected to open in July 2006. It is being designed by Santa Monica-based Aleks Istanbullu Architects.
Construction is about 70% complete on 69 units at the Broadway Exchange Building, said Project Manager Gabriel Frig. The 12-story structure at 219 W. Seventh St. was built in 1911 as the headquarters for the Bank of Italy, but retains almost none of its original Art Deco façade and architecture. Only the marble corridor and wooden doors on the sixth and seventh floors will be preserved, while the dark steel façade will be updated with a contemporary finish. Pricing has yet to be determined on the open loft-style studios and one-bedroom units. Construction crews are currently installing plumbing, electrical and drywall. Pre-sales are set to begin in the fall, with completion in the first quarter of 2006. The developer is Broadway Exchange Building, LLC. Architect Lucas Rios-Giordano & Associates is leading the design.
Construction of the historic Brockman Building is about 65% complete, with the project's 80 condos expected to open in late fall, said Senior Project Manager Dan Yogel. Urban Pacific Builders has partnered with West Millennium Homes to develop the $21 million project at 530 W. Seventh St. Units in the 12-story edifice, also known as the Brooks Brothers Building, will start in the mid-$300,000 range, while penthouses with private rooftop decks and views of South Park could fetch more than $1 million. The project will include a spa and fitness center, community rooms and barbecues.
Construction on the five-story Douglas Building at Third and Spring streets is nearing completion. The developer, Downtown Properties, plans to secure a temporary certificate of occupancy for four of the completed floors, with move-in expected by the end of May. The former office building, constructed in 1898 by prominent developer Thomas D. Stimson, is being converted into 50 high-end condos with German kitchens, hardwood floors and brick walls. The common areas will include an atrium, a dog park and 20,000 square feet of retail. The project has been delayed several months due to rainstorms and lengthy preservation of historic features. Units were sold out within the first few weeks. Rockefeller Architecture led the design.
EASTERN COLUMBIA LOFTS
A sales office and model unit are set to open June 1 for the striking Eastern Columbia Lofts at 849 S. Broadway. The Art Deco turquoise-and-gold terra cotta structure, which is being developed by the Kor Group, will be converted from offices into 147 condominiums by early 2006. Units will average 1,200 square feet with 11- to 14-foot ceilings. Amenities will include a rooftop fitness studio, leisure terrace, pool deck and fireplace. The development will also have retail space and possibly a restaurant. Kelly Wearstler Interior Design and Killefer Flammang Architects are spearheading the redesign. The building was constructed in 1930 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
810 GRAND LOFTS
As part of the existing 22-story Chase Plaza office complex at 801 S. Grand Ave., the Lee Group and CIM Group plan to redevelop floors 12-22 into 132 live-work condos. The units will have an open floor plan and will average about 1,500 square feet. Pricing has not been determined. Construction began a month ago and demolition of the upper floors is underway, said Jonathan Lonner, director of development for the Lee Group. A sales office for the lofts is scheduled to open on the bottom floor in the next few months, and prices are expected to be upwards of $500 per square foot. The ground floor will remain a lobby and will hold restaurant and retail space, while floors two through 11 will house offices. A new residential entrance will be crafted on the building's west side. Completion is set for the end of the year. Santa Monica-based Van Tilburg, Banvard and Soderbergh is the architect.
EL DORADO HOTEL
Downtown Properties, a consortium that includes investor Goodwin Gaw and developer Tom Gilmore, plans to begin construction in the fall on 65 condos. The units will start in the mid-$300,000s and exceed $1 million; sizes start at 850 square feet and top 1,700 square feet. The 12-story structure, vacant since 1998, once housed 264 rooms for low-income occupants. The distinct Gothic Revival design with Art Nouveau touches, ornate columns and grand staircases will be restored and modernized by Rockefeller Architecture.
1100 GRAND LOFTS
This 66-unit condo project is set to open in July, and is nearly sold out, said Jonathan Lonner, director of development for the Lee Group. The 81-year-old building at 330 W. 11th St. is being converted by developers the Lee Group and CIM Group. Most units in the $15 million project will consist of two bedrooms and will range from 1,151 to 2,609 square feet. Three additional floors have been added to the four-story structure, which once housed the UCLA Extension program. Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang is the architect.
Construction is underway on turning the top half of the wedge-shaped office tower at Bixel Street and Wilshire Boulevard into 228 condominiums. Developed by Hampton Development, TMG Partners and Forest City Residential West, plans call for a mix of dual-level (660 to 1,980 square feet) and single-level (700 to 1,200 square feet) condominiums. The 27-story, triangular office tower atop a 15-level, nearly windowless parking garage has been largely vacant since it was constructed in 1987. The project is slated for completion in spring 2006, though the first phase of occupancy will begin late this year, said senior project manager Greg Lebon.
Los Angeles-based Venice Development Group is in the planning stages for a $60 million ground-up condominium tower at Hope Street and Olympic Boulevard, said General Manager Sean Marouf. The Killefer Flammang-designed development would feature 200 condominiums in 18 stories, with two floors of parking. The building would total about 300,000 square feet and take 18 months to build, Marouf said.
Officials from L.A. Property Investment & Management Group did not return calls regarding the residential conversion of the Best Western Mayfair hotel at 1256 W. Seventh St. in City West. Past accounts said the developers are looking to convert the 294-room hotel into 250 condominiums.
MOLINO STREET LOFTS
Most of the 30 lofts being constructed by the Kor Group in an existing artist-in-residence structure at Fourth and Mateo streets were reserved early this month. The Arts District development currently contains 61 live-work rental units in two adjoining 1920s warehouse buildings. The Molino Street Lofts will feature condominiums ranging from 900 to 3,700 square feet. Construction is set to wrap by the end of this year.
OLIVE STREET LOFTS
Developers CIM Group and the Lee Group are still in the entitlement process for this 17-story, ground-up condo tower. Plans call for the $35 million project at 11th and Olive streets to rise on a vacant lot; it will feature 105 units ranging from 700 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Olive Lofts will include ground floor retail and a skycourt. Construction is expected to last 15 to 18 months. This is the fourth Downtown project on which the developers have partnered.
PAN AMERICAN LOFTS
Urban Pacific Builders is developing 40 high-end lofts at the northwest corner of Third Street and Broadway. Phoenix Realty Group and Bank of America are financing the $13 million project, which is expected to come online by January 2006. Demolition is complete and crews are beginning interior framing and structural retrofitting. Floor plans range from 675 to 1,300 square feet, and prices will start in the low $300,000 range. The edifice, formerly known as the Irvine Byrne Building, will feature a recreation room and gym, as well as historic features like copper elevators, brick walls and hardwood floors. Ten penthouses will come with private roof decks. The Beaux Arts-style structure was designed by Sumner Hunt, and in the 1940s housed a Mexican consulate. It is just north of Grand Central Market and the Million Dollar Theatre.
The Beaux Arts-style building at 458 S. Spring St. will be converted into more than 200 units beginning this fall, with condominiums ranging from 500 square feet to more than 1,000 square feet. Developer Downtown Properties is pricing the units from the high $200,000s to $700,000. Built in 1912, the Rowan once housed stock brokerages and law firms. Killefer Flammang is the architect.
Developer Bret Mosher of Seven West LLC said he is awaiting permits from the city for a 62-unit condominium project at 1401 W. Seventh St. in City West. Mosher said he hopes to start construction by January 2006, with completion by early 2008. Plans are still being worked out, he said, but designs call for the five-story building to hold 3,000 square feet of retail space. Mosher would not give a cost for the project. Killefer Flammang is the architect.
