Los Angeles Downtown News: “Seven Groundbreakings Downtown Is Waiting for in 2015”
Posted: Monday, January 5, 2015 2:00 pm
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Sometimes the simplest statements say it best: Downtown is hot.
This isn’t just in the mode of restaurants and bars. Rather, the Central City is now a highly desired destination for investors, and money is pouring into the community. Area residents and workers will get constant reminders of that in the coming year, as a steady diet of groundbreakings is scheduled, with hotels, housing towers and even a couple mega-projects. Here are seven of the most anticipated new developments.
Heart of Glass: Plans for a condominium high-rise on the northeast corner of 11th Street and Grand Avenue fizzled amid the recession. Then, last June, San Francisco-based Trumark Urban bought the site of the already entitled structure, known as the Glass Tower, and announced it would spend $100 million on a 24-story edifice. Trumark is aiming to break ground this month, with plans to open by the end of 2016. The 151-unit tower is being designed by Downtown architecture firm HansonLA, and initial renderings depict several Rubik’s Cube-like accents jutting out along an edge of the structure.
Grand Visions: At one time, developer Related Cos.’ Downtown mega-project The Grand was the most anticipated groundbreaking of 2008. The recession halted the effort, and only in the past 15 months have things changed. Architect Frank Gehry is still on board, though designs have shifted, and Related has a new partner in SLS Hotel owner Sam Nazarian. Current plans call for a groundbreaking in December. The $850 million project would reinvent the upper reaches of Grand Avenue with a 300-room SLS Hotel that would contain 25-35 condominiums, and a residential tower that would be approximately 420 feet tall with up to 450 apartments. There would also be a podium with a stacked mix of shops and restaurants situated around a central plaza that opens to Grand Avenue. If all goes according to plan, The Grand would open in late 2018.
Going Big: One of the most-discussed and debated projects in the Arts District,950 E. Third St., is expected to break ground in the first quarter. The project has already been through several designs, as developers Legendary Development and Associated Estates scrapped an initial vision after neighbors complained it would not fit with the area. Current designs of the 472-unit residential complex include more green and communal space and a public walkway from Third Street to Traction Avenue. Although there’s been no word yet on tenants for the approximately 20,000 square feet of retail space, the developers have said they want independent stores, not chains.
The Inn Crowd, Part I: The ties between the Financial District and South Park will strengthen when the renovation of the old Commercial Exchange Building at 416 W. Eighth St. begins in the third quarter. The 1924 edifice at the southeast corner of Eighth and Olive streets will become the Freehand Hotel, with 226 rooms geared toward young travelers. The project, with a number of hostel-style rooms with up to eight beds, will be a complement to the increasing number of luxury hotels opening in Downtown. The Freehand, a partnership between Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Company and the Sydell Group, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016.
The Inn Crowd, Part II: The transformation of the southern part of Broadway will get another boost when a renovation of the Case Hotel begins. Work is expected to start early in the year on the 1924 building at 1106 S. Broadway. Developers Channing Henry, Frank Stork and the Kor Group intend to turn the 13-story property across the street from the Herald Examiner Building into a four-star boutique hotel with 151 rooms. The developers have said they hope to open the project, which is two blocks south of the Ace Hotel, in the first half of 2016.
Take the Fifth: Before the recession, plans for a 73-story, $1.3 billion tower were broached for the parking lot at the northeast corner of Olive and Fifth streets. The project known as Park Fifth never got off the ground. Developer MacFarlane Partners acquired the site last summer and now aims to build on the property overlooking Pershing Square, though the vision isn’t quite as grand: A seven-story residential building with 315 apartments is expected to break ground this year, according to a project representative. A 24-story tower with 300 units would follow, though the developer has not announced a construction start date.
A Second Taste of Carmel: San Francisco-based Carmel Partners, which is nearing completion on a massive apartment complex with a Whole Foods at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue, is only getting started in Downtown: The developer expects to break ground on a 27-story apartment tower at 801 S. Olive St. in the first quarter. The high-rise will bring 363 units, with studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and four penthouses. The project being designed by GMP Architects will include a fifth-floor deck with a fitness center, a dog park, a rooftop deck and a pool. There would also be 10,000 square feet of street-facing retail space as part of a three-story parking podium, which would be wrapped in translucent panels. The company expects construction to last about two-and-a-half years, with an anticipated opening in the third quarter of 2017.