LA Downtown News: “Downtown Development: The Latest Info on 96 Projects”
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 5:00 am
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – The development boom in Downtown Los Angeles is hitting a new level: Not only are projects being built, but they are going vertical. In other words, the Central City is literally on an upswing.
This is important because it speaks to increasing density in one of the few communities in Los Angeles that welcomes it. Whereas residents of Hollywood, the Westside and the Valley frequently protest when a new high-rise is proposed, in Downtown it is often embraced as a means to give the area a critical mass.
This is being seen on numerous fronts. The 73-story Wilshire Grand replacement is rising at Seventh and Figueroa streets and the 33-floor Onni Tower at 888 S. Olive St. is nearing completion. The multi-tower Metropolis near L.A. Live is under construction and the development firm Trumark Urban just broke ground on a 22-story condominium complex at 1050 S. Grand Ave. in South Park. That is literally just the start, as drawings have been made and entitlements are being sought for another batch of high-rises, some 40 or even 50 stories.
That’s not the extent of the boom. The rush of low-rise rental complexes continues, and things are also heated on the civic front, with, among other projects, the Federal Courthouse steaming forward and the recent groundbreaking of the replacement of the Sixth Street Viaduct.
In the following pages, Los Angeles Downtown News provides the latest updates on 96 projects. Expect things to continue to look up, figuratively and literally.
These projects were either publicly announced, were revived or gained prominence in the past five months.
EIGHTH AND SPRING: Vancouver, Washington-based Holland Partner Group has acquired a parking lot at Eighth and Spring streets and plans to build a 24-story building with 320 apartments and ground-floor retail, according to city documents. Tom Warren, head of the company’s Southern California developments, said Holland Partner paid $12.5 million for the property at 737 S. Spring St. The Historic Core project would follow other Downtown developments for Holland Partner. Last June, the company broke ground on a pair of seven-story structures at Sixth and Bixel streets in City West.
ETCO HOMES LITTLE TOKYO: Beverly Hills-based developer Etco Homes is seeking entitlements for a 66-unit apartment project in Little Tokyo. The development at 118 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka St. would offer one- and two-bedroom lofts, with floor plans up to 1,250 square feet. The company is aiming to break ground by the end of the year, said project manager Kyle Milano. The architect is BGA Inc. No budget has been revealed.
FORD BUILDING: The former Ford Motor Factory building at the southwest corner of Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue will be transformed into creative office space with retail on the ground floor. San Francisco-based real estate giant Shorenstein Properties purchased the 102-year-old building and two accompanying structures for $37 million last April. Jim Pierre, senior vice president of Shorenstein, expects construction to begin this April, and anticipates opening the development in spring 2016. No budget has been announced. Renderings show floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground floor. The four levels above the street also would feature large windows. The rooftop would have a deck with sweeping views of Downtown and Boyle Heights. The Ford building opened in 1912 as Ford Motor Company’s primary Southern California assembly operations for Model T’s and Model A’s. It functioned as the headquarters of the Imperial Toy Company from 1972 to 2005.
FOURTH & TRACTION : The century-old Coca-Cola building in the Arts District will be transformed into a mixed-use complex with creative office space, retail and restaurants. GPI Companies of Los Angeles and New York-based Atlas Capital last spring completed a $19 million acquisition of the structure, now dubbed Fourth & Traction (although it sits on the corner of Fourth and Merrick streets, the developers are seeking to change the street name). The three-story, 150,000-square-foot red brick building at 963 E. Fourth St. originally opened in 1915 and previously housed operations for the Cola-Cola company, but has long been vacant. Leasing agents Industry Partners and RKF have announced it will get a landscaped, 10,000-square-foot rooftop penthouse with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, and a restaurant will be on the east end of the structure. Architecture firm HLW International is handling the redesign. The project will include the creation of a 300-space multi-level parking structure adjacent to the building. Fourth & Traction is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
MARIONETTE SQUARE: The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre at 1345 W. First St. was sold in 2013 to Eli Melech, who plans to build an apartment complex on the site. Whether that would involve the demolition of the theater remains to be seen, but the city deemed the City West building a Historic-Cultural Monument in 2009. The initial design from Melech and architect Steve Albert calls for a five-story, wood-framed structure that bridges over the existing theater building; the majority of the theater space would be preserved as a lobby in the new complex and would house displays commemorating Baker’s career. The upper floors would hold 102 one- to three-bedroom apartments. Melech said construction on the development would not start until the end of 2015 at the soonest; the Bob Baker company’s lease runs through this April, at which point it turns into a month-to-month arrangement. No budget for the project has been revealed.
VIBIANA LOFTS: Vancouver, Washington-based developer Holland Partner Group has purchased the nearly one-acre parcel just south of the former St. Vibiana Cathedral. Tom Warren, head of Holland Partner’s Southern California developments, said the firm expects to break ground this month on a 179,000-square-foot building that will create 237 apartments. Plans call for five stories of wood construction over a concrete podium, with approximately 247 above- and below-ground parking spaces. The project is being designed by the architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin, and will include just under 4,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space. Two previous projects, including a 41-story residential tower, had been proposed for the site at 222 S. Main St. Warren anticipates construction taking two years, leading to an opening in early 2017.
801 S. OLIVE ST. : San Francisco-based Carmel Partners is wrapping up the design phase of a 27-story apartment tower at Eighth and Olive streets, according to Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. The company plans to break ground by the end of March, with construction wrapping up in the third quarter of 2017. Plans for the tower at 801 S. Olive St. call for 363 units, with studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and eight penthouses. Amenities would include a large fitness center, a rooftop pool and lounge, and a larger pool and recreation area on a fifth-floor deck. There would also be 10,000 square feet of street-facing retail space as part of a four-story parking podium. Most of the podium would be wrapped in translucent panels, allowing the structure to glow softly at night.
820 S. OLIVE ST.: Vancouver, Canada-based developer Onni Group is moving forward with plans for a 50-story residential tower between Hill and Olive streets, according to a company representative. Onni, which is also finishing a 33-story apartment tower at 888 S. Olive St., intends to bring 589 housing units and 600 parking stalls to the parcel on the borders of South Park and the Financial District. An adjacent 6,584-square-foot single room occupancy hotel will remain on land owned by the developer. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
920 S. HILL ST. : A proposed 32-story high-rise from veteran developer Barry Shy is in the environmental review stage, said project representative Kate Bartolo. The tower at 920 S. Hill St., on what is now a parking lot behind the Ace Hotel, would be a concrete, glass and stone structure with 239 condominiums and five ground-floor commercial spaces totaling 5,405 square feet. David Takacs Architecture is handling the designs. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
950 E. THIRD ST.: Initial designs were altered following a neighborhood outcry, and now a groundbreaking is expected by next month for a 472-apartment project at 950 E. Third St., said developer Dilip Bhavnani, a principal at Legendary Developments. The company is partnering with Ohio-based Associated Estates on the Arts District effort. The $160 million complex is slated to rise on a six-acre site adjacent to the Southern California Institute of Architecture. The nearly 400,000-square-foot complex would offer 22,000 square feet of retail and 922 parking spaces. A public path through the project site would connect Third Street to Merrick Street and Traction Avenue.
