DTLA - What’s the hottest business sector in Downtown Los Angeles right now? Nightlife is an easy guess, as people from throughout the county flock here for the plethora of bars, restaurants and concert venues. The pet industry also qualifies, as it seems that every new resident has a dog or cat.
The most reliable field, however, may be the crane industry, as in those who make the machines that facilitate housing and other development. Just open your eyes and look up — the cranes are seemingly everywhere.
How long they will remain and when the economy turns no one knows, but for now they are proof of the continuing boom in Downtown development.
In the following pages, Los Angeles Downtown News runs down the latest information on 102 area projects. They run the gamut of location and use, from the $323 million Federal Courthouse in the Civic Center to the $1.2 billion Wilshire Grand replacement in the Financial District to a park in the Arts District to the multiple billion-dollar, multi-tower projects from Chinese developers in South Park.
The face of the community is changing in front of our eyes. Here’s a look at what is happening, and what all those cranes are bringing about.
These projects were either publicly announced, were revived or gained prominence in the past three months.
CAREER LOFTS: Newport Beach-based developer United American Properties has announced plans for two adjacent buildings at 675 S. Bixel St. and 1111 W. Seventh St. in City West. The architecture firm Humphreys & Partners is designing the project. One building in the Career Lofts would be a seven-story hotel with 126 guest rooms. The other, a 36-story residential tower, would create 422 apartments. The tower would also feature a podium deck with a dog park and pool, plus 5,600 square feet of ground-floor retail. Between the two buildings, there would be 596 parking spaces. The timeline and budget have not been announced.
CATALINA BUILDING: Newport Beach-based Statewide Acquisition Corp. bought the 1923 Catalina Building in the spring for $20.5 million. Now the new owners are turning the 39-unit edifice at 443 S. San Pedro St. into 78 live/work lofts. Fourteen of the residences will be penthouses. The ground floor will have two retail spaces. Stucco on the lower levels will be removed to reveal the original terra cotta façade. In honor of a previous occupant, the Catalina Swimwear Company, murals in the style of old swimwear pinup ads will be created on two sides of the property. The project is currently in the planning stage as the owners are trying to get the structure designated a historical landmark; the original architect was William Douglas Lee, who also designed the Chateau Marmont. Construction is expected to start in October. No budget has been announced.
FERRANTE: Prolific Downtown developer G.H. Palmer Associates has filed plans with the city for Ferrante, which would create approximately 1,500 apartments and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space on a 9.6-acre site at 1000 W. Temple St., along the western edge of the 110 Freeway and across from the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. The site currently holds a 10-story office building and a four-story parking structure that would have to be demolished. Ferrante would include parking for about 2,600 vehicles and 1,680 bicycles, according to documents filed with the City Planning department. Like Palmer’s other Downtown projects, Ferrante would have numerous indoor and outdoor amenities including rooftop decks and pools. No budget or timeline has been revealed, but initial documents suggest a 2018 completion. At ghpalmer.com.
FIG + PICO: New York City-based developer Lightstone is exploring plans to build a twin-tower hotel complex, with 1,100 rooms, in South Park. The project would rise across from the Los Angeles Convention Center, on a parking lot on the northeast corner of Figueroa Street and Pico Boulevard. The appropriately titled Fig + Pico would comprise 40- and 28-story hotel towers with 20,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Gensler and the firm Yabu Pushelberg are spearheading the exterior and interior designs, respectively, but before moving ahead, Lightstone is requesting development incentives from the city. The City Council has passed a motion to conduct a study into the economic feasibility of the hotel plan and what incentives could be offered. No budget or timeline have been announced.
GRAND AND CESAR CHAVEZ TOWER: According to published reports, developer Cimmarusti Holdings is reviving plans for a residential tower at the site of a Burger King restaurant at Grand and Cesar Chavez avenues; the idea of creating housing on the property was first floated before the recession. The building would stand 22 stories tall and have 299 units. There would also be 8,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and a 408-car parking garage. No budget or timeline have been announced.
OLYMPIC TOWER: Plans are in the works to replace the longstanding car wash at the northwest corner of Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard. Neman Real Estate Investments is working to build the 57-story Olympic Tower. Neman purchased the property in 2014 for a reported $25 million. Plans from architecture firm Nardi Associates show a tower with an exterior featuring a diamond pattern, LED lights and trees built into a wall in the middle of the building. The project would create 374 residential units, along with 373 hotel rooms and a rooftop pool and gym. There would also be 33,500 square feet of office space and 65,000 square feet of retail on the lower levels. Olympic Tower would include 838 parking spaces. Neman is still seeking entitlements. No budget or timeline have been announced.
ROW DTLA: Developer Atlas Capital bought the 30-acre, seven-building complex at Seventh and Alameda streets in 2014 and is now diving into final designs and early construction work on what it has rebranded as Row DTLA. The plan is to create 1.3 million square feet of creative office space, approximately 100 stores, more than 20 restaurants, and spaces for community gatherings and public events. The complex, known to many as the home of American Apparel, would have themed streets: “Market Row” would run along a pair of 70,000-square-foot, two-story buildings that would hold office tenants. It would be adjacent to “The End,” a public square, while nearby “Dock Street” would focus on dining options. “The Narrows” would offer cultural and entertainment-leaning storefronts, while “Center Street” would host an open-air produce market. The redevelopment does not have a specific timeline, but one feature will come this summer with the debut of Smorgasburg, an open-air Sunday market for vendors of food, home goods and artisanal products. No budget has been revealed. At rowdtla.com.
255 GRAND RENOVATION: Goldrich and Kest Industries and Shapell Properties’ redevelopment of the Grand Promenade tower continues. The companies are updating the 1989 Bunker Hill building to put it on par with the new residential projects in Downtown. The building has been re-christened 255 Grand. The $34 million project involves improvements to common spaces, updating infrastructure and redesigning the 391 apartments. The common area upgrades have already been completed, and the building has a new 2,200-square-foot gym. Units on 11 of the 27 floors have been renovated, according to Leasing Manager Marlo Capps, and crews from Mike Rovner Construction are currently working on updating the top two penthouse levels. The plan is for the renovation to be finished in September 2017.
801 E. FIFTH ST.: Developer Daryoush Dayan is still seeking entitlements for a 66,082-square-foot adaptive-reuse project near Skid Row, according to a project representative. Dayan intends to transform four buildings into micro-lofts. The structures at 801, 809 and 813 E. Fifth St. would become 132 market-rate apartments, while 28 units of veteran housing would be created across the street at 721 E. Fifth St. All of the residences are intended to be small, starting at 214 square feet. There would also be 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space. David Gray Architects is handling the designs. The timeline and budget have not been announced.
801 S. OLIVE ST.: San Francisco-based Carmel Partners’ 33-story residential tower at 801 S. Olive St. continues to rise, with the lower-level facade already wrapped in glass and steel. The project is slated to wrap in late 2017, according to company Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. The project at Eighth and Olive streets will have 363 units, with studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and eight penthouses. Amenities will include a rooftop pool and lounge area, a second pool and recreation area on the fifth-floor deck, a fitness center and more. There will also be 10,000 square feet of street-facing retail. The tower’s five-story parking facility will be wrapped in translucent panels so that it glows softly at night.
825 S. HILL ST.: Vancouver, Canada-based Onni Group broke ground on a 49-story tower just south of Eighth Street between Hill and Olive streets in February. The high-rise designed by Chris Dikeakos Architects will create 490 apartments, according to Onni Development Manager Mark Spector. The roof will feature a garden as well as a pool. The project will include 600 parking spaces on seven levels, two of them underground. The budget and timeline have not been revealed.