Demolition is complete in the residential conversion of the building at 548 S. Spring St. (known at times as Barry's Lofts II, the Wilson Building, and the 548 Building). Developer Barry Shy, who is partnering with Albion Pacific on the $25 million project, is turning the property into 84 condominiums with units ranging from 700 to 1,100 square feet. The Historic Core project is slated for completion in May 2006.
Developer Linear City plans to start construction in the first quarter of 2006 on 125 condos, said principal Yuval Bar-Zemer. The 12-story, ground-up project will be built on the same plot as the company's Biscuit Company Lofts at 673 S. Mateo St. Units will start at 600 square feet and will top out at 1,800 square feet. Pricing for the contemporary-style lofts has not yet been determined. The project will include terraced roof gardens, a swimming pool and a landscaped breezeway that cuts through the building's center. Construction is expected to last 18 months. German architect Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner will design the Sky Lofts.
The first of three ground-up condo towers being developed by the South Group near Staples Center, the $85 million Elleven is expected to be completed in April 2006. The 13-story tower at 11th Street and Grand Avenue will feature 176 lofts and four live-work townhomes, most of which have been sold. Floor plans range from 850 to 2,800 square feet and units will cost from $300,000 to more than $1 million. The project broke ground last year, and the basement through fourth floors have been completed, with the fifth floor underway. Elleven is Downtown's first new residential building to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Construction on the second phase of South - a tower called Luma - is scheduled to start this month, with occupancy set for early 2007, according to developer the South Group. The 19-story, ground-up tower at the southeast corner of Eleventh and Hope streets will house 236 condominiums, including two-story live-work townhomes, as well as four levels of parking. The $80 million endeavor will feature a more sophisticated, upscale urban design than the project's first phase, though the two will share some amenities. Building permits are expected in the next few months.
Construction on the final phase of South is set to begin in the fourth quarter of 2005, with anticipated occupancy in fourth quarter 2007, according to developer the South Group. About 311 loft-style condominiums, including two-story live-work townhomes accessible from the street, will be constructed in a 23-story building at the northwest corner of 12th Street and Grand Avenue. The $100 million project (currently unnamed) will include five levels of secured parking above and below ground. It will share almost the entire block with the previous phases, Elleven and Luma, and will include an 8,500-square-foot pedestrian mid-block connection.
TERAMACHI SENIOR HOUSING
Framing is complete on the first floor of the $35 million Teramachi Senior Housing, said developer Thomas Wong. The 127-condominium project on the northwest corner of Third and San Pedro streets in Little Tokyo will offer upscale housing for people 55 and older. Units range from 775 to 2,100 square feet. Amenities include a swimming pool, spa, exercise room and courtyard gardens. The structure will contain three retail tenants on the ground floor and one level of subterranean parking. Some tenants will be from the nearby Senshin Buddhist Temple. The project is scheduled for completion in November 2006.
1010 WILSHIRE BUILDING
Construction could start in October on the residential conversion of the building at 1010 Wilshire Blvd. in City West, said project manager Ali Afshar. Redwood City-based Amidi Real Estate Group plans to convert portions of the 17-story office building into as many as 250 for-sale units. Designs by Santa Monica-based architect Killefer Flammang call for turning 13 floors into 800- to 1,200-square-foot condominiums with 15% priced as affordable housing. The project will include four levels of parking, a swimming pool, a recreation area and possibly a health club. Telecommunications company SBC currently leases the entire building from Amidi. The lease expires in July when the company finishes moving 850 employees to the SBC Tower in South Park. Afshar said the project is in the entitlement phase. They hope to finish by February 2006.
Construction of the first phase of the $65 million Alexan Savoy at First and Alameda streets near Little Tokyo is nearly complete, said Alex Wong, project manager for Costa Mesa-based developer Trammell Crow Residential. Early move-in for the 303 apartments is scheduled for August, with full occupancy by December. Rents start at $1,400. Wong said construction of the project's second and third phases is scheduled to start this summer. The second phase will add 117 condominiums; the third will create 210 condominiums.
BROADWAY PLAZA LOFTS
The conversion of the Blackstone Department Store into 82 lofts is about 65% complete, said Wolfgang Kupka, president of developer Vista Realty Advisors. He said the project at 901 E. Broadway should be finished by November. Designs call for converting the 89-year-old complex into 400- to 1,200-square-foot units ranging from $700 to $2,300. About 16 will be set aside for affordable housing. Plans also call for keeping the ground floor businesses, which include a cellular phone store, an accounting firm, a florist and a travel agent, and restoring the buildings façade and sidewalks. Last year, the Los Angeles Conservancy awarded Vista Realty Advisors $100,000 to rehabilitate the building. The 1916 structure was designed by John Parkinson, who drafted plans for Union Station, the Coliseum and City Hall.
COULTER AND MANDELL BUILDINGS
The opening of the 137,000-square-foot Coulter and Mandell Buildings at 500-518 W. Seventh St. has been pushed back to July from April, said developer George Peykar. The 88-year-old Jewelry District properties, which once held offices and a dry-goods store, are being converted into 55 live-work lofts and 28,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Peykar purchased the structures in 2003 for $8 million.
The site of the Emerald Terrace project at Lucas Avenue and Emerald Street is undergoing site clearance, said Nancy Morris, a spokeswoman for Meta Housing, a Westwood-based developer partnering on the deal with Century Housing of Culver City. Construction should start in August, Morris said. Plans call for a four-story multifamily apartment complex with 85 units, all affordable. The $21 million development is set for completion in November 2006. Meta is also behind the Northwest Gateway apartment complex one block north, on the corner of Lucas Avenue and Glendale Boulevard.
HARTFORD PROJECTConstruction is scheduled to start in September on the $13.7 million affordable housing complex at San Lucas and Fourth streets, just west of the 110 Freeway, said Dora Leong Gallo, chief executive officer of nonprofit A Community of Friends. Designed by architect Killefer Flammang, the 54-unit complex will contain mostly three- and four-bedroom units, as well as a Boys & Girls Club to serve the students of an elementary school being built next door. Construction should wrap in September 2006.
JAMES WOOD APARTMENTS
Construction could start as soon as this month on a 61-unit affordable housing project in City West. 1010 Development Corp., the development arm of First United Methodist Church, is building the project on two lots on opposite sides of the street; one at 1322 and the other at 1405 James M. Wood Blvd. The project includes 40 two-bedroom units, 21 three-bedroom units, 1,340 square feet of office space, a 1,740-square-foot community room and a childcare center for 45 students. Kelle Rose, a community liaison for the developer, said construction is scheduled to wrap in September 2006. Pasadena-based Ken Kurose Architects is designing the $16.7 million development.
The conversion of the University Club building in the Financial District into 90 units should be complete by September, said Jenny Cunningham, a representative of Newport Beach-based Greystone Group. The $20 million project is turning the 630 W. Sixth St. structure into high-end one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as five townhouses with a private entrance on Hope Street. Units will rent from $1,500 to $2,600 a month. Named Library Court for its proximity to the Richard J. Riordan Central Library, the building's exterior features a new glass curtain wall in combination with the existing marble. The property also includes an 11,000-square-foot retail space that could house a restaurant. The complex will contain two levels of underground parking.