1001 S. OLIVE ST.: Miami-based developer Lennar Multifamily is continuing work on a seven-story apartment building at the southwest corner of Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street, and is almost done with pouring the concrete for the subterranean parking levels. The complex will have 201 rental units, including 12 two-story townhomes, and about 4,100 square feet of retail and commercial space on the ground floor. The South Park project will offer a third-floor pool deck overlooking Olive Street, a roof deck at the corner of Olive and Olympic, a large fitness center, interior entertainment amenities and a dog run. Plans also call for 228 parking stalls. Lennar is aiming to finish the project by September 2016, according to land-use consultant Sheila Gonzaga.
1133 S. HOPE ST.: Vancouver, Canada-based developer Amacon, which aims to build a 28-story residential tower at 1133 S. Hope St., got a green light from the City Council to move forward with the project in November, when the panel rejected an appeal of the South Park development tied to a zone variance. The project now has the approvals necessary to break ground, though no timeline has been revealed. Amacon officials previously stated that the project, which would rise on a current parking lot just east of the Flower Street Lofts, would have 5,029 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Amenities would include a pool, a spa, a fitness room, library, communal kitchen and a media room.
1200 FIG: A pair of 34-story condominium towers across from the Los Angeles Convention Center has received entitlements and is in the final design phase. The development could break ground within six months, said Steve Klausner, project manager at architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux. The project, from a consortium of investors including Jamison Services and Hankey Investment Company President W. Scott Dobbins, would rise on a current surface parking lot at 12th and Figueroa streets. Initial designs show curved, steel-and-glass towers that would hold a combined 648 condominiums. The residences would sit above a 90-foot-high podium with parking and 40,000 square feet of retail space, which would have businesses that appeal to the crowds coming to Staples Center and L.A. Live. No budget has been revealed.
1200 S. FLOWER ST.: Developer Onni Group is in the entitlement phase of a project that would bring a pair of residential high-rises to 1200 S. Flower St. The Vancouver, Canada-based Onni intends to erect 31- and 40-story buildings that would create a total of 730 housing units and approximately 843 parking spaces. The five-story, 72,000-square-foot office building that currently occupies part of the South Park property would remain, though a two-story warehouse would be demolished. Amenities for the complex would include a swimming pool and a dog run. The structure would also feature a landscaped podium deck. No budget or timeline have been disclosed.
1400 S. FIGUEROA ST.: According to the most recent information available, developer DHG Family Trust is in the entitlement and design phase on a seven-story building with 106 residential units at 1400 S. Figueroa St. in South Park. The project would have 4,750 square feet of street-facing retail space and amenities including a fitness center and a pool deck. There would also be two levels of underground parking. The project is being designed by GMP Architects-LA. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
AMP LOFTS: A $130 million effort from Bolour Associates and Crescenta Capital is moving forward after the development was redesigned during the fall, said project representative Dana Sayles. The Amp Lofts would bring 320 live/work apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space to Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District. The complex, with designs by the Shimoda Design Group, would be shaped like a “J,” and there would be seven-story buildings at the northern end of the property and fronting Seventh Street. The remainder of the 311,000-square-foot development would primarily be two- and three-story structures along Imperial Street and Santa Fe Avenue. The project also calls for 390 parking spaces. The property, the longtime home of the American Moving Parts auto factory, currently holds 11 warehouse and industrial buildings. All would be razed to make way for the new structures. A groundbreaking is slated for the middle of 2016, said Sayles, and construction is expected to last 20 months. AMP Lofts are scheduled to come online by mid-2018.
BROADWAY AND OLYMPIC CONDOS: A 15-story condominium complex at 955 S. Broadway from developer Barry Shy has reached the environmental review stage, according to project representative Kate Bartolo. The 184,705-square-foot structure would bring 163 housing units and eight commercial spaces to the corner of Broadway and Olympic Boulevard, she said. Residences would run from 665-1,465 square feet. There would be an outdoor area on the second floor and a rooftop deck with a pool, barbecue and garden. Plans include a restaurant and a 60-foot long greenscape in the rear of the building, Bartolo said. No timeline for construction has been revealed.
BROADWAY PALACE: Work continues at G.H. Palmer Associates’ two-building apartment project on two parcels at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway. The development will create a 10-story, 439-apartment building on what is currently a surface parking lot. An adjacent parcel will be home to a six-story, 247-unit structure. The project will be complete in early 2017, company head Geoff Palmer said. He did not reveal a construction budget for the project, which is a partnership between Palmer and parking lot company L&R Group. Unlike the rest of Palmer’s Italian/Mediterranean-styled Downtown portfolio, the Broadway Palace will have brick facades that complement the historic look and feel of Broadway. At ghpalmer.com.
COLLEGE STATION: Evoq Properties last year unveiled a plan to create a mega-project near Union Station in Chinatown, but the developer was acquired by a coalition of investors and the project is now under the purview of Atlas Capital. According to the most recent available information, there are two proposals for the site at 924 N. Spring St., dubbed College Station. One calls for two residential towers up to 20 stories tall along with several four-story buildings for affordable senior housing units, and another eight-story building with 80 live/work lofts. The second plan envisions multiple five-story buildings instead of the two taller towers, but keeps the senior housing and live/work components of the first plan. The proposals include about 40,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial and retail space. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
DA VINCI: An enormous fire on Dec. 8 burned down one of the two structures that makes up G.H. Palmer Associates’ 526-unit apartment complex at 909 W. Temple St., and it remains unclear what company head Geoff Palmer intends to do on the property. In a statement after the fire, Palmer referred to the loss of the southern building as “temporary,” but he has not announced plans to rebuild it. However, the first phase of the Da Vinci, on the north side of Temple Street in the shadow of the 110 Freeway, remains, and plans call for opening it in the near future. The second phase had been in the framing stage, though the wood acted as fuel for the fire, which was extinguished in about 90 minutes. The fire was ruled arson. At ghpalmer.com.
FOREMAN AND CLARK BUILDING: A renovation and conversion of the 13-story Foreman & Clark building at 701 S. Hill St. is in the entitlement process, according to project representative Elizabeth Peterson. Owner Kyung Cho plans to turn the structure into a housing complex with 165 residences. The 1929 edifice in the Jewelry District currently holds office tenants and street-level jewelry businesses. The ground floor space would be filled by two restaurants and a bar/lounge, according to documents filed with the City Planning Department. Los Angeles-based architecture firm EWAI is handling designs. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
FOREST CITY/SOUTH PARK: Developer Forest City is preparing to break ground on a pair of seven-story South Park buildings in late spring, according to Vice President of Development Frank Frallicciardi. The $135 million project will bring one building to 156 W. 11th St. (11th and Hill streets) with 177 studio to two-bedroom units and about 7,500 square feet of ground floor retail space. Amenities would include a pool deck, courtyard and gym. It would also create a pedestrian paseo in the alley between the apartments and the Herald Examiner Building. Another structure will rise at 1201 S. Main St. with 214 studio to two-bedroom apartments and 7,500 square feet of retail space. The two buildings would have more than 500 combined parking stalls and nearly 450 bicycle parking spaces. Forest City is aiming to construct both buildings simultaneously and open them by the summer of 2017, Frallicciardi said.
