DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Representatives of the Wilshire Grand replacement project announced today that InterContinental Hotels & Resorts will operate the 900-room luxury property when the tallest building west of Chicago opens in 2017.

The $1 billion-plus project from Korean Air will stand 73 stories tall, and will eclipse Downtown’s U.S. Bank Tower in height. The hotel will be the first on the West Coast to offer a sky lobby, which will be on the 70th floor. The tower, rising on the northwest corner of Seventh and Figueroa streets, will be the first hotel built by Korean Air in the United States.

Kirk Kinsell, president of the Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group, said in a prepared statement that the company remains “focused on building its presence in top-tier cities and resorts around the globe, and our partnership with Korean Air is very much in line with this strategy.”

The 1,100-foot tall structure will have the four-star hotel rooms on the upper floors of the edifice, above 400,000 square feet of office space. The project will also include stores, restaurants and amenities. AC Martin is handling the design and construction is being overseen by the affiliated Martin Project Management.

The building replaces the old Wilshire Grand, which opened in 1952 and closed in late 2011.

Project officials say the new hotel will create more than 11,000 construction jobs and contribute $80 million in tax revenue through the construction phase. Additionally, it will sustain more than 1,700 new full-time jobs and generate $16 million in annual local tax revenueonce completed. 

The building will also eschew the traditional flat roof for a sloping rooftop design.

According to a press release from IHG, several property accents will be a nod toward characteristics of Los Angeles: wood and warm colors are intended to reflect the beach culture, and the sky lobby will feature abstract representations of car lines in the interior paneling and decor.

         donna@downtownnews.com