LOFTS AT THE SECURITY BUILDING
Pre-leasing should start this month for units in the $28 million residential conversion of the Security Bank building, said Bernard Sandalow, a spokesman for Long Beach-based developer Simpson Housing Solutions. Construction is scheduled to finish by July. The 99-year-old structure at 510 S. Spring St. in the Historic Core has 153 lofts with floor plans ranging from 630 to 1,850 square feet. Twenty percent of the units will be priced as affordable housing.
Brentwood-based developer GH Palmer Associates still intends to build a 600-unit apartment complex on Sixth Street between St. Paul and Bixel streets in City West, said the company's executive vice president, Peter Novak. Although Lorenzo is in the planning stages, Novak said the developer is looking for a summer 2007 completion.
MAIN MERCANTILE BUILDING
The completion date on the loft conversion of the six-story building at 620 S. Main St. has been pushed back from May to July, said Renee Elias, director of finance for developer Oxford Street Properties. The developer is adding 35 to 40 housing units as part of an $8 million transformation of the 75,060-square-foot edifice. The industrial-style lofts will average 1,200 to 1,300 square feet and rent for $1,100 to $2,200. Construction is about 75% complete.
MERCANTILE ARCADE BUILDING
The $15 million residential conversion of the Arcade Building at 541 S. Spring St. is scheduled for completion by early 2006, said Ramon Nicolas, an accountant with Fifth Street Funding. The developer is turning the 12-story Beaux Arts-style structure, also known as the Broadway-Spring Arcade, into 143 market-rate lofts. Each of the building's two towers, which are separated by an interior retail arcade that stretches from Spring Street to Broadway, will house six one- and two-bedroom apartments per floor. The 195,000-square-foot edifice will function as a mixed-use project, a concept common when the structure was built in 1924. Architects David Denton and Killefer Flammang designed the project.
The $60 million residential conversion of the former Subway Terminal Building at 417 S. Hill St. is scheduled to be completed by August, said Kevin Ratner, senior project manager for developer Forest City Residential West. Plans call for 277 luxury live-work lofts in the 626,000-square-foot edifice, which was the underground terminus of the Pacific Electric Railroad and held 600 offices. The studio, one- and two-bedroom units range from 450 to 2,200 square feet. The 80-year-old structure will also feature three penthouses and a 108,000-square-foot parking garage. AC Martin Partners is the architect.
The $50 million Metropolitan Lofts in South Park is scheduled to finish by August, said Kevin Ratner, project manager for developer Forest City Residential West. The eight-story ground-up development will have 264 one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 700 to 1,400 square feet. Market-rate apartments will go for $1,400 to $2,800; 52 affordable units will have rents beginning at $500. The F-shaped structure at Flower and 11th streets will also have 11,500 square feet of retail space. Pre-leasing started this month. Johnson Fain Partners is the architect.
NINTH AND FIGUEROA
Developer Sonny Astani is seeking entitlements for a mixed-used complex in South Park, said Brenda Rodriguez, a representative from Astani's Beverly Hills office. Proposals call for two, 15-story apartment and condominium towers with around 450 units, 40,000 square feet of retail and 1,200 parking spaces. The project would rise at the southeast corner of Ninth and Figueroa streets near Staples Center. Astani purchased the property last October for $29 million from Equitable Life Assurance Society.
Crews are preparing the site at Second Street and Glendale Boulevard for the 276-unit, mixed-income Northwest Gateway apartments. Graffiti covered walls on the property have been torn down. The $55 million development will include studio, one- and two-bedroom floor plans, and such amenities as a community room, computer lab, pool, spa, dog park, fitness center and two levels of underground parking. Developer Meta Housing hopes to start construction this month, with a completion by January 2007, said spokeswoman Nancy Morris. Construction has been delayed twice because of permit filing errors. Community groups failed in efforts to turn the site - the former Toluca train yard and Belmont tunnel, which runs beneath Bunker Hill - into an art park. A mechanic's garage, demolished in January, also sat on the plot. Last September, the city's Cultural Heritage Commission designated the tunnel a Historical Cultural Monument. Developers said they will keep the tunnel intact, although it will not be open to the public.
GH Palmer Associates plans to break ground this month on the ground-up Orsini II at 505 N. Figueroa Street, said Peter Novak, executive vice president of the Brentwood-based developer. Plans call for 600 luxury studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $1,250 for studios to $1,725 for two-bedrooms. The development is part of Palmer's three-phase Orsini. The project is scheduled for a May 2007 opening, Novak said.
PACIFIC ELECTRIC BUILDING
Crews are working on the final phase of the $60 million conversion of the nine-story Pacific Electric Building into 314 lofts, said Lourdes Hernandez, a representative from Downtown-based developer ICO Investment Group. The project is about 90% complete, with crews working on the eighth and ninth floors of the 610 S. Main St building, Hernandez said. Plans by architect Killefer Flammang call for 650- to 3,200-square-foot lofts, a gym and roof garden. The 482,000-square-foot Historic Core structure was built in 1908 and was once the terminal for the Pacific Electric Railway. The building also houses Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet. The first phase of the project should be complete by June.
PACIFIC EXCHANGE BUILDING
Efforts to convert the Pacific Exchange building into residential and construct two 30-story towers near the City West plot at Third Street and Beaudry Avenue are still in the design phase, said Michael Delijani, general manager for developer Golden Hills Properties. West Los Angeles-based Nadel Architects is designing the 850-apartment and condominium project. The developer purchased the boxy, 10-story building, the former home of the Pacific Stock Exchange, in the late 1990s. It consists of eight levels of parking, the trading floor and a single level of offices. Although the developers have not secured permits, Delijani said construction would take place in three phases, with the first beginning in early 2006.
Crews are in the final phase of construction on the $50 million conversion of a former Packard car dealership into 116 market-rate lofts, said Sean Marouf, project manager for developer Venice Investments. The development at Hope Street and Olympic Boulevard should be complete by the end of August. Units will range from 750 to 2,000 square feet and rent for $1,400 to $2,800. The project also includes a 25,000-square-foot ground-floor storefront space and a 450-car indoor garage.
Crews are in the final phases of construction on the $13 million residential conversion of the nine-story Federal Reserve Bank building at Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street in South Park (the project was formerly known as Olympic Lofts). Developer Maz Gilardian said crews are installing appliances, granite countertops and utility lines in the building's 79 luxury live-work lofts. The units will average about 1,000 square feet and rent for $2,000, Gilardian said. A restaurant and bar are also planned for the ground floor of the 85-year-old structure. The building is scheduled for completion at the end of this month.
A hearing is scheduled for May 19 in Los Angeles Superior Court over a 15-acre plot in the Arts District just west of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) along Traction Avenue. The school had been using the empty parcel as a parking lot. In 2004, developer Merco Group paid Dynamic Builders $12.5 million for the land; Merco planned to build a mixed-use development of rental and condominium units on the site. School representatives contend there was a verbal agreement that portions of the site would be sold to SCI-Arc. Richard Meruelo of Merco Group and Dynamic officials deny an offer was made. Efforts to resolve the issue have failed. The case lists SCI-Arc as the plaintiff and Merco Group and Dynamic Builders as defendants. Elizabeth Mann, an attorney for SCI-Arc, said the bench trial should take no more than 10 days. Meruelo said that, depending on the outcome of the litigation, construction of the project could begin as soon as the end of the year.