888 S. HOPE ST.: After a temporary delay in construction, the CIM Group’s 34-story apartment tower at 888 S. Hope St. is preparing to restart construction, according to a project representative. There will also be an outdoor terrace on the top level and about 6,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The tower will be next to a seven-story parking structure with 654 spaces. The parking podium’s deck will include a pool, open green space and a lounge. Construction is expected to begin in the summer. No budget has been revealed.
920 S. HILL ST.: Developer Barry Shy’s project at 920 S. Hill St. is still in the entitlement phase, according to project representative Kate Bartolo. Plans call for the building adjacent to the Ace Hotel to break ground in 2017. David Takacs Architecture is handling designs for the 32-story edifice that would create 239 condominiums, along with five ground-floor retail spaces. No budget has been announced.
950 E. THIRD ST.: Fairfield Residential and Legendary Development broke ground on a massive project in the Arts District in March. Dilip Bhavnani, a principal at Legendary, said the six-acre site will contain five six-story buildings. The complex will create 472 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and amenities will include rooftop decks and a courtyard. There will also be 22,000 square feet of retail space. Kava Massih Architects is designing the development at 950 E. Third St. Bhavnani said construction will take 30 months, and an opening is expected by late 2018.
950 S. BROADWAY: Developer G.H. Palmer Associates is continuing interior work on its first adaptive reuse project, a renovation of a small 1913 building at 950 S. Broadway. The seven-story edifice will feature 30 apartments, with a rooftop deck and about 7,500 square feet of retail space on the street and basement levels. The design from Killefer Flammang Architects includes re-creating a decorative cornice along the roofline and adding balconies to better reflect the original design. Completion of 950 S. Broadway is expected this summer, according to company head Geoff Palmer. 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 buildings at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway.
1001 S. OLIVE ST.: According to the most recent information available, developer Lennar Multifamily hopes to open a seven-story, 201-apartment complex at Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street this summer. The South Park project will include 12 two-story townhomes, a pool deck, a roof deck, a dog run and a large fitness center. The building will have 228 parking spaces spread across two levels, as well as 4,100 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
1212 S. FLOWER ST.: The Onni Group is still seeking entitlements for a pair of towers at 1212 S. Flower St. in South Park, according to company Development Manager Mark Spector. The project, being designed by Chris Dikeakos Architects, would create 31- and 40-story high-rises. The two towers would be connected via a landscaped podium deck. The project will go up next to an existing five-story office building. There would be a total of 730 residential units, along with 843 parking stalls. No budget or timeline have been announced.
1400 S. FIGUEROA ST.: DHG Family Trust broke ground on a South Park housing project in February and is now in the excavation stage. The development is expected to take 20 months to complete, with an anticipated opening in late 2017, according to Don Getman of GMP Architects, which is designing the project. The complex across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center will create 106 residential units and roughly 4,700 square feet of commercial space. There will also be a rooftop lounge and a second-floor pool deck. No budget has been revealed.
ALEXAN: Developer Trammell Crow Residential is awaiting a public hearing for its proposed Alexan project. Plans calls for building a 27-story tower at 850 S. Hill St. Designed by the architectural firm RTKL, the Alexan would have 305 apartments, 336 parking spaces and more than 300 bicycle parking spots. There would also be approximately 6,200 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Amenities in the steel and glass edifice would include a 2,700-square-foot rooftop deck and a landscaped podium deck on the seventh floor. The project has been opposed by residents of the neighboring Eastern Columbia Building, who claim it would block the Art Deco building’s iconic clock.
AMP LOFTS: Greystar Real Estate Partners bought the Amp Lofts site at 695 S. Santa Fe Ave. from Bolour Associates late last year for $43.4 million. A representative from Greystar said that the company is continuing the plan for the Amp Lofts in the Arts District, and is awaiting building permits. The development will create 320 live/work apartments, which would be joined by 20,000 square feet of commercial space and 390 parking spaces. Plans from the Shimoda Design Group call for a J-shaped complex comprised of two-, three- and seven-story buildings. There would also be a community garden and a dog park on the 2.38-acre site. Greystar did not announce a budget for the Amp Lofts, but under the previous owner it was projected at $130 million.
BEACON TOWER: Equity Residential is still pursuing entitlements for a 33-story tower at the northeast corner of Fourth and Hill streets. Though the project has been delayed — Equity applied for permits in March 2015 — the company anticipates breaking ground this summer, according to Equity Vice President of Development Dustin Smith. The project would rise on what is currently a surface parking lot, and would feature 428 apartments (studios, one- and two-bedroom units) and 2,900 square feet of ground-floor retail. The design from architecture firm TCA features a glass-heavy facade with balconies and a rooftop “beacon” for decorative lighting. The project near Pershing Square 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: Developers Barry Shy and Joe Bednar continue to seek entitlements for a 15-story condominium project at 955 S. Broadway. Plans for the building at Broadway and Olympic Boulevard call for the creation of 163 residential units, with a second-floor outdoor space, according to project representative Kate Bartolo. The rooftop would include a pool and there would be eight ground-level commercial spaces. The goal is to break ground in 2017 and construction is projected to take 18 months to two years.
BROADWAY PALACE: Developer G.H. Palmer Associates is in the framing stage on a two-building project at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway. Broadway Palace includes a 10-story, 439-apartment building and a six-story, 247-unit structure on adjacent lots. Unlike most of company head Geoff Palmer’s projects, which have a faux-Mediterranean look, Broadway Palace will have brick facades that complement the historic buildings on Broadway. The project with a total of 686 apartments will be complete in early 2017, according to company head Geoff Palmer. The complex is a partnership between Palmer and parking lot company L&R Group. At ghpalmer.com.
BUNKER HILL TOWERS UPGRADE: The $76 million renovation of the Bunker Hill Towers from owner Essex Apartment Homes continues, with the goal to upgrade 456 apartments in the 1969 complex by the end of 2017. The exact timing depends on when existing tenants leave or transfer to a temporary unit while improvements are made. The work in the pair of 19-story buildings at 234 S. Figueroa St. includes new HVAC systems and plumbing lines. All the windows are being replaced with more energy-efficient panes, and Essex plans to add full-size balconies on corner units and smaller balconies with sliding glass doors on center apartments. The plan includes the creation of a two-story amenity center, with a gym and pool deck, along Third Street between Flower and Figueroa streets, on a current parking lot. That work is expected to take place in 2017.
CIRCA: The first few floors of the massive podium of the Circa project, at 1200 S. Figueroa St. in South Park, are complete. The project from a development group composed of Hankey Investment Company, Jamison Services, Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital will create twin 36-story towers with a combined 648 luxury condominiums, sitting on top of a seven-story retail podium with 48,000 square feet of space. The complex will have 1,770 parking spots. Additional features at the approximately $500 million South Park development, designed by architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux, include a two-acre outdoor amenity deck and a 15,000-square-foot ribbon of LED signage along Figueroa. Circa is slated for completion in late 2017.
E. ON GRAND: Hollywood-based 4D Development has completed four floors of wood framing on a seven-story apartment building at 1249 S. Grand Ave. The $30 million E. on Grand, designed by architecture firm AFCO Design, will feature an articulated facade with colored accent panels and glass balconies on each of the 115 units. The project will contain studios and one- and two-bedroom residences averaging 670 square feet with rents of approximately $3.50 per square foot, according to 4D Development rep David Pourbaba. The South Park property will include a pool, sun deck, recreation room, gym and 120 underground parking stalls, as well as about 5,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The project is expected to open in late December. At 4ddevelopment.us.