FOURTH AND BROADWAY: Planning for a high-rise at Fourth Street and Broadway from veteran developer Izek Shomof continues, said Eric Shomof, his son and business partner. The entitlement process is underway, he added. The 34-story tower would feature 450 residential units and parking spaces, and there would be 7,000 square feet of retail space. The 450,000-square-foot development, being designed by Downtown-based architect HansonLA, would be built to condominium specifications but likely would open as apartments, Eric Shomof said. Renderings show a mid-rise portion of the building with a curved segment fronting the southeast corner of Fourth and Broadway. A rectangular tower would rise on top of that. No timeline or budget has been revealed.
GAREY BUILDING: Construction is progressing at the Garey Building and crews will soon top off the framing of the 320-unit apartment complex, said Tom Wulf, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises. Lowe is partnering on the two-building project at 905 E. Second St. with Megatoys and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The five-story buildings between First and Second streets flanking Garey Street are on pace to open this December, Wulf said. The Arts District property was long the headquarters for Megatoys, a toy business run by the Woo family. The $60 million development, with designs by Togawa Smith Martin Architects, will include 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor dining along a pedestrian-only street connecting First and Second streets. The studio to two-bedroom apartments will average 728 square feet. Residences will have open floor plans with features including gourmet kitchens, quartz countertops, and washers and dryers. The project will contain four courtyards, one dedicated to pets. Another courtyard will offer a pool, spa and sundeck with grilling areas, fire pits and an outdoor lounge. The development is being constructed to LEED certification standards and also will include 530 parking spaces for both retail and residential tenants.
G8: Carmel Partners’ seven-story, 700-unit apartment complex at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue, formally known as G8, is entering the final stages of construction, and completion is expected in the third or fourth quarter of the year, said Carmel Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. While all 700 units will be completed at the same time, Carmel is planning to lease around 300 residences in the first phase of opening. The units will have floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, and common spaces include multiple courtyards and a rooftop pool deck. It also has a four-level underground parking structure. The ground floor anchor tenant will be a Whole Foods, which is filling 41,000 square feet of retail space. That is slated to open on Nov. 4. Carmel is continuing to negotiate retail leases for the remaining spaces, Garibaldi said.
G12: Developer Sonny Astani still has not set a groundbreaking date for his 640-unit project dubbed G12. Astani is teaming with private equity firm Wolff Company on the complex bounded by 12th and Olive streets, Pico Boulevard and Grand Avenue. The first phase of the development would create a seven-story, 347-unit residential building. The project would also feature 42,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The three-acre site was purchased from parking lot company L&R Group. At astanienterprises.com.
HANOVER GRAND AVENUE: The framing for developer Hanover Company’s 274-unit, seven-story apartment building at Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard was completed in February, according to development partner Ryan Hamilton. The Houston-based developer’s project will bring studio to two-bedroom apartments and 12,000 square feet of street-level retail space. Architecture firm TCA is handling the design, which features a stucco exterior with glass balconies. Amenities will include rooftop sun decks, a pool and a public paseo. Initial occupancy in the building now dubbed Hanover Grand Avenue is expected in January 2016, Hamilton said. It is one of three Hanover projects in South Park.
HANOVER OLYMPIC: Construction continues on the Hanover Company’s seven-story development at Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street. Work crews finished pouring the foundation in late January, according to Hanover development partner Ryan Hamilton. The 263-apartment complex is slated to be finished in March 2016. The design from architecture firm TCA features an articulated facade with stucco and a variety of accent materials and glass balconies overlooking the street. Hanover Olympic, as the project is now called, will also have 14,500 square feet of street-level retail space. Amenities will include a rooftop deck, a gym and interior entertainment spaces. The project sits next to the company’s Hanover South Park development, which opened in January. A third Hanover complex is under construction at 1000 S. Grand Avenue.
MACFARLANE PARTNERS/PARK FIFTH: Developer MacFarlane Partners is moving forward with plans to erect a seven-story building with 312 apartments and, later, a 24-story tower with 348 housing units on the parcel north of Pershing Square. The company is in the site plan review phase for the plot bounded by Olive, Fifth and Hill streets. MacFarlane aims to start construction on the seven-story building within a year, according to a project representative. Construction is expected to take about two years. No timeline for the high-rise building has been revealed, but it would feature a roof deck with a pool, a barbeque area and other amenities. The plan marks a new start for the site known as Park Fifth. Developer David Houk had previously secured entitlements for a 73-story tower, but plans were felled by the recession.
NEW PERSHING APARTMENTS: The 69-unit New Pershing Apartments, Skid Row Housing Trust’s renovated low-income development in the Historic Core, is expected to begin move-ins soon. The $16 million project at Fifth and Main streets offers studio- and one-bedroom residences of 350-500 square feet, as well as a landscaped courtyard and a meeting room with a full kitchen. The project’s design comes from architecture firm Killefer Flammang; the development salvaged the facades of two old buildings, the 1889 Pershing Hotel and the 1905 Roma Hotel. The renovation also expanded the building’s size from 37,000 to 60,000 square feet. The New Pershing Apartments has ground-floor retail space, and SRHT is looking for tenants. At skidrow.org.
ONNI TOWER: Vancouver-based Onni Group is finishing its 33-story apartment tower at 888 S. Olive St. and expects to open the building in the second half of the year. The $100 million structure in the southern part of the Financial District will create 303 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments. It will be the firm’s first completed project in Downtown. Onni has plans for two additional Downtown high-rises.
ONYX: The South Park effort Onyx is expected to break ground in the second quarter of this year, according to a spokesman for developer Jade Enterprises. The 410-unit, two-building complex proposed for Pico Boulevard at Flower and Hope streets will be the second residential project for the company that has extensive holdings in the Fashion District. The seven-story Onyx would rise on two side-by-side parking lots atop 42,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space. No budget has been revealed.
SARES-REGIS LITTLE TOKYO: Construction of a seven-story development at 232 E. Second St. in Little Tokyo is on schedule, with the garage nearing completion, said Sares-Regis spokeswoman Zoe Solsby. Move-ins are expected by March 2016, she said. The complex, next to the Ava apartments, which opened last year, will create 240 rental units including 51 studios, 112 one-bedrooms and 77 two-bedrooms (measuring up to 1,220 square feet). Negotiations are underway with various restaurants and retailers for the 16,000 square feet of retail space, Solsby said. At sares-regis.com.