SECOND AND CENTRAL
Crews are pouring the concrete base of the six-story, 128-unit complex on a small plot in Little Tokyo, said Gino Canori, project manager for the Related Companies. The development will contain studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The luxury complex will include a pool, spa, fitness center and 12,500 square feet of retail. Units will range from 400 to 1,100 square feet, with the average apartment renting for $2.45 per square foot. About 20 units will be priced as low-income housing. The development broke ground last June and is aimed at students from USC and SCI-Arc, empty nesters and young professionals working in the nearby Financial District and Civic Center. The project is a joint venture between New York-based Related and San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners. Canori said the project is slated for a March 2006 completion, although crews are pushing for an earlier date.
Construction finished May 1 on Texere Plaza, a project by Fortuna Asset Management that is turning three Figueroa Corridor buildings on the block bounded by Flower, Figueroa, 22nd and 23rd streets into a $10 million complex, said leasing manager Jean Bogena. The development includes 62 lofts in a three-story building fronting 23rd Street. Units range from 520 to 1,106 square feet. The plot also includes a one-story warehouse, retail buildings and a 200-space parking lot at 23rd and Figueroa streets. Several businesses have signed leases, Bogena said.
THE FLATS LA
The conversion of the 205-room Holiday Inn at 750 Garland Ave. in City West into studio apartments should be complete this month, said Stephen Shapleigh of Newport Beach-based owner MKT Community Development. About 85% of the apartments in the 1960s-era structure will be priced at $1,200 a month, though some will cost up to $2,000. The developer is also considering providing hotel-like amenities such as room service, a restaurant, a salon and even a bartender who can pour a martini for a resident who's had a long day.
Construction is scheduled to start this month on the conversion of the former Union Bank headquarters at 325 W. Eighth St. into 91 apartments, said Rob McRitchie, a partner with developer the Heisman Company. Plans by architect Killefer Flammang call for units ranging from 450 to 1,400 square feet and renting for an average $1,600 a month. The transformation of the 68-year-old edifice is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2006, McRitchie said.
TITLE GUARANTEE BUILDING
Construction is slated to start in June on the $25 million conversion of the Title Guarantee Building at 411 W. Fifth St., said developer Daniel Swartz. Plans are still being worked out as to whether the units will be condominiums or apartments, Swartz said. Floor plans by Killefer Flammang call for 74 lofts starting at 800 square feet with one 4,000-square-foot unit in the building's tower. Ceilings would be exposed concrete and range from 10 to 14 feet. Swartz, who purchased the 12-story structure in 1983 for $9 million, bought out his investors' interest in the property. Architects John and David Parkinson modeled the Art Deco- and Gothic-inspired edifice after the Tribune Tower in Chicago. Built in 1930, the property is perhaps best known for Hugo Ballin's murals in the lobby. The structure, the former home of Spanish language newspaper La Opinión, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Swartz said construction is scheduled to finish in the first quarter of 2006.
After delays due to rains earlier this year, developers from Los Angles-based Conquest Student Housing expect to start framing next month on the 300,000-square-foot, 120-unit student apartment complex at 3760 S. Figueroa St. near USC. Construction on the $40 million project began in July and should be complete by June 2006, said principal Alan Smolinisky. The five-story complex will house 512 students in one- to four-bedroom apartments. Amenities will include steam rooms, saunas, tanning beds, satellite television, a gym, sundeck, study lounge, dry cleaning, and maid and tutoring services. Smolinisky said Conquest has also secured leases for the project's 15,000 square feet of retail space from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Coldstone Creamery, Quiznos Subs, Pick Up Stix and Robek's. Rent will be $600 per student. Conquest owns 18 apartment buildings around USC.
UNION STATION VILLAGE
Crews are in the framing stage on the first phase of a $34 million housing complex at Alameda Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue near Union Station, said John Faulk, director of development and acquisitions for Newport Beach-based Lincoln Property Company. Excavation on the 2.75-acre plot started last June; the project will consist of two, five-story structures that will house 278 units. Sixty percent of the apartments will be one bedroom and the remainder will be two bedrooms, all ranging from 640 to 1,400 square feet. The complex will feature a rooftop pool and spa, along with a ground-floor exercise facility and computer center. A bridge will connect the housing complex to Union Station. Faulk said the first phase should be ready by October, with the second phase finished by January.
VICTOR CLOTHING LOFTS
The residential conversion of the five-story former home of the Victor Clothing Co. at 242 S. Broadway was scheduled to begin in February. Representatives of the non-profit Neighborhood Efforts have discussed plans for 38 live-work lofts ranging from 900 to 1,600 square feet. The building is best known for its exterior wall mural of Anthony Quinn as Zorba the Greek. The developers have said they hope to restore the mural.
Crews are excavating a plot on Wilshire Boulevard between Bixel and Witmer streets, just west of the 110 Freeway, for a 250,000-square-foot project. Plans by developer Sonny Astani call for a six-story structure with 234 lofts, 10,000 square feet of retail and 450 parking spots. The development includes 35 workforce apartments. Brenda Rodriguez, a representative from Beverly Hills-based Astani Enterprises, said construction should be complete by July 2006.
The ground-up, $45 million construction of 297 units at Third and Bixel streets in City West is scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2006, said Peter Novak, executive vice president of developer GH Palmer Associates. The project broke ground in December and excavation was completed earlier this year. Crews are now pouring the foundation, Novak said. Last year, the developer agreed to pay $2.8 million to the city; this will exempt the firm from including low-income units in the Visconti, and allow them to convert 60 low-income units in another Downtown project, the Medici, into market-rate apartments.
Developer Holland Partners of Vancouver, Wash., has begun excavation for a two-tower ground-up apartment complex in City West. The four-story building at Bixel Street and Wilshire Boulevard will house 108 units. A second, five-story, 93-unit tower will rise just south, at Bixel and Ingraham streets. The two buildings will be linked with a skybridge. The development will include two- and three-bedroom units averaging 800 square feet. Principal Tom Warren said the project is scheduled for a summer, 2006 opening. This marks Holland Partners' first project in Downtown Los Angeles.
A groundbreaking is scheduled for next summer on the site of the former Little Joe's restaurant (it closed in 1998) at Alameda and College streets; the property will be turned into a mixed-use complex known as Blossom Plaza. The development is a collaboration between the city and private developers. The city purchased the plot for $4.7 million from owners Laeroc Partners and Bond Companies. Plans call for a parking garage, as well as a pedestrian bridge linking the adjacent Chinatown Gold Line station to Broadway. Construction on the parking garage is set to begin this summer and last a year. Laeroc and Bond retained the air rights to build on top of the garage. Larry Bond, who heads Bond Companies, said the housing will be compatible with Chinatown's design. Construction will last about two years, he said. Ultimately, Blossom Plaza could connect with another mixed-use development on the site of the Capitol Milling Building.
CAPITOL MILLING BUILDING
Plans are in place to convert the 60,000-square-foot Capitol Milling Company building into a mixed-use development. Steve Riboli of S&R Partners plans to turn the 1231 N. Spring St. building into 40 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail. Riboli is working with Larry Bond, who is developing the nearby multi-million dollar mixed-use Blossom Plaza, on creating a public space to fuse the two sites. Riboli said he would not begin construction until Blossom Plaza is completed in 2006 or 2007. The structure is a former grain mill and silo. The plans are part of the large-scale Riverview Project at the Cornfield, a mixed-use development on a triangular piece of land stretching from College Street to the Los Angeles River. The four-phase project would use the Capitol Milling Building as a southern anchor and include up to 300 residential units in four four-story ground-up structures, said John Deenihan, a principal with Downtown-based Rothenberg Sawasy Architects, who is designing the project. Construction is not scheduled to start until at least 2007. The Riboli family also owns the San Antonio Winery north of Chinatown.