ETCO HOMES LITTLE TOKYO: A groundbreaking for Beverly Hills-based developer Etco Homes’ eight-story condominium complex in Little Tokyo has been pushed back from March to June, according to Marketing Director Joy Maine. However, completion is still expected in the fall of 2017. Architecture firm BGA Inc. is handling designs for the 77-unit building at 118 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka St. It will offer one- and two-bedroom units from 700-1,200 square feet, and amenities will include a fitness center, pool, lounge, barbeques and dining areas. A dog run is also being discussed. There will be 2,500 square feet of retail space and three levels of parking and bicycle storage. The budget has not been revealed.
FOREST CITY/SOUTH PARK: Developer Forest City has begun framing on a pair of seven-story structures at 1100 S. Hill St. and 1200 S. Broadway. K.C. Yasmer of Forest City said the $135 million development is expected to open in the summer of 2017. The structure on Hill Street, which Forest City will connect to the nearby Herald Examiner Building via a pedestrian paseo, will contain 177 studio to two-bedroom units above 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The Broadway edifice will contain 214 studio to two-bedroom apartments, also above 7,500 square feet of retail. Residences in both buildings will range from 500-1,200 square feet, and amenities will include a pool, spa, outdoor deck, fitness center, barbeques, pet spas and a film room. The project will offer 500 parking stalls and 450 bicycle parking spaces.
G12: Both phases of developer Sonny Astani’s G12 project are now underway. The development will create two seven-story buildings with a total of 640 units, and residences will average 700 square feet. The first building, at 12th Street and Grand Avenue, will have 347 apartments, and an opening is expected in 2017. The second building, at Pico Boulevard and Olive Street, will have 293 units, and is scheduled to complete construction in 2018. Plans call for G12 to include 42,000 square feet of retail and commercial space as well as underground parking. No budget has been disclosed. At astanienterprises.com.
GAREY BUILDING: The Garey Building in the Arts District has begun pre-leasing in anticipation of a June opening. Tom Wulf, senior vice president of developer Lowe Enterprises, said that the finish work and landscaping are now taking place at the 320-unit apartment complex at 905 E. Second St. Lowe is partnering on the $60 million development with Megatoys and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The project on the site of the former Megatoys headquarters includes two five-story buildings between First and Second streets that flank Garey Street, which is now a pedestrian-only paseo. The project includes 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor dining along the paseo. Designed by Togawa Smith Martin Architects, the Garey Building will have studio to two-bedroom apartments that average 733 square feet. Residences will have open floor plans with features including nine-foot ceilings, gourmet kitchens, quartz countertops, and washers and dryers. The property contains four courtyards with one dedicated to pets and another offering a pool, spa and sundeck with grilling areas, fire pits and an indoor/outdoor lounge. Other amenities include a fitness center, pet salon, business center and a bike storage and repair area. The development is being constructed to LEED certification standards and will include 530 parking spaces for both retail and residential tenants. At thegareybldg.com.
GRAND RESIDENCES: City Century, LLC, a subsidiary of the Shanghai-based Shenglong Group, is seeking entitlements for a South Park residential tower, according to Stuart Morkun, City Century’s executive vice president of development. Tentatively dubbed the Grand Residences, the 24-story edifice at 1233 S. Grand Ave. is expected to break ground in the third quarter of the year. The hexagonal design from Steinberg Architects includes 161 apartments, with 15 studios, 93 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom units. The project would include 215 on-site parking spots. The budget has not been revealed.
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP/732 S. SPRING ST.: Developer Holland Partner Group has begun construction of a 24-story tower at 732 S. Spring St., according to Southern California division head Tom Warren. Renderings for the 276-unit building show a structure with glass and steel on the upper floors, and a number of protruding balconies on approximately a dozen levels over Spring Street. It would contain a pool and terrace, as well as about 7,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. Construction would take about 30 months.
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP/EIGHTH AND SPRING: Developer Holland Partner Group broke ground on a 24-story tower at Eighth and Spring streets in January, and construction is slated to last until summer 2018, according to Tom Warren, head of Holland Partner’s Southern California division. The 320-apartment building designed by Irvine-based architecture firm MVE & Partners will have an eclectic façade, melding a Beaux-Arts feel near the ground level with stone details, and a mix of steel-and-glass elements above. Amenities will include a pool, rooftop deck and 8,900 square feet of retail space. No budget has been revealed.
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP/SIXTH AND BIXEL: Crews are in the final stage of framing and will soon begin interior work on a pair of seven-story buildings at Holland Partner Group’s $200 million City West project. The complex will have 606 apartments in the new structures and a renovated medical building at Sixth Street and Lucas Avenue. The latter is expected to open this year, while the new properties would begin leasing in early 2017, with the final phase finishing the following year. 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, a pool, a public plaza and 300 trees.
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP/SOUTH PARK: Holland Partner Group has begun pre-construction work on a 28-story, 341-apartment tower at the southeast corner of Ninth and Figueroa streets in South Park, according to Tom Warren, head of the developer’s Southern California division. The Vancouver, Wash.-based company anticipates construction taking roughly two and a half years. Designs by Preston Partnership show 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. No budget has been revealed.
HOLLAND PARTNER GROUP/VIBIANA LOFTS: Vancouver, Wash.-based Holland Partner Group is continuing construction of a mid-rise apartment building with 237 units adjacent to the former St. Vibiana’s cathedral at Second and Main streets. The project is largely framed, and interior build-out will begin this summer, 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. It will also include about 4,000 square feet of retail space. The $90 million development, designed by Togawa Smith Martin, is expected to debut in the first quarter of 2017. The building will appear to be eight stories when viewed from Los Angeles Street and seven floors when seen from Main Street.
JADE ENTERPRISES/EMERALD: Developer Jade Enterprises is seeking entitlements for its South Park project the Emerald, according to a company spokesman. Designs from architecture firm MVE & Partners show a seven-story building with a pool. The 154-apartment project at 1340 S. Olive St. would also have approximately 11,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The project would include two levels of underground parking. No budget has been revealed.
JADE ENTERPRISES/ONYX: The Onyx rental complex is on track to finish construction in the first quarter of 2017, according to a representative of developer Jade Enterprises. Located at 440 W. Pico Blvd., the project consists of two seven-story buildings designed by the Downtown Los Angeles-based architecture firm TCA. The Onyx would create a total of 410 apartments and have 462 parking spaces. There would also be approximately 30,000 square feet of retail space. Currently the building has a construction fence of colorful designs made by children at the Metro Charter Elementary School as part of an anti-graffiti effort. The budget has not been revealed.
JADE ENTERPRISES/SAPPHIRE: Longtime Downtown property owner Jade Enterprises has revealed plans for its Sapphire project at 1111 W. Sixth St. in City West. The development would create 369 residential units in two buildings between Fifth and Sixth streets, connected by a sky bridge. Each building would contain two levels of underground parking and the Sapphire would have a total of 22,000 square feet of retail space. The site currently houses an office building that would be demolished to make room for the new structures. The developer is currently seeking entitlements. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
JADE ENTERPRISES/TOPAZ: Jade Enterprise’s Topaz development is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year, according to a company representative. The project at Sixth and Main streets in the Historic Core broke ground in 2014. The seven-story building will create 159 residential units, and there will be 23,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Jade would not reveal the budget.