SB OMEGA: A proposed 38-story high-rise from developer Barry Shy is in the environmental review stage, said project representative Kate Bartolo. The tower with 452 condominiums at 601 S. Main St. would rise on what is currently a parking lot. The Historic Core project would include 25,000 square feet of retail space with storefronts on Main and Sixth streets. The project would include a seven-story parking podium and there would be 268 spaces for bicycle parking. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
SIXTH AND BIXEL: Holland Partner Group is in the midst of construction on a $200 million project in City West. The Vancouver, Washington-based developer will erect a pair of seven-story structures and renovate a 1920s medical office building on a four-acre site on Sixth Street between Lucas Avenue and Bixel Street. The new buildings will have 606 units and the medical building will hold 42 residences. The project will also create 25,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, much of it fronting Sixth Street. The converted office building is expected to open by the middle of this year, while project officials intend to bring the other residences online in phases in 2016. Togawa Smith Martin is designing the project. Amenities will include rooftop decks, a large fitness center and a pool, along with a public plaza and 300 trees. Units will include studio to three-bedroom apartments. Rents are expected to range from $1,500 to slightly under $4,000.
SPRING STREET APARTMENTS/GARAGE: Historic Core development company Downtown Management has tapped TSK Architects to begin community outreach on a proposed 40-story structure in the Historic Core, said company vice president Greg Martin. Downtown Management, headed by Joseph Hellen, plans to erect the high-rise on a parking lot on Spring Street between the Spring Arcade Building and the Alexandria Hotel. The company, which has turned three nearby old edifices into apartment buildings, is planning a tower with residences on top of six levels of parking, and one floor of retail. No budget or timeline have been revealed.
TEN50: San Francisco-based developer Trumark Urban in mid-January broke ground on a 25-story, 151-condomninium complex; though long known as the Glass Tower, the name has been changed to Ten50. The developer hopes to open the $100 million project at 1050 S. Grand Ave. in 2016. The tower will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units, along with amenities including a fifth-floor pool deck, cabanas and a fitness center. The ground floor will hold 5,672 square feet of retail space, with storefronts along Grand Avenue and 11th Street. The project was initially proffered by developer Amir Kalantari, but plans hit a wall when the recession began and lending markets froze. Trumark Urban acquired the project in June 2014. Downtown-based architecture firm HansonLA is handling designs for the building, which features several Rubik’s Cube-like accents jutting out along an edge of the structure.
TITLE INSURANCE BUILDING: Hard demolition for the Historic Core’s Title Insurance Building is imminent, said Bill Lindborg of Capital Foresight, which owns the 1928 structure at 433 S. Spring St. The company has completed the abatement and soft demolition work, and continues to move forward in the permitting process, he said. Plans call for turning the building into 216 residential units with 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
TOPAZ: Construction continues on Jade Enterprises’ 159-unit apartment complex just north of the Santa Fe Lofts at Sixth and Main streets, according to a company spokesman. The project, dubbed Topaz, broke ground last September. The six-story edifice at 550 S. Main St. will stretch between Main and Los Angeles streets. Topaz will offer studio and one- to three-bedroom units and will include 23,000 square feet of retail. The Historic Core project is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2016. No budget has been revealed.
VALENCIA: Developer Sonny Astani broke ground in late 2014 on a roughly $60 million, six-story apartment project at 1501-1521 W. Wilshire Blvd. The 218-apartment City West complex is slated to be complete in February 2016, according to Astani. The Valencia would have amenities such as open courtyards and a fitness center. Most units would have balconies and there would be 4,400 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space. Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the designs. At astanienterprises.com.
BLOSSOM PLAZA: Developer Forest City is finished with the foundation at the $100 million Blossom Plaza complex and began pouring concrete for the parking podium in January, according to Vice President of Development Frank Frallicciardi. Construction on the five-story development is about 30% complete, he said. The project will create 237 studio to three-bedroom apartments, with 53 units reserved for low-income residents. The development at 900 N. Broadway will also have 19,000 square feet of street level space for restaurants and retail; the project will hold four restaurant spaces. Additionally, Forest City is creating a 17,000-square-foot public plaza with a walkway connecting the Metro Gold Line station to Broadway, allowing rail riders to easily access the heart of Chinatown by foot (currently, they would have to go down several flights of stairs and walk up multiple blocks). The project is slated for completion in late spring 2016.
CITY MARKET: According to the most recent information available, the initial phase of development for the massive Fashion District mega-project City Market, a proposed $1 billion hub of housing, office space, hotel rooms and a college campus, began last summer. For the initial phase, dubbed City Market South, developer the LENA Group intends to turn two aged buildings on San Pedro and San Julian between 11th and 12th streets into creative office space and dining establishments. The overall City Market, from landowner Peter Fleming, ultimately would include 945 housing units, 210 hotel rooms, 225,000 square feet of retail and 295,000 square feet of creative office space. It could be 20 years before the entire project is complete. At citymarketla2.com.
FIGUEROA CENTRAL: Chain-link fences went up on the 4.6-acre site of the Fig Central mega-project late last year, and construction work has commenced on the parcel, which for years operated as a surface parking lot and also held two squat mechanical buildings and an underground bank vault. Beijing-based developer Oceanwide plans to build two 40-story towers and a 49-story high-rise, all on top of a large parking podium with about 200,000 square feet of retail space. Initial renderings show the retail space as an open-air galleria with two levels. The towers, meanwhile, will hold a combined 504 condominiums and 183 hotel rooms, with amenities such as a pool and green space on top of the podium. The project’s design comes from architecture firm RTKL.
HERALD EXAMINER RENOVATION: The renovation of the 1914 Herald Examiner Building by San Francisco-based Hearst Corporation is fully entitled, and the project is now in the final design phase, according to property manager Doyle McDonald. The tentative start of construction has been pushed from the spring to October, he added. The building designed by Julia Morgan was formerly the headquarters of William Randolph Hearst’s Los Angeles newspaper. The renovation is slated to take about 18 months and would convert the two-story building into retail space (35,000 square feet on the ground floor) and creative office space (another 35,000 square feet). No budget has been revealed.
LA PLAZA CULTURA VILLAGE: The County of Los Angeles and the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation, which operates a museum and cultural facility on Main Street, last year proposed a massive mixed-use development on a 3.7-acre site near Olvera Street. All the necessary entitlements and approvals have been secured for the project known as La Plaza Cultura Village, and it is now in the design phase, said Jim Andersen, senior vice president at developer Trammell Crow. The county Board of Supervisors gave the green light for the project and certified its final Environmental Impact Report in October, he said. The development, which would rise on two parking lots on either side of Broadway, would connect El Pueblo to Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, a small park and monument at 430 N. Hill St. The project would include up to 345 residential units in five- and eight-story buildings, with 20% of the residences set aside for low-income tenants. The 425,000-square-foot endeavor would also hold up to 55,000 square feet of restaurants, cafes and shops, along with nearly 800 parking spaces in subterranean and above-grade structures. Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain is designing the project. The development team hopes to begin construction around the third quarter of this year, Andersen said.