GRAND AVENUE PLAN
The Joint Powers Authority on May 23 is scheduled to consider the $1.2 billion plan to turn a strip of Grand Avenue into a massive multi-use project. New York-based Related Companies has conducted numerous public meetings, and is moving forward on plans to turn the street, from Cesar Chavez on the north to the Richard J. Riordan Central Library at Fifth Street on the south, into a collection of high-rise apartments, hotels, offices, clubs and cafes. The development includes what are expected to be massive structures and 3 million square feet of space, mainly rising on two county-owned and two city-owned parcels
HERALD EXAMINER BUILDING
Plans for the former home of the city's last afternoon newspaper are still in limbo. Developer Urban Partners is exploring the possibility of turning the 1914 property at 11th Street and Broadway into a mixed-use development, with retail and office space, as well as for-sale and rental properties, said Devan Pailet, a development executive for the company. The property consists of three buildings, and has been largely empty since the newspaper shut down on Nov. 2, 1989. Urban Partners is working with the building's owner, San Francisco-based Hearst Corporation, to create a plan for the complex.
The groundbreaking of a 207,000-square-foot mixed-use project at Fourth and Main streets in the Historic Core has been pushed back. Developers Saeed Farkhondehpour and Morad Neman now hope to break ground in September on the $125 million Medallion, which will include 375 market-rate rental units and 200,000 square feet of retail space in two 11-story towers. One would rise on the northeast corner of Fourth and Main, across the street from Pete's Café and Bar, and the other at Third and Main. Units would average 850 square feet, with rents from $2 to $3 per square foot. The complex would include three commercial structures of up to three stories. About 25 housing units fronting Main and Los Angeles streets would be scattered on the upper floors. The project would also include a two-acre courtyard and park. M2A Architects and Leo A Daly are the architects. Farkhondehpour said he hopes construction will wrap in mid-2007.
City Centre Development Company is moving though the entitlement process for a project on a 6.3-acre plot bounded by Ninth and Francisco streets, said Executive Vice President John Vallance. Construction is expected to start in early 2006 on the first phase, which will include a 53-story building with 548 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail. Phase two calls for a 47-story structure with 288 apartments, a 480-room hotel and 10,000 square feet of retail. The third phase envisions a 38-story tower with more than 893,000 square feet of office space, 11,000 square feet of retail and a 95,000-square-foot space for a cultural institution. The project originally had a larger office component and retail elements, but was downsized after negotiations with the Community Redevelopment Agency in favor of more residential units. Construction on the first phase is expected to last two years.
Construction is slated to wrap Dec. 17 on the second phase of Santee Court, a $130 million conversion of nine former garment factories in the Fashion District, said developer Mark Weinstein of Santa Monica-based MJW Investments. Crews in January started demolishing the interiors of the Textile Center Building at 315 E. Eighth St. and the Gray Building at 824 S. Los Angeles St. to make way for 299 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail. The three-phase mixed-use and mixed-income project will eventually add 578 units to three blocks bounded by Los Angeles, Seventh and Ninth streets and Maple Avenue. The first portion, with 165 apartments, opened last year and is 90% leased. There is also a Rite-Aid drugstore. Construction on the final 80-condominium phase should start before July, with construction scheduled to wrap in 2007, said Weinstein. The entire project includes about 780,000 square feet of live-work lofts, shops and restaurants, with amenities including a basketball court and a golf driving range. MJW Investments has secured a 70-year lease allowing it to build a parking structure on Maple for Santee Court tenants. The lot would also serve as a staging area for MTA buses.
Excavation started late last month on Market Top Flats, the grocery store and condominium component of South Village, a $220 million mixed-use project that is transforming a 7.2-acre plot bounded by Eight, Ninth, Flower and Hope streets. Construction will start this summer on the six-story building, which includes the 50,000-square-foot Ralphs grocery store and 267 condominiums. The Lee Group is the project's housing developer, while CIM will oversee financing and the development of 10,000 square feet of retail along Ninth Street. The first phase, the 251-unit Gas Company Lofts at 800, 810 and 820 S. Flower St., opened last year. Phase three, estimated at $21 million, would develop 152 rental lofts and 25,000 square feet of retail on the southwest corner of Eighth and Hope streets. Phase four, estimated at $90 million, would develop sites that flank the supermarket on the northwest corner of Ninth and Flower, as well as a vacant parcel on the northeast corner of that block. Two new buildings would be constructed with 520 for-sale units and another 30,000 square feet of retail. Construction of Market Top Flats is expected to take about two years.
Construction is nearly complete on the $4 million Little Tokyo branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, which fronts Main Street. It is expected to open this month. It sits in front of St. Vibiana's Cathedral, the former headquarters of the Los Angeles Archdiocese; the 1876 structure is being converted into a performing arts center to be programmed by California State University-Los Angeles. The cathedral had been shuttered following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Future plans for the property could include a residential element, said developer Tom Gilmore of Gilmore Associates. A hotel and restaurant could also be part of the project.
CITY CENTER REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
An Appellate Court ruling last month cut the proposed City Center Redevelopment Plan from 879 to 119 acres. The original area included portions of South Park, the Historic Core, and the Fashion, Jewelry, Flower and Toy districts. But last summer, a Superior Court judge ruled that the project area overlaps with the Central Business District Redevelopment Area, established in 1977; that capped out several years ago. The appellate decision will reduce the tax revenue expected to be generated during the 30-year life of the plan from $2.4 billion to an estimated $75 million. The original proposal would have produced 12,900 housing units (25% of them low-income) and 6.7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space. About 1,500 SRO housing units would have been rehabilitated. The case has been sent back to the trial courts. Proceedings could take more than a year.
CIVIC CENTER FIRE STATION NO. 4
Construction is scheduled to start by early 2006 on a seven-bay fire station on the south side of Temple Street at Alameda Street, said Eileen Espinoza, an office clerk for the Los Angeles Fire Department. The 40,000-square-foot Fire Station No. 4 will include a dispatch center. It will replace the fire station at 800 N. Main St. The project has been funded through past bond measures approved by voters. GKK Dommer and Fluor/HOK are the architects. The project should be complete by 2008, said Espinoza.
CORNFIELD STATE PARK
The installation of a temporary art exhibit is rising on the Cornfield. Santa Monica artist Lauren Bon designed the $2 million project, which is turning a 32-acre portion of the land into an exhibit that will include a field of harvest corn, a hot air balloon, a loop trail and picnic benches. The former Southern Pacific Railroad yard has been largely vacant for years; the state purchased it in 2001 for $30 million after previous attempts to turn it into an industrial park were rejected. The site is bounded by North Broadway, North Spring Street and the Los Angeles River. Community leaders and an advisory committee have hammered out a 15-page general plan for the site, which they are submitting to the California State Parks and Recreation Commission this summer. The temporary park, state officials said, will serve the community while a larger park is being approved and constructed.