MACFARLANE PARTNERS PROJECT: The long-awaited project just north of Pershing Square is slated to begin the first phase of construction by July, according to Jeff Barris, the director of development for Macfarlane Partners. The two-phase project on Fifth between Olive and Hill streets will create a total of 660 apartments in seven- and 24-story buildings. Barris said the first building, the mid-rise, will have 313 units, 7,500 square feet of retail and a 140-by-170-foot courtyard two stories above ground level. Construction is expected to take 28 months. The high-rise, which Barris anticipates will break ground later this year, will contain 347 residences and take 26 months to build. It will include a pool, lounge, business center and private dining area on the rooftop overlooking Pershing Square. Portland-based architects Ankrom Moisan are handling designs. Plans call for opening the first units in late 2018. No budget has been revealed.
MACK URBAN/SOUTH PARK: The first phase of Mack Urban’s six-acre South Park development is now under construction, with framing taking place on a seven-story, 362-apartment structure bordered by Pico Boulevard, Olive and Hill streets. It is scheduled to top out in early summer, according to a Mack Urban spokesperson. Residences will average approximately 761 square feet, and there will be 438 subterranean parking stalls and 4,000 square feet of retail space. A 38-story tower at Grand Avenue and 12th Street containing 562 residences is slated to break ground this month. The project will also hold 13,000 square feet of retail and a 10,000-square-foot park. AC Martin and Togawa Smith Martin are handling the designs. Three additional buildings, for which details have not yet been released, will complete the $1 billion project.
MARIONETTE LOFTS: Financing is in place for developer and landowner Eli Melech’s $20 million apartment structure above the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in City West, but no groundbreaking date has been. The project at 1345 W. First St., where the theater now stands, would involve building a five-story edifice with 102 one- to three-bedroom apartments above the designated Historic-Cultural Monument. Approvals from the city’s Office of Historic Resources and the Department of City Planning have been secured, Melech said. The commercial space on the ground floor, including the theater, would remain unchanged, and could serve as a lobby to the new project, according to Melech.
SB OMEGA: Developer Barry Shy’s long-planned Historic Core project is still in the environmental review process. Current plans call for a 38-story edifice with 452 apartments at 601 S. Main St. The building would include a seven-story parking podium and there would also be space for bicycles. When work on the project at Sixth and Main streets does begin, plans call for construction to take about 18 months.
TEN50: The $100 million luxury condominium complex at 1050 S. Grand Ave. in South Park topped out in early April. San Francisco-based developer Trumark Urban’s managing director, Arden Hearing, said that unit framing and exterior window system installation is complete on the lower floors. The 25-story edifice will contain 151 one- and two- bedroom residences that range from 686-1,368 square feet. There will also be one- and two-story penthouses. The condos will feature hardwood floors and expansive windows. Ten50 will have a fifth-floor pool deck with cabanas, a fitness center, entertainment rooms and small pockets of green space, as well as 251 underground parking spaces. Downtown-based architecture firm Hanson-L.A. is handling the design, which is highlighted by the Rubik’s Cube-esque glass features overlooking the street. The project is on track to finish in the fall, with move-ins slated for the end of the year. At ten50.la.
THE HILL: Entitlements are still being sought for a 20-story project at Ninth and Hill streets, according to the project manager. Fred Shaffer of Saiko Investment Corp., which is managing the development dubbed The Hill, said that he expects to be finished with the planning process by the end of summer. The project, which would include 234 studio to three-bedroom apartments, comes from a Korean investment group calling itself 940 Hill LLC. It would include 355 parking spaces on six levels, two of them below grade. The Hill will have a pool, rooftop garden and 14,000 square feet of commercial space. The budget is $130 million and construction is expected to take two years.
TITLE INSURANCE BUILDING: According to the most recent available information, construction continues at the 1928 Title Insurance Building at Fourth and Spring streets. Developer Capital Foresight’s project will create 215 residential units with 60,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. Interior demolition, seismic upgrades and infrastructure improvements are all underway at the 13-story Art Deco edifice. Capital Foresight anticipates the work will last into 2017.
VALENCIA: Sonny Astani’s $60 million Valencia project in City West is slightly behind schedule, with move-ins now expected in early June. Killefer Flammang Architects designed the six-story building at 1501 Wilshire Blvd., which offers 218 apartments comprised of 626-square-foot studios, 686-square-foot one-bedrooms, and 1,039-square-foot two-bedroom units. All of the apartments will have nine-foot ceilings, laundry facilities and private balconies. Studios start at $1,500, while one-bedrooms go from $1,795 and two-bedrooms begin at $2,325. The project includes 20,000 square feet of landscaped recreation space, with barbeque areas, a pool, spa, fitness center and billiards room. There is underground parking and 244 bicycle spaces. There will be 4,400 square feet of retail space. At wilshirevalencia.com.
WAKABA L.A.: Move-ins at developer Sares-Regis’ apartment complex at 232 E. Second St. are set to commence at the end of the month, according to Sares-Regis Communications Director Zoe Solsby. The Little Tokyo development at the corner of San Pedro and Second streets will debut its initial phase of residences while work continues on other parts of the project; it will be fully open by September. The seven-story Wakaba L.A. (“wakaba” is Japanese for “young leaf”) will have 240 studio, one and two-bedroom apartments that range from 519-1,750 square feet. Studios start at $2,020, according to Wakaba’s website, while one-bedrooms begin at $2,295. The $84 million development also has 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. There are three levels of subterranean parking and two floors above ground, providing a total of 472 parking spaces. At wakabala.com.
BLOSSOM PLAZA: Developer Forest City has completed about 95% of the five-story, $100 million project at 900 N. Broadway in Chinatown, and pre-leasing began last month, said Forest City Vice President Frank Frallicciardi. Only minor site work, landscaping and finish detailing remain, and the company hopes to begin move-ins in early June. The building, designed by Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain, will offer 237 studio to three-bedroom apartments, 53 of which will be reserved for low-income tenants. Market-rate rents will start at around $2.50-$3.50 per square foot. The ground floor will include 19,000 square feet of retail space, which Forest City is starting to lease. The project will include a 17,000-square-foot public plaza and walkway that connects Broadway to the nearby Metro Gold Line station. Blossom Plaza will have 175 public parking spaces. At blossomplazaapts.com.
BROADWAY TRADE CENTER: The restoration and transformation of the massive Broadway Trade Center at 830 S. Hill St. continues. New York-based Waterbridge Capital acquired the former department store about 18 months ago, and work is expected to last for approximately three more years, according to project representative Elizabeth Peterson. Construction crews are currently working on rebuilding the infrastructure of the complex on Eighth Street between Hill Street and Broadway. The addition of a series of mezzanine levels will create a 15-story building with more than 1 million square feet of space. When finished, there will be creative office space, a 153-room hotel and 600 parking stalls. The first two floors will become a marketplace dubbed “Earth Market,” with a variety of vendors, along with four bars and four restaurants. Additionally, the rooftop will be transformed, with the developer adding a park and swimming pool.
CITY MARKET: Tenants improvements are taking place at the first phase of the massive City Market complex, dubbed City Market South, and the businesses are expected to open in late summer and early fall, according to Mark Levi of the Lena Group, which is developing the project. The tenant roster in the 75,000-square-foot phase at 11th and San Julian streets includes the Italian restaurant Rossoblu, the Vietnamese-focused Slanted Door and an as-yet unnamed bar from the team behind Studio City’s Black Market Liquor Bar. A boutique coffee shop will also open at the complex. Entitlements are still being sought for later phases of City Market. The entire project could cost up to $1 billion, and is expected to take nearly two decades. Developed by Peter Fleming, the complete City Market will have 225,000 square feet of retail space, 295,000 square feet of office space, 210 hotel rooms and 945 residential units. The development will transform the land on San Pedro and San Julian between 11th and 12th streets. At citymarketla2.com.