MACK URBAN SOUTH PARK: Developer Mack Urban has six acres of land in South Park, which it acquired in 2013 for $80 million. The company is now aiming to break ground on a pair of seven-story structures on a parcel bordered by Pico Boulevard and Olive and Hill streets, in March, according to Mack Urban representative Nadene Gallagher. The buildings would have 362 apartments, with 22 ground-floor townhomes and 4,000 square feet of retail at the corner of Pico and Olive. In addition, Mack Urban is in the design and entitlement phase for two apartment buildings on a lot bounded by Grand Avenue and 12th and Olive Streets. A hotel and residential tower were originally planned for this parcel. The developer hopes to start work on the apartment buildings in the third quarter of the year, Gallagher said. Mack Urban is partnering with AECOM Capital on the entire South Park development, which has an estimated total budget of $750 million. The designs are from architecture firm AC Martin.
MEDALLION 2.0: The second phase of developer Saeed Farkhondehpour’s Medallion project in the Old Bank District is still in the entitlement phase. Farkhondehpour said he expects to begin construction in the first quarter of 2016. The project would create 500 apartments in three structures at Third and Main streets, and would take about 30 months. Meanwhile, Farkhondehpour said he is planning to unveil a ground-floor food complex in the first phase of Medallion, at Fourth and Main streets, in April. Tenants so far include Uzbek restaurant Samarkand Cafe, Bread Bar bakery, casual eatery Dante’s Kitchen and a yet-unnamed Indian restaurant. The eatery Tione’s on Main is also now serving in the Medallion space formerly occupied by a vegan restaurant.
METROPOLIS: Construction continues on the Metropolis mega-project just north of L.A. Live. The first phase, which broke ground last year, comprises an 18-story hotel (down from 19 floors in the initial plans) and a 38-story condominium tower with about 300 units. Chinese developer Greenland is finishing the foundations for these towers, and will soon begin construction of the cores and shells of the buildings, according to Greenland. Phase 1 is slated for completion by the end of 2016. Last July, Greenland revealed plans for a second phase with 54- and 40-story condo towers (with about 700 and 500 residences, respectively). Greenland has not broken ground on Phase 2, and there is no firm timeline to begin, Fan said. Architecture firm Gensler, which is designing the entire project, had suggested last summer that Phase 2 work could start by 2015, with an opening in 2019. Amenities for all the towers will include pool decks, green space, fitness centers and entertainment rooms. The towers sit on parking podiums that have two floors of retail space off the street level along Francisco Street. Metropolis, which is bounded by the 110 Freeway and Eighth, Ninth and Francisco streets, is budgeted at more than $1 billion.
THE GRAND: Developer Related Companies has completed and submitted schematic designs for The Grand by architect Frank Gehry to the Grand Avenue Authority, the city-county joint powers panel that oversees the site of the proposed Bunker Hill mega-project. The $850 million effort to reinvent the upper reaches of Grand Avenue was restarted in late 2013. The project calls for a pair of towers, one with 300 hotel rooms, and the other with 400 residences. The development would also hold a podium with a stacked mix of shops and restaurants that would be situated around a central plaza that opens to Grand Avenue. Related has begun an early pre-leasing effort to find tenants for the retail, food and entertainment space. Construction is expected to start in 2016.
WILSHIRE GRAND REPLACEMENT: Structural steel has started to go up for the 73-story tower on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Figueroa Boulevard. The first level of buckling restraint braces, which are part of the building’s seismic infrastructure, was reached in mid-January, said project spokesman Sean Rossall. The $1 billion project is being developed by Korean Air and designed and managed by AC Martin. The high-rise, which will ultimately have a sloped roof and 900 hotel rooms atop 400,000 square feet of office space, along with retail and restaurant space, is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 and open the following year. InterContinental will operate the hotel portion of the project. At wilshiregrandcenter.com.
CIVIC AND NONPROFIT
ARTS DISTRICT PARK: Construction is underway at the $1.6 million, half-acre park at Fifth and Hewitt streets in the Arts District. Workers broke ground in December on the attraction just south of Urth Caffe. The park will feature an eight-foot wall for mural art, outdoor eating areas and plaza space, a playground, shade trees, concrete seating and lighting. The money for the park was secured through Quimby fees, which developers pay for park creation. Completion is expected this summer, and will be coordinated with a ceremony for the adjacent, under-construction La Kretz Innovation Campus, a 30,000-square-foot clean technology project and business incubator.
BROADWAY REVITALIZATION: The retail surge on Broadway continued in December, when a Gap Factory Store opened at 737 S. Broadway. It is the San Francisco-based chain’s first outpost in Downtown. Meanwhile, the $1.5 million “dress rehearsal” phase of the Broadway streetscape plan was completed in August, and the city Department of Transportation is examining how cutting traffic lanes and extending the sidewalk into the roadway is affecting both drivers and pedestrians. A full study of the impacts will be conducted this fall, according to LADOT. Permanent renovations to the streetscape could take place after that. It is expected to cost $5 million-$6 million per block, and the office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar has secured about $5 million for the permanent build-out thus far. Huizar’s office is also working with building owners to convert the upper floors of stagnant buildings into new commercial space. Atbringingbackbroadway.com.
BUDOKAN OF LOS ANGELES: The Little Tokyo Service Center has surpassed the halfway mark in the fundraising effort for the $23 million Budokan of Los Angeles. The long-gestating development at 237-249 S. Los Angeles St. would be a multi-purpose sports and activities center with a gymnasium, mezzanine, community space and a rooftop park. It would host an array of sports, including basketball, volleyball and martial arts, as well as after-school programs and social events. The latest renderings reveal windows from street level to the bright yellow roof of the three-story portion of the structure. Plans call for a children’s playground on a courtyard and a rooftop garden. Funding has come mostly from public-sector sources. Fundraising began in 2011 and LTSC officials expect it will take another 18 months to raise the remainder. A groundbreaking is expected in 2016 with work expected to take up a year and a half. Atbudokanoflosangeles.com.
CHINATOWN PARK: Water discovered beneath the hillside at Ord and Yale streets, plus December’s rainfall, has delayed the construction of a Chinatown park, said Louis Reyes, a spokesman for First District City Councilman Gil Cedillo. The city Bureau of Engineering along with Ahbe Landscape Architect, the company tapped to create the new facility, have begun the effort to get public input on the design of the project that will rise on an L-shaped lot. Last May, the office of then-County Supervisor Gloria Molina contributed $950,000 to the project, bringing the amount secured for the facility to $8.25 million. Another $5 million comes from Proposition 84 state funds. Demolition is expected to begin soon, with a grand opening slated for this summer.
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE: The massive steel frame of the $323 million Federal Courthouse, at the southwest corner of Broadway and First Street, is nearly complete. Construction began in summer 2013 and is on track to wrap in fall 2016, according to Traci Madison, a representative for the U.S. General Services Administration. The 600,000-square-foot building will have 24 district courtrooms and 32 judges’ chambers, as well as offices for the U.S. Marshals Service. The design from architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merill depicts a large cube with windows set at angles to create a serrated outer skin; the design will bring in natural light while also cutting solar heat gain. The Civic Center building is being engineered to achieve LEED Platinum status, according to the GSA.