The upgrade of elevators in the federal building at 300 N. Los Angeles St. is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2006, said Bethany Rich Kirchhoff, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration. The improvements are part of a $90 million renovation of the 37-year-old structure. The rest of the building will receive a seismic upgrade and improvements including new fire safety systems, ceilings, energy-efficient lighting, signage, security systems, elevators and the removal of hazardous materials. The building houses more than 8,000 employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
General Service Administration (GSA) officials have completed the first step in a two-phase process to secure a builder for a 1 million-square-foot courtroom at First Street and Broadway, said GSA spokeswoman Bethany Rich Kirchhoff. For the second phase, teams have been invited to submit pricing proposals; a contract will be awarded in November, said Kirchhoff. Plans call for a 17-story building with 41 courtrooms, 40 judges' chambers and office space for federal agencies. The government purchased the 3.6-acre site from the state of California for $2.5 million. The project is budgeted at $314 million and construction would last five years.
GOLD LINE EASTSIDE EXTENSION
The $899 million Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension is on schedule for a December 2009 completion, said Ed Scannell, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Construction began in February on the Little Tokyo/Arts District station at the 101 Freeway and Alameda Street. Plans call for replacing on- and off-ramps at Hewitt and Vignes streets and the construction of a bridge over the freeway to carry the light rail. That segment should be ready by winter 2007. The six-mile line will include eight stations and will connect Union Station to Pomona/Atlantic in East L.A. Residents of the densely populated corridor have waited for the line for nearly a decade. Transit officials say it could carry as many as 23,000 daily riders.
HALL OF JUSTICE
Plans for the estimated $127 million renovation and safety upgrades of the Hall of Justice at 500 W. Temple St. are moving through the approval process, said John Edmisten, a division chief in the county's Chief Administrative Office. An Environmental Impact Report has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and should be in front of the Board of Supervisors by July, Edmisten said. The board last summer decided to break up the approval and construction process over a three-year period. Supervisors must approve each phase of construction. Renderings would take about six months to prepare before approval could be given and construction could start. The 400,000-square-foot Hall of Justice, bounded by Temple, Spring, Broadway and the 101 Freeway, was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Construction is expected to take about two years, putting the building's earliest completion date at winter 2008.
The Environmental Impact Report for the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters at First and Spring streets is out for public comment, said Eva Kandarpa, spokeswoman for Ninth District Councilwoman Jan Perry. The process should wrap up by mid-June. The former Caltrans site was earmarked by the city, but has faced opposition from some area residents who complained the location was chosen without their input. They have urged the city to follow through with earlier plans to build a park on the site. The new headquarters will replace the earthquake-damaged Parker Center.
Grading is complete on a 40-acre park in Cypress Park near the Los Angeles River, said Sean Woods, a spokesman for the state Parks Department. The department is considering contractors and is expected to make a selection by fall. Plans call for green spaces, hiking trails and wildlife habitats. The state is also leasing portions of the park to the city to build recreational fields and sports facilities. The property, a former Union Pacific Railroad yard, cost $26 million to acquire in 2001 and the state has spent about $8 million to develop it. Construction is expected to finish by summer 2006, Woods said.
School officials in late March agreed to delay demolition on portions of the Ambassador Hotel until a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Conservancy is resolved. The Conservancy last November sued to overturn an Oct. 12 Board of Education decision to build three schools on the site of the hotel. The preservation group wants to save the main hotel building and move LAUSD construction to another part of the 24-acre site. After a decade of legal battles, bankruptcies and a two-year environmental review, the board voted to build a 4,200-student complex in the overcrowded area along the Wilshire corridor. School Board President José Huizar has said the lawsuit could delay construction on the $318 million plan by up to a year, but said he expects the district to prevail. If successful, the schools could open in 2009, said LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Johnson-Haber. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the pantry of the hotel. The LAUSD plan would preserve the pantry, along with the storied Cocoanut Grove nightclub and a coffee shop designed by Paul Williams.
BELMONT NEW PRIMARY CENTER NO. 11
Construction of a 16-classroom school on a 1.8-acre former parking lot at 950 S. Albany St. is about 70% complete, said LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Johnson-Haber. The $8 million project includes a 33,790-square-foot, two-story facility that will hold 380 seats, a playground area and a 34-space parking lot. Construction started in December 2003 and should be complete by this summer, Johnson-Haber said.
CENTRAL LOS ANGELES AREA NEW HIGH SCHOOL NO. 9
Construction is scheduled to start soon on the $87 million new high school at 450 N. Grand Ave., the 10-acre site of the old Fort Moore and prior LAUSD headquarters. The school will house 1,584 students in 64 classrooms, arranged in four academies: music, dance, visual arts and performing arts. HMC/Coop Himmelblau is the architect. LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Johnson-Haber said the project is scheduled for completion in spring 2007. Three coffins were recently found on the site, including two with human remains. They are believed to date from the days - before the fort - when the land held a cemetery.
CENTRAL LOS ANGELES AREA NEW HIGH SCHOOL NO. 10
Construction on a 1,713-seat school at Third and Bixel streets on Crown Hill is scheduled for completion by summer 2006, said LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Johnson-Haber. The 19-acre campus will hold a library, student store, gym, auditorium and athletic fields. The complex will relieve overcrowding at Belmont and Marshall high schools. Johnson Fain is the architect. Construction started last spring and is about 30% complete, Johnson-Haber said.
CENTRAL LOS ANGELES AREA NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL NO. 4
The construction of a 1,200-student middle school on nearly nine acres near Exposition Park is set for completion in October, said LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Johnson-Haber. Construction started last spring and is about 70% finished. The project will create 63 classrooms, a courtyard, library, offices, a multipurpose room and a food service area. Culver City-based Steven Ehrlich Architects is designing the project.
COLBURN SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS
Excavation is complete and crews are installing the pylons for the $120 million expansion of the Colburn School of Performing Arts at 200 S. Grand Ave., said school spokeswoman Barbara Vyden. Work is progressing on the 300,000-square-foot, 13-story high-rise next to the existing private school. It will include housing for up to 145 students. The educational floors will hold Colburn's new post-secondary music program and expanded pre-college program, and will feature a 200-seat performance venue plus classrooms, a 7,000-square-foot rehearsal hall, 50 practice rooms, a cafeteria and offices. The CRA will lease the land to Colburn for $99 until 2082. Downtown-based Pfeiffer Partners Inc. is the architect. The project is scheduled for completion in 2008.
LOS ANGELES TRADE-TECHNICAL COLLEGE
The $240 million upgrade of the aging campus of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College on the southern edge of Downtown is moving forward, said Evelyn Jerome, a spokeswoman for the school. Crews are working on a 700-car parking garage and construction is also moving ahead on a $1.2 million Child Development Center, set for completion in October. Eight campus buildings will receive $75 million in renovations. The most visible structures will be two five-story classroom buildings set for construction along Grand Avenue. At 128,000 square feet each, they will house 33 classrooms and the administrative and student service offices; they will also frame a new entrance for the college. The construction is funded through Proposition A and AA. Trade-Tech's 29-acre campus and 14 buildings at Washington Street and Grand Avenue have not seen a major upgrade in more than 25 years. In April, officials announced plans to renovate an existing Blue Line station near the school into a $3 million bus and rail plaza. The project is scheduled for completion in 2008.
Construction is scheduled to start in October on Vista Hermosa, on the site of the former Belmont Learning Center at First and Beaudry streets, said Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman Shannon Johnson-Haber. Four buildings will be converted into a 2,100-seat school. A separate 500-seat academy, cafeteria, library, student union and parents' center will be developed on the 34-acre site. The project will total 102 classrooms with 2,600 seats. A 14-acre public park will be developed and maintained by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Though concerns over dangerous gases and the earthquake fault have delayed the school for years - and caused the razing of two buildings last December - officials say the problems can be mitigated. The LAUSD estimates the cost of the entire project at $111 million - on top of the $172 million already invested in the facility. Johnson-Haber said the development is scheduled to open in 2007.
CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER
Construction on the $110 million expansion of the California Science Center is scheduled to start in late 2005; Science Center officials are currently looking for a contractor through a bidding process, said museum spokeswoman Shell Amega. The expansion, scheduled to be completed in 2008, will house the World of Ecology, a series of interactive exhibits and live habitats. This marks the second of three phases of the expansion; the first included the construction of the main museum, a parking facility and a school. The third phase will house the air and space collection. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2013.
CENTRAL AVENUE ART PARK
The long-stalled plans for a three-acre public art park on a block bounded by First, Judge John Aiso, Temple and Alameda streets are slowly moving forward, said Gerry Miller, the city's interim chief legislative analyst. City officials for years have discussed building an art park on the site, a current parking lot, but a complex series of master planning issues - involving debate over the location of the new police headquarters - have delayed the project. Miller said construction of the park could start once it is decided where a new city parking garage will be built. The earliest construction could begin is mid-2006. Michael Maltzman Architecture completed designs for the park several years ago.
National Football League owners could select the home of a future professional football team at their meetings later this month. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park is competing against proposals from Anaheim, Carson and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Plans call for spending $400 million or more to convert the Coliseum into an NFL-suitable stadium by reducing the 92,500 seats to 78,000. The renovation would also add 200 luxury suites, club level seating, new locker rooms, restrooms and concession areas. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in February said he wants the league to return to Los Angeles by 2010.
LA FASHION CENTER
Although officials from City West-based LA Properties Investment and Management Group announced plans to break ground on the LA Fashion Center last November, no physical construction appears to have begun. Plans call for the 560,000-square-foot structure at 1444 S. San Pedro St. to house 200 for-purchase retail spaces and showrooms for garment wholesalers and manufacturers. The concept would allow small business owners to make permanent investments rather than monthly rental payments. Officials have said that an average store will cost about $360,000, with ground-floor units starting at $640,000. The project is also known as LA Face.
Officials behind an entertainment complex in South Park hope to break ground in late summer on the 7,000-seat Nokia Theater, said Ted Tanner, president of the Anschutz Entertainment Group. It is the first element in a $1 billion plan that would transform six square blocks north of Staples Center into street-level stores, restaurants and bars, a 15-screen Regal movie complex, a 4,000-car garage, up to 1,000 housing units, office space, a 55-story hotel and a second, smaller hotel. Wolff Urban Development is overseeing the Convention Center headquarters hotel, which will have 1,200 rooms and about 100 condominiums on upper floors. The City Council in February approved plans to give up to $180 million in incentives to the $350 million hotel project; they will come in the form of a $22 million loan, $10 million in improvements to the site and up to $147 million in deferred hotel occupancy taxes and fees over 20 years. The entire complex could be complete in 2014.
LINDA LEA THEATER
The artist group working to restore the Linda Lea Theater at 251 S. Main St. is looking to secure grants, said representative Kjell Hagen. An anonymous buyer purchased the dilapidated 7,700-square-foot theater in late December. Plans call for a 500-seat theater with independent film screenings, festivals, community events and possibly a rooftop bar. Local arts leaders will program and operate the space, and in keeping with its Japanese history, a concessions stand will include items such as Japanese sweets, edamame, sake, soju and beer. During its heyday in the 1960s, visitors flocked to the theater to see samurai dramas. It has been closed since the 1980s.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PRESERVATION OF DEMOCRACY
Construction is slowly moving ahead on the $7.5 million National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, said Chris Komai, a spokesman for the Japanese American National Museum, which is overseeing the project. The center will be housed in an historic Little Tokyo building, the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, at 369 E. First St. next to the museum. Komai said a public opening is scheduled for fall. The center was originally scheduled to open last fall but was delayed by rains. In 2000, Congress allocated $20 million for the project.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The redesign and expansion of the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park is on hold until at least 2006 as the museum puts together a capital campaign for the project, said museum spokeswoman Jennifer Westfall. The project was initially pegged at $300 million, although Westfall said the budget will likely change. A master plan by architect Stephen Holl envisions renovating a 410,000-square-foot building to make the museum's expansive collections and research resources - more than 33 million specimens - more accessible.
VARIETY ARTS CENTER
Officials from Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) are evaluating the future of the Variety Arts Center, said AEG President Ted Tanner. The company bought the 1924 property at 940 S. Figueroa St. last year from the Sehdeva family. It sits a few blocks from AEG's planned $1 billion entertainment complex, LA Live. A registered historic cultural monument, the five-story Italian Renaissance-inspired building contains a 1,000-seat theater, a smaller theater, nightclub space, a lounge, a library and offices. It was built as the headquarters for the Los Angeles Friday Morning Club, a women's organization. Tanner would not discuss plans for the property.
The $62 million new headquarters of the California Endowment is scheduled for completion in March 2006, said Jeffrey Okey, a spokesman for the nonprofit. Crews are constructing the shell of the office building on a 6.5-acre plot near Terminal Annex at Alameda and Main streets. Okey said the roof and curtain wall have been installed, with interior construction scheduled for the next several weeks. Plans also call for a parking structure and meeting center. The nine-year-old healthcare foundation, one of the country's largest, will leave Woodland Hills for Downtown. Hollywood-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios is the architect. California Endowment is the developer.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
The South Park entity is still looking to secure funds for a $10 million church at Olympic and Flower streets, said fundraising manager James Hong. The church has sent out fundraising proposals to several charitable organizations, Hong said. The new building will include a modern sanctuary, fellowship hall, a meditation garden and four floors of office space for nonprofit social service organizations. Hong said construction, which could start as soon as 2006, would take about 14 months.
HOUSE EAR INSTITUTE
Construction is set to start in late July on an expansion to the House Ear Institute at Third and Alvarado streets, said spokeswoman Christa Spieth Nuber. The project, part of the institute's $40 million "Campaign for Building a Sound Future," includes a three-story, 30,000-square-foot building that will house the research division and offices. The Annenberg Foundation donated $10 million. Downtown-based Perkins + Will is the architecture firm. The project is set to wrap in late January 2007.
Plans for a $15 million expansion to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo have been put on hold, said Director of Administration Victor Wong. This summer, the group will focus on interior renovations to the existing space at 244 S. San Pedro St., improving elevators and heating and electrical systems. Plans for the 24,000-square-foot addition call for a digital education and learning center, a lecture and reception hall with state-of-the-art technical equipment, a 3,000-square-foot community gallery, a terrace bridge linking JACCC's main building with the Japan America Theatre, and a glass curtain wall that will provide the center with a contemporary facade. There is no timetable for the project.
LAC+USC MEDICAL CENTER REPLACEMENT FACILITY
Construction is about 60% complete on the $820 million hospital on a 25-acre parcel at Merengo and Chicago streets northeast of Downtown, said Brad Bolger, project director for the County of Los Angeles. Crews are working on framing, interior drywall, exterior cladding and installing utilities on the 1.5 million-square-foot facility. Plans call for a seven-story outpatient structure; a five-story diagnostic and treatment building; an eight-story inpatient tower; and a central energy plant. The 750-bed complex will replace a nearby facility damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Emergency Services and county bonds are financing the project. Los Angeles-based HOK and Santa Monica-based LBL Associated Architects are handling the designs. Bolger said the project is scheduled for completion by March 2007.