COLLEGE STATION: The final design process for the Chinatown mega-development College Station is underway, and developer Atlas Capital Group plans to break ground by the end of the year, according to a project representative. Designed by Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain, College Station would feature six low-rise buildings with retail space on the ground floor and various plazas and paseos in between the structures. It would be spread across a 5.7-acre site at Spring and College streets (near the southern tip of Los Angeles State Historic Park). The project, initially envisioned as a high-rise development, would have a total of 770 apartments and 51,000 square feet of retail, including a roughly 37,000-square-foot market.
HERALD EXAMINER RENOVATION: According to the most recent available information, the Hearst Corp., the owner of the Herald Examiner Building, is partnering with New York-based Georgetown Company to redevelop the 1914 structure, with the goal of transforming it into a 100,000-square-foot creative office complex with retail and restaurant space. Construction on the property at 1111 S. Broadway is slated to begin by the end of the second quarter and finish in late 2017, with a budget of about $40 million. 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.
LA PLAZA CULTURA VILLAGE: The groundbreaking for La Plaza Cultura Village, from the La Plaza cultural facility and development partner Trammell Crow, will take place by the end of June, according to Jim Andersen, senior vice president at Trammell Crow. Some small changes have been made to the plans for the massive mixed-use development, with designs from Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain. It would rise on a 3.7-acre site near Olvera Street, creating 355 (up from a previous 345) residential units in five- and eight-story buildings, with 20% of the apartments set aside for low-income tenants. The project would include about 43,000 square feet of restaurants, cafes and shops, along with more than 700 parking spaces in subterranean and above-grade structures. The project would rise on two parking lots on either side of Broadway. It is scheduled to open in 2019. At lapca.org.
LUXE HOTEL REPLACEMENT: Chinese developer Shenzhen Hazens is working to finalize designs and secure permits for its $700 million, three-tower mega-project that would bring condominiums, shops, restaurants and hotel rooms to the current Luxe Hotel site near L.A. Live. The first phase would include a 32-story, 250-room W Hotel and a 32-story condominium tower along 11th Street at Figueroa and Flower streets. The two structures would be connected by an eight-story podium with open-air amenities on top. A second phase would bring a 42-story tower to Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard, where the Luxe City Center hotel now stands. The South Park project would create a total of 650 condominiums. There would be 80,000 square feet of retail space, most of it fronting Figueroa Street. Shenzen Hazens hopes to break ground in 2017, with completion in 2020.
METROPOLIS: All four towers of the Metropolis mega-project are under construction. The initial phase, consisting of an 18-story, 350-room Hotel Indigo and a 38-floor condominium tower, is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The second phase, with 40- and 56-story condominium buildings, broke ground in December and is scheduled to finish in 2018. The project from Chinese developer Greenland Group features designs from Gensler, with an emphasis on glass structures decorated with steel framework. The towers will sit on parking podiums that include two levels with more than 70,000 square feet of retail space along Francisco Street. Amenities in the buildings adjacent to the 110 Freeway will include fitness centers, outdoor pools and several small parks on top of decks. Metropolis, 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 its Oceanwide Plaza about a year ago, and it is on track to open the three-tower project in 2018. The $1 billion development will consist of a 49-story tower and two 40-floor buildings, all sitting on top of a 100-foot-tall podium across the street from Staples Center. Plans call for the South Park 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 retail center with more than 166,000 square feet of retail space.
SUNCAL/SIXTH AND ALAMEDA: Irvine-based developer Suncal, in a partnership with Michael Dell’s investment firm MSD Capital, is wrapping up the design phase for its 15-acre mixed-use complex at Sixth and Alameda streets. Suncal spent $130 million to acquire the Arts District property and is working with Swiss architecture firm Herzog & deMuron on a design that incorporates a mix of high-rise towers and low-slung buildings. Suncal anticipates releasing initial designs by the end of spring, according to Dan Rosenfeld, a land-use consultant for the group. The project could include residential, retail and creative office components in multiple buildings. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
THE GRAND: Developer Related Cos. remains in discussions with potential equity partners for the $850 million development known as The Grand, and according to the schedule approved by the joint powers authority that oversees the project on city- and county-owned parcels, construction must begin by Nov. 30, 2017. The project on Grand Avenue south of First Street, designed by Frank Gehry, would include a residential tower with approximately 380-450 units (20% set aside as affordable housing), a 300-room Equinox-branded hotel tower, 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 already completed Grand Park and the apartment complex The Emerson.
WILSHIRE GRAND REPLACEMENT: The Wilshire Grand replacement is now 70% complete, according to a project spokesperson, and goal is to open the building at Seventh and Figueroa streets on March 8, 2017. The 73-story building held a topping-out ceremony this past March, and plans call for raising the rooftop spire in September. With the central core topped out, work is progressing at lower levels, with crews doing tasks such as installing floors and windows. The $1 billion project, which will be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi, will have 900 hotel rooms operated by InterContinental, along with 400,000 square feet of office space. Plans also call for restaurants and retail space. The Wilshire Grand replacement is being developed by Hanjin International, with a design from the Downtown-based architecture firm AC Martin. At wilshiregrandcenter.com
ARTS DISTRICT PARK: The new park in the Arts District is on track to finish construction in the fall, according to Rick Coca, a spokesman for 14th District City Councilman José Huizar. The half-acre park at Fifth and Hewitt streets will include a mural wall, a performance space, a playground for children and a shade structure. Work started in December 2014, but construction was delayed due to the discovery of contaminants in the soil. That has been remediated. The budget is $1.6 million.
CHINATOWN PARK: The City Department of Recreation and Parks has approved the plans for a new Chinatown park, and construction on the attraction at Ord and Yale streets is expected to begin this year. The park is an expansion of the existing Alpine Recreation Center, according to Fredy Ceja, communications director for First District City Councilman Gil Cedillo. Plans call for the park to include fitness machines, a children’s playground, artwork and a shade structure. The project is still seeking $1.5 million to fund subterranean structural support, but has secured $8.25 million to finance construction. The park is scheduled to open in winter 2017.
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE: The 625,000-square-foot Federal Courthouse at First Street and Broadway has pushed back its completion date from July to late August, according to Traci Madison of the U.S. General Services Department. Builder Clark Construction is working on the $323 million project designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill that will have 24 district courtrooms, 32 judges’ chambers and offices for the U.S. Marshals Service on 10 floors. Currently work crews are installing building finishes such as flooring, paint and ceilings, while sidewalks, planters and other hardscape elements are being installed on the project’s Hill Street, First Street and Broadway exteriors. The project is aiming for LEED Platinum certification with sustainable and energy-efficient elements including a pleated glass exterior that will cut solar heat gain, store energy and maximize natural light inside the building.
FIGUEROA CORRIDOR BIKEWAY: Construction of the three-mile Figueroa Corridor bikeway project, officially known as MyFigueroa, has been pushed to later this summer, according to a project representative. The roughly $20 million bikeway will run from Seventh Street in Downtown to 41st Street in South L.A., with a primary spine on Figueroa Street. 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 project must be completed by March 2017 as a condition of its funding from state Proposition 1C. At myfigueroa.com.
FIRST AND BROADWAY PARK: Four teams are finalists and a winner is expected to be named in June to design a park on a city-owned piece of land at First Street and Broadway, across from City Hall. Rick Coca, a spokesman for 14th District City Councilman José Huizar, said work on the park adjacent to Grand Park is expected to start in late 2017. The four finalists are Eric Owen Moss Architects, Brooks + Scarpa, AECOM and Mia Lehrer + Associates. The First and Broadway park is estimated to cost $20 million, of which $14.1 million in Quimby funds has been secured. The city Department of Recreation and Parks also has identified $3.65 million for the development.
LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK: The renovation of the 34-acre park on the edge of Chinatown continues, with the focus on landscaping now that several structures, including restrooms and a visitors’ center, have been completed. The project is expected to finish this summer, according to a city representative. The work began in April 2014 but hit delays after the discovery of archaeological finds and toxic waste on the site; the latter required remediation work and the 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 large pedestrian bridge for sightseeing and a paved parking area. At lashp.wordpress.com.
LOS ANGELES STREETCAR: Backers of the Los Angeles Streetcar are searching for ways to cover the cost of the urban circulator, which last year was pegged at $282 million (project proponents say this can be brought down to $250 million). One potential source was announced in March, with $200 million being earmarked by Metro as part of its proposed $120 billion county ballot measure to fund regional transportation projects with a half-cent sales tax increase. However, that depends on voters actually approving the tax hike. The streetcar was initially announced in 2008 by 14th District City Councilman José Huizar, and he still hopes to have it operating by 2020. The streetcar, which would run in a 3.8-mile loop with a main spur on Broadway, has secured $65 million for construction via a tax levied on property owners along the route. It is also still in the hunt for a $100 million federal “Small Starts” grant, and officials are exploring public-private partnerships. Meanwhile, preliminary engineering and design efforts have begun, with 30% of the work expected to be finished by the end of the year. A draft of the project’s environmental impact report will be released this summer and completed by the end of 2016, according to officials.
MERCED THEATER AND MASONIC HALL: RoTo Architects is still working on designs for the $23 million overhaul of the city-owned Merced Theater and Masonic Hall near Olvera Street. Bureau of Engineering spokeswoman Mary Nemick said those are expected to be complete by early June. Plans call for the building’s east and west facades to retain their historic look, while the south-facing perimeter will be overhauled to bring in more natural light and provide additional space for public access station Channel 35’s two television studios; the station will occupy much of the building’s 18,000 square feet of space. In addition, the complex will get a 50-seat auditorium open to the public for special events, office space, conference rooms, editing bays and parking for Channel 35 vans. Groundbreaking is scheduled for January 2017, after the project has been awarded to a contractor.
PERSHING SQUARE REDESIGN: On May 12, the nonprofit Pershing Square Renew and the office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar announced that the Paris-based firm Agence Ter had won a competition to redesign the five-acre park in the heart of the Financial District. The competition began last fall, and dozens of international firms had submitted entries. Agence Ter’s design is centered on the concept of “radical flatness,” which involves lowering the flat expanse of Pershing Square (the public park sits atop a parking garage) so that it is level with surrounding streets. This will create easy access and views from Fifth, Sixth, Olive and Hill streets. There would also be a “smart canopy,” a lengthy structure that would run along Hill Street from Fifth to Sixth streets, which would provide an expanse of shade, with shops and cafes underneath. Other elements would include a central lawn to host movie screenings and community events, a plaza on the Sixth Street side of the park, and on the western edge, gardens with edible plants and water features, including a reflecting pool directly across from the Millennium Biltmore Hotel). No timeline has been announced, and budget details are expected to be released in coming weeks. At pershingsquarerenew.com.
REGIONAL CONNECTOR: Construction on the $1.55 billion rail line continues in Little Tokyo, where the intersection of First and Alameda streets is being prepped in advance of underground tunneling. Closures of the Little Tokyo station and neighboring streets to relocate Gold Line tracks started in January and ended in March. Construction of the stations at First Street and Central Avenue, Second and Hope streets, and Second Street and Broadway is also ongoing. The 1.9-mile Regional Connector will join area light rail lines to streamline cross-county travel and reduce the need for transfers. Underground tunneling (starting in Little Tokyo and moving west to Seventh Street/Metro Center) is slated to begin in early 2017. The project is expected to open in 2020. At metro.net/projects/connector.
SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT: The 3,500-foot-long Sixth Street Viaduct, which for nearly a century connected Downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, is approximately 30% demolished, according to the city Bureau of Engineering. It is being torn down because of a condition that caused its concrete to weaken, raising safety concerns. Work started Feb. 5 and demolition is scheduled to last nine months. Once it has been razed, a new bridge will rise. Designed by architect Michael Maltzan, it will have a “ribbon of arches” theme, with bicycle and pedestrian space, and on the Arts District side there will be an arts park named for and funded by local developer Leonard Hill. The replacement is scheduled to be finished in 2019. The total budget is $449 million. At sixthstreetviaduct.org.
UNION STATION RENOVATION: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority continues to prepare the environmental impact report for a makeover of Union Station, and expects to finish this year. That would allow major physical work to begin in 2017. The Union Station Master Plan has two main components: It would build a larger indoor-outdoor passenger concourse to connect travelers to an updated rail yard, and it would demolish the 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. Metro last October secured a $12.3 million Caltrans grant to begin with streetscape improvements along Alameda Street. At metro.net/projects/la-union-station.com.
BUDOKAN OF LOS ANGELES: Nonprofit developer the Little Tokyo Service Center is continuing fundraising for the Budokan of Los Angeles. Despite having secured more than 80% of the $23.5 million budget, groundbreaking has been pushed back to 2017, said the fundraising campaign’s director, Mike Murase. The proposed 88,000-square-foot sports and activities complex on Los Angeles between Second and Third Streets in Little Tokyo would have a two-court gymnasium, a rooftop park, event space and small community rooms. The project will host basketball and volleyball courts, martial arts and other activities. At budokanoflosangeles.com.
GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL MEDICAL PAVILION: The $80 million Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Pavilion, which had been scheduled to debut late last year, is now on track to open in the third quarter of this year, according to hospital spokeswoman Katrina Bada. Physician offices and the Specialties Clinic will also open in the third quarter, Bada added. The 190,000-square-foot development will hold the Frank R. Seaver Ambulatory Surgery Center, with eight operating suites. The architect is Ware Malcomb and the builder is Millie and Severson. The project at Wilshire Boulevard and Witmer Street will also have a pharmacy, outpatient clinics and the hospital’s Surgical Specialties Clinic.
ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: The Italian American Museum is preparing for an early June opening, according to museum Executive Director Marianna Gatto. The long-in-the-works project at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument has finished interior upgrades, said Gatto. Construction crews are now restoring the façade of the 1908 Italian Hall at 125 Paseo de la Plaza. Gatto said that the inaugural exhibit, a look at the Italian-American cultural experience from the birth of Los Angeles to the present day, is being installed. The $4.5 million museum will feature historic documents and artifacts, including photographs and maps. At italianhall.org.
VARIETY ARTS CENTER: Downtown-based Robhana Group in January began a renovation of the 92-year-old Variety Arts Center at 940 S. Figueroa St. in South Park. The core of the building is being modernized with new infrastructure systems such as electrical, plumbing and air conditioning. Historic upgrades are being undertaken by the Spectra Company before a new tenant, the mega-church Hillsong L.A., moves in by the end of the year. The 1924 Variety Arts Center has a ground-floor theater with 1,100 seats, a smaller theater space on the third floor, and room for offices or other uses on the fourth and fifth floors. Hillsong will use the main theater for its Sunday services and have offices on upper floors. Additional unused space would be rented out to other tenants, according to Robhana Group head Robert Hanasab.
537 S. BROADWAY: Work continues at 537 S. Broadway, the six-story Art Deco structure being renovated by Beverly Hills-based developer King’s Arch. Interior construction is expected to wrap in the third quarter of this year, according to a company representative. King’s Arch bought the structure for $7.35 million last year and announced plans to turn it into creative office space. The renovation includes a seismic retrofit, new electrical and plumbing systems, and restoration of the intricately decorated facade. King’s Arch aims to recruit tech, media and fashion companies to the building, according to a company representative. The 1931 structure was originally designed by prominent Los Angeles architects Percy A. Eisen and Albert R. Walker.