FIGUEROA CORRIDOR BIKEWAY: Construction of the street improvements has begun along the Figueroa Corridor, said Tim Fremaux, a transportation engineering associate for the city. The $20 million My Figueroa project, an effort to make the street friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists, is expected to last through December. Plans call for trimming vehicular lanes and establishing protected areas for two-wheeled travelers. The project will accomplish this while preserving the entrance and exit points for auto dealerships and other businesses along the three-mile section of Figueroa Street between the Financial District and Exposition Park. At myfiegueroa.com.
FIRST AND BROADWAY PARK: The city Department of Recreation and Parks, the Bureau of Engineering and Councilman José Huizar’s office have begun hosting community outreach meetings for the park proposed for the corner of First Street and Broadway, said Huizar spokesman Rick Coca. Site demolition work, including excavation, backfill, re-compaction and grading, has been completed. The park would rise on the site of a former state office building that was razed after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The new facility is expected to complement Grand Park, which lies directly to the north. According to Huizar’s office, the $18 million to $20 million Civic Center project has secured $14 million so far, with more than $10 million of that in Quimby fees (charged to developers for the creation of green space). The Department of Recreation and Parks anticipates that the remaining funds will come from a combination of future Quimby fees and department allocations.
GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL MEDICAL PAVILION: The $80 million Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Pavilion is on pace to open late this year, according to hospital spokeswoman Katrina Bada. The 190,000-square-foot development, being designed by Ware Malcolmb, will hold the Frank R. Seaver Ambulatory Surgery Center, which will have eight operating suites. Additionally, the project on Wilshire Boulevard at Witmer Street will hold a pharmacy, outpatient clinics and physician offices including the hospital’s Surgical Specialties Clinic, which includes hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, said Bada. The builder is Millie and Severson.
LOS ANGELES RIVER: Last May, the Army Corps of Engineers announced its support of an estimated $1 billion Los Angeles River revitalization plan, dubbed Alternative 20. The effort, backed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, would restore 719 acres and tear out three miles of concrete channeling, and include connections from the waterway to Los Angeles State Historic Park. Now the city is looking for money to cover half of the project; the funds could potentially come in the form of property taxes, thanks to a new law that allows certain tax dollars to be used on revitalization and public works projects. In January, the City Council asked city staff to create a detailed report on how Los Angeles could create an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District to restore and improve 31 miles of the river; the report is due in the beginning of March. At lariver.org.
LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK: The expansive renovation of the 34-acre park on the edge of Chinatown, which began last April, has been delayed due to the discovery of underground archaeological features and some soil contamination. The park, which had been scheduled to be complete in the spring, is now slated to reopen in November, according to state Department of Parks and Recreation Superintendent Sean Woods. Completed work thus far includes excavation and grading of the two-acre restored wetlands area, construction of a pedestrian bridge, and framing of a welcome center, ranger station and public restrooms. Other planned features include a tree-flanked promenade and a paved parking area. The renovation is budgeted at approximately $20 million. At lashp.wordpress.com.
LOS ANGELES STREETCAR: The most recent assessment of the Los Angeles Streetcar’s cost, from project manager URS Corp., came in at about $270 million. That’s much lower than the worst-case estimate from a city analysis in 2013, which put the price at up to $327.8 million, though it is also far higher than the initial projected cost of $125 million. Officials with the office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar have said the actual cost could be lower than $270 million, but the project’s funding picture remains unclear. In January, streetcar officials reported that 24 firms from 19 cities responded to a “request for information” on a financial partnership for the project; actual deals will not happen until the city prepares a “request for proposals.” Up to $85 million in tax funds can be collected from Downtown property owners along the streetcar route and $10 million has come from the former Community Redevelopment Agency. The city is applying for $75 million in federal grants, but even if that is secured, some sort of public-private partnership would be needed. The 3.8-mile project would run from South Park to the Civic Center with a main spur on Broadway. The streetcar’s environmental impact report is expected to be done in the coming months, and Huizar hopes to have the streetcar open by 2019. At streetcar.la.
MERCED THEATER AND MASONIC HALL: The city Bureau of Engineering remains in the design phase for a renovation of the city-owned Merced Theater and the attached Masonic Hall, near the Olvera Street plaza. The process began last summer and will run through this summer. Public hearings to review the preliminary designs are slated to take place by early winter, according to the city department El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (which manages the buildings). The city is planning to move the studio for Channel 35, which airs City Council meetings and other government-related programs, into the building. The $23 million project will also create office space and a 50-seat theater, which would be used for public events and cultural activities. The renovation is expected to be finished by the end of 2017.
METRO BUS FACILITY: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $120 million Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility will be completed in May and will open the following month. All construction and infrastructure work has been finished, and now the fueling, washing, vacuuming and other equipment is being installed. The project at the northeast corner of Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue will hold 200 buses and contain a multi-level garage, a fueling depot and areas for washing vehicles. It is being designed to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards and will have, among other elements, a green roof, solar panels and a storm water reclamation system with an underground 275,000-gallon retention tank. There will also be 397 parking spaces for Division 13 employees. At metro.net.
PARKER CENTER: The city Bureau of Engineering has completed a plan to raze the 1954 Parker Center and replace it with a $475 million, 27-story office tower, which would hold employees from multiple city departments. That plan may be delayed, as the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission voted on Jan. 29 to nominate the building at 150 N. Los Angeles St. for Historic-Cultural Monument status. The City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee and the full council have 90 days to review the nomination; if it passes and the building is designated a monument, any plans to demolish or renovate Parker Center could be pushed back a year or more. Parker Center, designed by noted architect Welton Becket, has been empty since the Los Angeles Police Department moved its headquarters to the new Police Administration Building in 2009. Preservation groups, including the Los Angeles Conservancy, are pushing the city to renovate and reuse the structure rather than demolish it.
REGIONAL CONNECTOR: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is moving ahead with the design process and pre-construction work on the $1.42 billion Regional Connector. The final designs from Metro, in conjunction with the team of Skanska USA and Traylor Bros., will be complete in early 2016, according to Metro spokesman Rick Jager. Major utility work will begin in the middle of this year, and the sites of three new rail stations (at Second and Hope streets, Second Street and Broadway, and First Street and Central Avenue) will be excavated in the third quarter of the year. Underground tunneling for the 1.9-mile project, meanwhile, is expected to start in the second quarter of 2016. The Regional Connector will join area light rail lines to streamline cross-county travel and reduce the need for transfers. It is expected to open in 2020. At metro.net/projects/connector.
SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT: A groundbreaking took place Feb. 20 and demolition of the 82-year-old Sixth Street Viaduct is scheduled to start in June, said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works. The design for the replacement of the 1932 bridge, which connects the Arts District to Boyle Heights, includes a “ribbon of arches” that will feature staircases and a viewing deck. The city Bureau of Engineering worked with a design team led by HNTB, architect Michael Maltzan and others; the existing bridge needs to be replaced because of a chemical condition that has caused its concrete to weaken. The new viaduct will offer improved pedestrian access with 10-foot wide walkways as well as bike lanes. Work on the $401 million project is expected to last through 2018. Atsixthstreetviaductreplacement.org.
UNION STATION MAKEOVER: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors voted to move ahead with the Union Station Master Plan in late October, pushing the project into the implementation stage. Metro is now pursuing a full environmental review of the plan to upgrade the 75-year-old transit hub and 40 acres of surrounding land. The Master Plan comprises two main renovations: First, a larger indoor-outdoor passenger concourse, with new spaces for retail, will be built to connect travelers to an updated rail yard. Second, the Patsaouras Bus Facility near the eastern entrance to Union Station will be demolished and rebuilt as an elevated terminal between the historic station building (the west entrance) and the new concourse. Other improvements include the conversion of the west parking lot into a public plaza and the creation of a walkway over the rail lines. Metro has also signed a number of leases for the station, with tenants including Cafe Crepe, T&Y Bakery, Downtown’s Barista Society coffee shop and a new gastropub to fill the old Fred Harvey restaurant space. Plans for the surrounding property are still being determined. At metro.net/projects/la-union-station.
CULTURAL/ENTERTAINMENT DELIJANI BROADWAY THEATERS: Work continues on the restoration of four historic Broadway theaters owned by the Delijani family — the Los Angeles (615 S. Broadway), Palace (630 S. Broadway), State (703 S. Broadway) and Tower (802 S. Broadway) — according to Kate Bartolo, a consultant to the Delijanis. The projects do not have a firm completion date, but three of the venues (Los Angeles, Palace and Tower) have already hosted events. Overall plans include the construction of nearly a dozen eateries and bars and the renovation of the interiors, including the theater spaces themselves. The Delijanis have not disclosed a construction budget or timeline for the restoration.
FARMERS FIELD: An agreement between the city and Anschutz Entertainment Group to build Farmers Field on a 15-acre parcel adjacent to the Convention Center expires in April; it had been scheduled to sunset last October, but AEG was granted a six-month extension as the company sought to bring a professional football team to Downtown Los Angeles. AEG has continued to pursue a franchise despite the January announcement that St. Louis Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke intends to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood. Unlike that project, all environmental approvals have been secured for AEG’s proposed 68,000-seat stadium. The Downtown facility would have a “deployable” roof that could be taken on and off as necessary. It would be part of a $1.4 billion effort that includes an overhaul of the Convention Center. City officials last year also began looking at a proposal to modernize the Convention Center without AEG, and to erect a 1,000-room hotel on the site in question. At farmersfield.com.
GLOBE THEATRE RENOVATION: Although the Globe Theatre last month featured live music and entertainment for the first time in decades, as part of the Jan. 31 Bringing Back Broadway event, Erik Chol’s $5 million renovation of the 101-year-old venue at 740 S. Broadway is still ongoing. Long used as a swap meet, the 24,347-square-foot Globe will serve as an event space and will host dance, music and theatrical performances, said project spokeswoman Elizabeth Peterson. The theater’s marquee was relit last June.
HAUSER WIRTH & SCHIMMEL GALLERY: The effort to turn a 100,000-square-foot former flour mill at 901 E. Third St. in the Arts District into an art complex continues. Vaulted skylights have been installed in the compound’s original bank building, and an environmental cleanup has taken place at the site, said Andrea Schwan, a spokeswoman for the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery. The project, to be run by former MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, will turn a collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings and outdoor spaces into a destination for exhibitions and public programs. The site’s seven structures, which have been mostly uninhabited since the 1950s, include a Neo-Classical bank building, a five-story mill structure and three warehouses. The property includes a 20,000-square-foot space with an interior courtyard. The project will also have a covered parking area. The Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery is expected to open in early 2016.
ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: The cleaning of the Italian American Museum is complete, as is the restoration of the building’s original, 1908 mosaic entry, according to museum Executive Director Marianna Gatto. Gatto expects work on the new entrance on Main Street to start in March, with remaining tenant improvements and exhibition installation to follow. The long-awaited project is expected to open in the second quarter of this year, Gatto said. The $4.5 million project in the building known as the Italian Hall, at 644 N. Main St., will display rare photos, documents, maps and artifacts illustrating the legacy, contributions and influences of Italian Americans in the region. At italianhall.org.
THE BROAD: The final pieces of the scaffolding covering Eli Broad’s $140 million contemporary art museum were removed in December, and the project is scheduled to open on Sept. 20. Passersby now have a clear view of the lattice-like exterior known as “the veil,” including the dimple, called the oculus, on the Grand Avenue side of the building. The Broad will house the 2,000 pieces of art in the collection of Eli and Edythe Broad. The design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro has a 50,000-square-foot gallery on the third floor lit by 318 skylights; the entire building measures 120,000 square feet, and in addition to storage and offices there will be a ground-floor restaurant, a space for lectures and an outdoor public courtyard. The Grand Avenue project south of Walt Disney Concert Hall sits on top of a 370-car parking garage. Admission will be free. At thebroad.com.
TRACTION AVENUE BREWPUB: Construction is underway at 213 Nightlife’s Traction Avenue Brewpub. Plans for the bar at 828 Traction Ave. call for 258 seats. According to the most recent information available, nightlife proprietor Cedd Moses will dedicate more than half of the 17,320-square-foot business to the brewery and kitchen, and it will include a family-oriented restaurant. Moses’ license would allow 5,000 barrels of beer to be sold off-site annually. The brewpub will occupy the former Crazy Gideon’s electronics store, and also will offer 27 skeeball lanes.
353 S. BROADWAY: Developer and architect David L. Gray has restored the façade of the aged structure at 353 S. Broadway, and continues his effort to turn the six-story edifice into creative office space. The $8.5 million renovation is well underway and the building should be available for occupancy by the third quarter of this year, Gray said. Additionally, Gray has filed permits for a 4,577-square-foot bar with two patios and 212 seats in the building. Last year, a 12-foot tall ficus tree growing out of the exterior of the top floor of the structure was cut down, and its 60 feet of roots were removed.
420 BOYD ST.: The $1.5 million renovation of Legendary Developments’ two buildings at 420 Boyd St. will be completed by May, said company principal Dilip Bhavnani. The project includes a five-story structure at the corner of Boyd and Omar streets in the Toy District, which will house five tenants, with each occupying a full floor. The adjacent edifice will hold the microbrewery Mumford Brewing; it is also scheduled to open by May. The rooftops of the buildings will be used by the tenants and their guests, Bhavnani said.