LITTLE TOKYO RECREATION CENTER
Bill Watanabe, executive director of the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), said he hopes to obtain a memorandum of understanding within the next few months for the construction of a $16 million recreation center south of the former St. Vibiana's Cathedral. The site is a city-owned parking lot at Second and Main streets. Plans include a multi-court gymnasium large enough to host major events; it will also serve as a community center. Watanabe said the new facility is envisioned as an economic driver for Little Tokyo, and that the LTSC will continue to raise funds for the center. He said the two-phase construction project could start as soon as spring 2006, and last up to three years.
SENIOR NURSING FACILITY
Plans for a nursing facility in Chinatown run by the Pacific Alliance Medical Center Health Foundation are still on hold, said Hector Cruz, project manager for Ontario-based HMC Group architects. Cruz said the decision was made by the health care operator, but would not provide a reason for the delay. If it moves forward, plans call for the facility on Hill Street between Alpine and Ord streets to be a 57,000-square-foot medical center with space for 129 beds.
WHITE MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER
The $150 million renovation of the White Memorial Medical Center at 1720 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. in Boyle Heights is moving ahead. Crews are working on the focal point of the renovation, the 167-bed, six-story Acute Care Tower. The renovation will bring larger patient rooms, improved nurses' stations and additional labor, delivery and recovery rooms. Completion is scheduled for early 2006. Crews are also renovating the three-story east tower, which houses rehabilitation units, and the four-story north tower, which holds the hospital's cancer center, medical library, resident lounge and administrative offices. A 90,000-square-foot Medical Office Building housing orthopedic care and a heart and diabetes center opened in August 2004 and an adjacent 507-car garage in front of the hospital debuted in January 2004. The 354-bed hospital serves about 165,000 people every year. The entire project should be complete by December 2007. Last year, boxer Oscar De La Hoya donated $1 million for the construction.
OPENED IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS
A.G. BARTLETT BUILDING
Construction wrapped in March on the $15 million residential conversion of the building at 215 W. Seventh St., said developer Barry Shy. The project turned the former home of Union Oil into 140 condominiums, all of which have sold, Shy said. Units range from 700 to 1,000 square feet. Shy purchased the 14-story Jewelry District property in 2001 for $5 million.
Last November the non-profit developer Esperanza Housing Corporation opened the $3.6 million, 15-unit affordable complex Alegria Apartments. The refurbished three-story structure at 801 W. 23rd St. includes a manager's office, a recreation room and a laundry facility.
The residential conversion of the building at 312 W. Fifth St./501 S. Broadway (also referred to as the Fifth and Broadway building) finished in December. Woodland Hills-based developer Barry Shy spent $20 million to turn the Historic Core structure into 280 condominiums with units ranging from 500 to more than 1,000 square feet. The property also includes a ground floor Rite-Aide pharmacy.
Construction wrapped in November on the $8 million, 35-unit City Lofts at 626 S. Spring St. in the Historic Core. Developers Izek Shomof and Eli Dromy turned the six-story Sassony Building (also known as the Mortgage Guarantee Building) into 35 one-bedroom and studio apartments, with two 15,000-square-foot retail storefronts. Rents in the 700- to 1,100-square-foot apartments range from $1,190 to more than $2,000. The 82-year-old building features 16-foot tall ceilings and a rooftop garden and fireplace. Last fall, 626 Gallery signed a lease for one of the storefronts.
FIRST 5 LA HEADQUARTERS
Construction wrapped in early January on the new headquarters of First 5 LA, said spokesman Garrison Frost. The three-story, 47,000-square-foot building at Alameda Street and the 101 Freeway houses about 70 employees of the nonprofit, which funds children's groups. First 5 LA was initially leasing the land from Catellus Development Corporation but decided in March to buy it. It paid $11 million, Frost said, and will lease the remaining space to other companies. The building sits on a former parking lot on the southwest corner of the land that houses Union Station. The nonprofit was formerly based at 333 S. Beaudry Ave.
FRANK RICE SAFEHAVEN
On Nov. 23, homeless services provider Lamp Community completed the $1.2 million renovation of its Central City East headquarters, which was renamed the Frank Rice Safehaven. Crews worked for more than six months to renovate the 35-year-old, 4,300-square-foot building at 627 S. San Julian St. that Lamp Community has occupied for 19 years. A 6,400-square-foot top floor increased capacity by 25% and provides organizers additional office and meeting space. The center is named after Frank Rice, a former vice president of Bullocks department store who, with homeless advocate Mollie Lowery, founded Lamp Community in 1985. The project was funded privately, with help from the Weingart and Ahmanson foundations, which donated a total of $250,000. Lowery recently stepped down and was replaced by Casey Horan.
MAIN STREET APARTMENTS
The former Rutland apartment building at 1821-1829 S. Main St. opened in January as the Main Street Apartments. The $6 million conversion by developer Playa Vista Property Management turned the 100,000-square-foot building into 135 studio and one-bedroom units. Half of the residences are designated affordable housing. The project includes a 30,000-square-foot retail space. It is part of Playa Vista's Genesis 2000 plan, a blueprint for creating affordable housing in underutilized Downtown buildings.
The Midnight Mission opened its new, three-story headquarters at Sixth and San Pedro streets April 10. The 120,000-square-foot facility tripled the homeless service provider's capacities, offering residents larger dorm rooms, improved storage areas and 14 studio apartments. The building also has a 6,000-square-foot gymnasium, a cafeteria and dining area, healthcare center, two-level administrative suite, day area and sitting room, computer lab, library and children's area. It replaced the mission's former headquarters at Fourth and Los Angeles streets, which it occupied for more than eight decades. Gin Wong Associates designed the $17 million project.
ROBERT TUTOR HALL
The $50 million, six-story Robert Tutor Hall opened Feb. 2. The 103,000-square-foot building, part of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, houses engineering offices, student lounges, cafes and classrooms. Named after USC Trustee Ronald N. Tutor, the Romanesque complex houses the research divisions of biomedical technology, information technology and nanotechnology. It was designed by AC Martin Partners.
SANTA FE ANNEX
The conversion of the eight-story Santa Fe Annex at 121 E. Sixth St. finished earlier this year. Hancock Park-based Kor Group turned the 1917 Beaux Arts structure into 103 lofts ranging from 530 to 3,000 square feet. The former office building was the home of Santa Fe Railroad.
Construction finished in mid-January on the 73-unit affordable housing complex at Fourth Street and Lucas Avenue, said project manager Andrew Gross. Developed by Brentwood-based Thomas Safran & Associates and the Housing Corporation of America, the nearly $14 million complex has one- to four-bedroom rental units, a computer lab, a recreational area and a picnicking park. All of the units are now occupied, Gross said. Torrance-based Withee Malcolm Partnership was the architect.
VISTA DEL SOL/PUEBLO DEL SOL
The $103 million mixed-income Vista del Sol and Pueblo del Sol opened in December on a 35-acre parcel on the eastern side of Downtown. Headed by the Lee Group, the Related Companies of California and McCormack Baron Salazar, the development includes 93 three- and four- bedroom homes ranging from 1,430 square feet to 1,578 square feet; they start at $415,000. Affordably priced houses go for an average $190,000. The complex's 377 apartments range from $368 to $948 for two- to four-bedroom units. The project, which added 435 units to the housing stock, replaces the former Aliso Village public housing complex, which was partially torn down in 1998.
Additional reporting by Kathryn Maese.
page 12, 5/9/2005
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