AT MATEO: The Arts District’s At Mateo complex is expected to open on March 1, 2017, according to a project representative. Max Radji, vice president of leasing at Blatteis and Schnur, which is developing the project, said that the company is looking for tenants to fill the 130,000 square feet of retail space and 50,000 square feet of creative office space. There will also be parking for 540 cars. Blatteis and Schnur paid $32.5 million for the property at Mateo and Palmetto streets in 2014, and has spent more than $30 million on developing the complex, although Radji declined to give the current budget. Designed by Edge Architecture, the retail and office center is using repurposed wood, bricks and concrete. At atmateo.com.
CONVENTION CENTER RENOVATION: The future of the Los Angeles Convention Center now has two official paths. Last June, a city panel picked the team of HMC Architects and Populous to handle a $470 million renovation of the aging convention complex that is divided into two buildings. Their design would create a ballroom on the top of the Figueroa Street venue and erect a new structure that bridges over Pico Boulevard, creating the contiguous space desired by meeting planners. The proposal would also tweak the West Hall to create a large “outdoor ballroom,” with a large staircase drawing people in from Gilbert Lindsay Plaza just south of Staples Center. However, a December report from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana threw the HMC/Populous plan into question, as it would require traditional city financing rather than Santana’s preferred public-private partnership, which would put the costs on a private developer. The city is analyzing the pros and cons of each financing plan, and is expected to decide on which option to pursue in June.
FORD BUILDING: The redevelopment of the Ford Factory Building in the southern portion of the Arts District continues, with the bulk of construction expected to be finished by the end of September, according to Andrew Neilly of San Francisco-based developer Shorenstein Properties. The project involves turning the five-story edifice at Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue into 254,000 square feet of creative office space. Shorenstein bought the 1912 building, along with two nearby structures, in 2014 for $37 million. One of those properties is being turned into a 600-stall parking garage. No tenants have been announced, nor has a budget been released. At fordfactoryla.com.
HARRIS BUILDING: Developer Jade Enterprises expects to have new tenants in a restored Fashion District building at the southwest corner of 11th and Main streets by the end of summer. The seven-story Harris Building was constructed in 1923 and was originally designed by architect Henry Haywood Hewitt; it initially housed Morris Harris’ Union Manufacturing Company. Now it is being turned into a creative office hub. The brokerage firm Industry Partners is leasing the second through seventh levels, which average 7,600 square feet. The ground floor will hold 6,400 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Jade Enterprises overhauled the infrastructure, put in new plumbing, HVAC and other systems, and is installing bike racks inside the building. The office space will rent for approximately $3 per square foot.
ONE BUNKER HILL UPGRADES: Development firm Rising Realty Partners last fall teamed up with Lionstone Investments and Hermes Investment Management to buy One Bunker Hill, a 12-story Art Deco structure at Fifth Street and Grand Avenue. Now plans for a renovation and rebranding of the 1931 building are in the works. Specifics have not been revealed, but Rising officials have said that initial steps will involve upgrading the property’s systems, including the elevators and its technology and fiber-optic capabilities. Rising also expects to undertake exterior and interior modifications on the edifice that features a central tower with terra cotta tiling. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
SKYSPACE AT U.S. BANK TOWER: The U.S. Bank Tower’s 69th-floor observation deck, 70th-floor event space and 71st-floor restaurant, together dubbed Skyspace L.A., has an opening date: June 25. Singapore-based OUE spent $60 million on the upgrade to its tower in the Financial District. Admission is expected to be $25, according to OUE. Visitors will also be able to explore a 54th-floor tech-driven exhibit that shows off the city’s topography and other features, and there will be an outdoor slide that visitors can ride on the 70th floor. Skyspace is part of an overall $100 million upgrade at U.S. Bank Tower, with OUE also improving the elevators, the lobby and the streetscape along Fifth Street. That work is expected to be complete this summer. At skyspace-la.com.
SOHO HOUSE: The London-based club Soho House announced in 2014 that it is converting the six-story, 1917 building at 1000 S. Santa Fe Ave. into a branch of its private club. The project is currently on track to open in early 2017, according to Allison Wagner, Soho House’s director of communications for North America. The Arts District building will be transformed, adding a market, bar, gym, screening room, rooftop pool and 16 hotel rooms. The redevelopment is being designed by Killefer Flammang Architects. Soho House bought the edifice for $18.5 million, but the renovation budget has not been not disclosed. At sohohouse.com
THE BLOC: Developer the Ratkovich Company is in the final stage of a $180 million transformation of the former Macy’s Plaza office, hotel and shopping complex. The Bloc has been turned from a 1970s-style mall to an open-air destination following the removal of a portion of the roof that fronts Seventh Street. Construction is expected to finish in the summer and there will be a series of roll-out events, according to a project representative. The lineup includes a flagship Macy’s store, Free Market and Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse. The Ratkovich Company and movie chain Alamo Drafthouse continue to work on plans for the design and location of a nine-screen movie theater in the mall. The Sheraton hotel completed a $40 million renovation and was rebranded as the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles. At theblocdowntown.com.
CLARK HOTEL: New York-based Chetrit Group’s planned 348-room Clark Hotel at 426 S. Hill St. still does not have an opening date, and the project remains in the final stage of construction, according to a representative. The Historic Core hotel, which has been delayed for years, was most recently headed toward an opening earlier this year. The renovated 11-story structure just north of Pershing Square 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. Chetrit Group acquired the property more than a decade ago. An operator has not been revealed.
EMBASSY HOTEL: Although a project representative said the New York-based Chetrit Group has mostly built out the Embassy Hotel, it remains in a sort of limbo. There is no timeline to completion, according to the representative. The renovation of the historic edifice at 831 S. Grand Ave. will feature 183 guest rooms and the return of its Trinity Auditorium. A pool deck has been built on the roof and an outdoor patio is being constructed along Ninth Street. As with Chetrit Group’s other proposed Downtown project, the Clark Hotel, the Embassy has been owned by the company for more than a decade, and has missed repeated opening dates. An operator has not been revealed.
FREEHAND HOTEL: New York-based Sydell Group and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Company are deep into the transformation of the Commercial Exchange Building at 416 W. Eighth St. into a 200-room Freehand Hotel. A full interior renovation of the 1924 edifice has created the new rooms, while outside a rooftop pool and lounge are being built. Upgrades to the aged property’s infrastructure systems are also part of the project. The hotel is slated to open by the end of the year, according to a project representative. The Freehand will have traditional hotel rooms as well as hostel-style accommodations with multiple beds in group rooms. There will be ground-floor space for retail and a restaurant, and the neon sign on the corner of the structure is being preserved. Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the designs. Sydell is also transforming Giannini Place on Seventh Street into a hotel. At thefreehand.com/losangeles.
HOTEL FIGUEROA RENOVATION: The renovation of the Hotel Figueroa, known for its wall triptych facing L.A. Live, is well underway. The entire property is in demolition as rooms are being expanded and public spaces improved, according to Bradley Hall, managing partner of Capital Hall Partners, which acquired the South Park landmark with investment partner Green Oak Real Estate in mid-2014. Hall’s Urban Lifestyle Hotel Group will manage the building when it reopens at the end of the summer. The 13-story, 240,000-square-foot edifice, built as a YWCA hotel for women travelers in 1927 and later transformed into the Moroccan-themed Hotel Figueroa, is undergoing a restoration of its original Italian Renaissance facade and Spanish Colonial interior. The upgraded hotel will be a boutique establishment with amenities such as high-speed Internet service, a fitness and wellness center at the pool area and a rooftop vegetable garden, which will supply the hotel’s restaurants with produce. The approximately 270 guest rooms in the building at 939 S. Figueroa St. will range from 300-500 square feet. Parking will remain outside, in a lot next to the hotel. At hotelfigueroa.com.
HOXTON HOTEL: The London-based investment firm Ennismore bought a 10-story, 89,136-square-foot building at 1060 S. Broadway in 2015 for $30 million and plans to convert it into one of Ennismore’s Hoxton hotels. The boutique Hoxton chain is known for built-in nightlife, restaurants and modern designs. The timeline and budget for the project have not been announced. The 1922 edifice started life as the Los Angeles Railway Building, the headquarters for the Los Angeles Railway’s Yellow Cars.
J.W. MARRIOTT EXPANSION: Last 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 early 2017. Plans call for the $500 million project, which would be built with union labor and create over 700 jobs, to be designed by architecture firm Gensler. The project, which will rise on a 60,000-square-foot lot at the northeast corner of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street, is expected to open in 2019. The new building 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, function and conference space over L.A. Live’s existing Event Deck.
MILLENNIUM BILTMORE HOTEL RENOVATION: The Millennium Biltmore Hotel is on track to finish its renovation by mid-2017, according to hotel marketing manager Kendra Walker. Crews have overhauled 164 of the Financial District hotel’s 683 rooms. The renovation in the property at 506 S. Grand Ave. includes adding new carpets, repainting rooms and installing new fixtures and furniture throughout the hotel.
NOMAD HOTEL: The New York firm Sydell Group bought the 1923 Giannini Place, at 649 S. Olive St., for $39 million last year and has begun turning the former Bank of Italy headquarters into the 250-room Nomad Hotel. Scaffolding has gone up on the outside of the Financial District landmark, and the schedule calls for opening the hotel in fall 2017, according to a project representative. The 12-story edifice at Seventh and Olive streets stood empty for more than a decade before Sydell acquired it. Under designs from Killefer Flammang Architects, the old banking floor is being turned into a large lobby, and the first floor will hold a bar and restaurant. An event space and swimming pool will be constructed on the roof. The hotel is expected to have rooms with a higher price point than Sydell’s Freehand Hotel at 416. W. Eighth St.
PROPER HOTEL: The 13-story building at 1106 S. Broadway, long known as the Case Hotel, will become a Proper Hotel, part of a 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 2013. 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. The developers, who did not return recent requests for comment, previously stated that amenities would include a swimming pool on the seventh floor and a basketball court on the sixth floor. The project’s website says the hotel will open in early 2017. Downtown architecture firm Omgivning is handling the designs. At properhotel.com/downtown-la.
SPRING STREET HOTEL: A change has been made to New York-based investment firm Lizard Capital’s planned hotel at 633 S. Spring St.: It will now include parking. Initial plans called for having parking offsite due to the narrow, 105,000-square-foot lot. Now, the 176-room hotel will have an unspecified number of above-ground parking spaces that won’t be visible from the street. The 28-story project — the site is currently a parking lot — is being designed by architect Adam Sokol. The hotel will have a concrete, column-heavy design on its lower levels, part of an effort to fit in with other buildings along Spring Street. The upper floors would have a more modern look, with glass and steel elements. The project would include a rooftop pool. The hotel is still seeking entitlements, and no budget or timeline have been revealed, although a representative of Sokol’s firm said construction should take two years.
TUCK HOTEL: The hospitality group Tuck Ventures’ long-in-the-works boutique hotel at 820 S. Spring St. is approaching an expected summer opening. A $5 million renovation is mostly complete, and in April signage for the Tuck was erected near the Spring Street entrance. The project from Juan Pablo Torre and his Tuck Ventures will be small, with only 14 rooms across roughly 9,000 square feet of space. The three-story, 1920s building in the Fashion District will include a 70-seat restaurant and bar on the ground floor. Room rates are expected to be $200-$300 per night. The hotel is undergoing final inspections and seeking a certificate of occupancy.
OPENED IN THE PAST THREE MONTHS
DA VINCI: Developer G.H. Palmer Associates has completed the rebuild of the second phase of the Da Vinci apartment complex at Figueroa and Temple streets, which was burned down in an arson fire in December 2014. The opening of phase two last month brings the total number of apartments at Da Vinci to 526, and it also adds 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space at 909 W. Temple St. and 1,000 parking spaces. Da Vinci offers studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with rents ranging from $1,850-$3,860 a month. Like other projects from developer Geoff Palmer, the Da Vinci includes amenities such as a large gym, full-size basketball court, library and screening room. At thedavinciapts.com.
HANOVER OLYMPIC: Move-ins began in March at Hanover Olympic, the third in a series of three seven-story South Park residential buildings from Houston-based Hanover Company. The 263-unit project at 936 S. Olive St. offers studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with rents starting at about $2,000 for a 540-square-foot studio, $2,200 for a 670-square-foot one-bedroom, and $3,100 for a 975-square-foot two-bedroom. Residences include stainless steel appliances, granite and quartz countertops, nine-foot ceilings and high-end bathroom finishes. The project has 20 “Eco-Green” apartments that Hanover says have net zero carbon footprints because they draw power from solar panels and have features such as reclaimed wood floors, recycled glass countertops and Nest thermostats. Building amenities include a fitness center, pool, rooftop decks, screening rooms and bike parking. At hanoverolympic.com.
HAUSER WIRTH & SCHIMMEL: The Arts District mega-gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opened March 13. The project at 901 E. Third St. is the sixth location for the Switzerland-based gallery owners and art dealers Manuela Hauser and Iwan Wirth. For the Downtown Los Angeles location, they partnered with former MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel. The project transformed a low-slung, seven-building compound that began as a grain mill in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The firm Creative Space undertook the transformation that has created a series of galleries that mix private sales rooms with museum-caliber exhibitions open to the public. The project includes numerous community elements such as a 6,000-square-foot courtyard and a walkway connecting Second and Third streets. There is an on-site bookstore, Artbook, and the 5,000-square-foot, Southern-influenced restaurant Manuela is scheduled to open in the summer. At hauserwirthschimmel.com.
LA KRETZ INNOVATION CAMPUS: The $47 million La Kretz Innovation Campus is open, and the 60,000-square-foot building is now about one-third filled with clean technology and digital companies as part of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, which aims to support start-ups in the clean technology field. Much of La Kretz is flexible office space, with a number of cubicles and workstations as well as conference rooms and common amenities like a full kitchen. One wing of the campus is dedicated to prototyping labs, with disciplines such as chemistry, electrical engineering and computing. Another wing belongs to the city Department of Water and Power, which owns the property and building. The DWP is using its space at La Kretz for a customer engagement center and also for research and development of new technologies. At laincubator.org.
PIANO LOFTS: The Piano Lofts at the southern end of the Financial District opened March 9. The project from Kiwi Neman and Ramin Rahimi, whose families have owned the building at 932 S. Hill St. since the 1980s, turned a four-story edifice into 18 upscale apartments. The $4.5 million effort is a transformation of a building that opened in 1932 and was the home of the Story and Clark Piano and Organ Company. Residences range from 968-1,586 square feet and feature stone countertops, kitchen islands and in-unit washer and dryers. Three apartments on each floor feature balconies, while the street-facing units have large windows. Rents start at $3,295 per month and go up to $7,995 for the penthouse, with an average of about $3,600. The project has a rooftop deck. At pianolofts.com.
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2016