AT MATEO: ASB Real Estate Investments and Century City’s Blatteis & Schnur announced plans last year to create a 130,000-square-foot Arts District retail center. The project, dubbed At Mateo, will revamp a collection of five warehouse buildings at Palmetto and Mateo streets. The developers say they intend to use repurposed brick, concrete and wood. They purchased the property last year for $32.5 million, and intend to spend another $30 million on the project. Plans call for an open-air batch of restaurants, shops and local service businesses, as well as a 400-plus space parking garage. The project, which developers say will activate the street from morning till night, is expected to open in fall 2016. At atmateo.com.
CASE HOTEL: Developers Channing Henry, Frank Stork and the Kor Group continue to work on a plan to renovate the Case Hotel. The team intends to do a full historic rehab of the 1924 building at 1106 S. Broadway and turn the 107,000-square-foot structure into a four-star boutique hotel with 151 rooms. Downtown architecture firm Omgivning is handling the designs. The team acquired the 13-story property across the street from the Herald Examiner Building for $13.5 million. Though currently empty, the Case Hotel recently housed facilities for the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles.
CLARK HOTEL: The 348-room Clark Hotel at 426 S. Hill St. is finishing up construction and could open as soon as early summer. That follows an October ruling by the Central Area Planning Commission, which brought to an end a long-running battle between New York-based developer Chetrit Group and hospitality workers’ union Unite HERE Local 11. The Commission ruled in favor of Chetrit Group in a dispute over whether the Clark, as well as the Embassy Hotel in South Park, had proper environmental impact reviews. The union’s appeals had prevented the hotels from receiving final permits. The 11-story structure has been renovated and features a lobby with bright marble and chrome accents, guest rooms with lively Mod-style details (including zebra-print wallpaper), a pool deck and multiple dining spaces.
CLIFTON’S CAFETERIA RENOVATION: Andrew Meieran bought the 1935 Clifton’s Cafeteria in 2010 and began a major renovation the following year. Though he initially said work at the landmark restaurant at 648 S. Broadway would be finished by the end of 2012, Clifton’s remains closed. One potential positive came at the end of January, when new red neon lights were illuminated on the building’s exterior. Meieran has said in the past that the renovation will create multiple eating and drinking establishments inside the building, including a version of the classic cafeteria, an old-school steakhouse, a bakery and a tiki bar. The building will reopen with a new name, Clifton’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Although the project was originally described as a $3 million endeavor, Meieran’s most recent price tag was $7.5 million. At cliftonscafeteria.com.
DESMOND BUILDING: Developer Lincoln Property Company is finishing up structural work on the 1917 Desmond building at 11th and Hope streets and is transitioning into interior tenant improvements, according to Rob Kane, a vice president at LPC. The company anticipates finishing the building in May, at which point Anschutz Entertainment Group will move more than 500 employees from around the city into the renovated South Park structure. The move will consolidate the workers in the AEG Live and AXS Ticketing divisions into a location close to AEG’s headquarters at L.A. Live. Upgrades to the 97-year-old structure include seismic retrofitting and the creation of a sixth floor, dubbed the “Glass Pavilion.” There are also plans to bring a ground-floor cafe to the 82,000-square-foot structure. Atthedesmondla.com.
EMBASSY HOTEL AND AUDITORIUM: As with the Clark Hotel, the Embassy Hotel at 831 S. Grand Ave. has been cleared by the Central Area Planning Commission to receive its final permits and finish construction. The hotels’ owner, New York-based Chetrit Group, has finally beaten back protests from hospitality workers’ union Unite HERE Local 11 regarding the environmental reviews of the two properties. Renovation of the 183 guest rooms, a nearly 10,000-square-foot outdoor patio and the historic Trinity Auditorium continues. Already complete at the South Park project is a new rooftop pool deck with a bar. The Embassy is slated to open in the fourth quarter of this year. The hotel’s finished rooms show off a refined, elegant look and will rent at a higher price point than those in the Clark Hotel, according to project representative Elizabeth Peterson.
FREEHAND HOTEL: The transformation of the 1924 Commercial Exchange Building into a 200-room Freehand Hotel has begun. The building at 416 W. Eighth St. will be the third establishment in the Freehand chain. Freehand, a partnership between Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Company and the Sydell Group, will create a mix of traditional guest rooms and hostel-style rooms with up to eight beds. Los Angeles-based Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the redesign of the 13-story Beaux Arts structure, originally designed by the firm Walker & Eisen. A rooftop pool and lounge are planned, as are ground-floor retail and a restaurant. The tall neon sign on the corner of the structure will be preserved. The hotel is slated to open in 2016.
LA KRETZ INNOVATION CAMPUS: The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator is on target for move-ins to begin during the second quarter of this year, said Fred Walti, executive director of LACI. The entire La Kretz Innovation Campus should be finished by the third quarter, he added. The 30,000-square-foot clean technology project and business incubator at 525 S. Hewitt St. will serve as a home for young companies, and will include conference facilities, research and development labs and other tools. The Arts District project will vastly increase the number of entrepreneurs LACI houses and helps. The La Kretz Innovation Campus will include a small park with a water feature, Wi-Fi, grass and tables. The DWP’s Energy Efficiency Group is also expected to house its testing and demonstration labs on site. At laincubator.com.
THE BLOC: Developer Wayne Ratkovich continues his $180 million transformation of the former Macy’s Plaza, and the project dubbed The Bloc is now scheduled to open in the fall. Construction crews have removed most of the office lobby and are completing the interior work on the retail portion of the complex. They are also deep into the brick removal work. Last August, The Ratkovich Company and Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse announced that a nine-screen movie theater with 800 seats will open in The Bloc. More recently, company officials said that the San Francisco men’s shop Wingtip will have an outpost in the refurbished mall. The work involves a complete redesign of the 42-year-old facility bounded by Seventh, Eighth, Hope and Flower streets. Plans call for creating an open-air space on the street level. Additionally, the complex’s Sheraton hotel is undergoing a $40 million renovation. At theblocdowntown.com.
OPENED IN THE PAST FIVE MONTHS
CLEANTECH MANUFACTURING CENTER: The large project in southeast Downtown has reached its ending point and the search is on for tenants. The two larger buildings on the 20-acre campus at 2455 E. Washington Blvd. were completed in December, and the third and final building was finished the last week of January, said Philip Tsui, a development manager with Trammell Crow, which has partnered on the project with Principal Real Estate Investors. The developers are now seeking clean technology and other tenants looking for state-of-the-art industrial and manufacturing space. At ctmc.info.
GAP FACTORY STORE: The Gap Factory Store opened at 737 S. Broadway on Dec. 15. The 7,842-square-foot space is the first Downtown Los Angeles outpost for the San Francisco-based retailer. Unlike traditional Gaps found in shopping malls and other locations, the Factory Store offers lower-priced items, many listed at up to 70% off regular retail price. The business has 12-foot ceilings and large plate-glass windows fronting Broadway.
GRAND PARK PLAYGROUND: A $1 million children’s playground on the east side of Grand Park opened Nov. 22. Construction on the 3,700-square-foot attraction, propelled by former County Supervisor Gloria Molina, took about six months. Architecture firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the playground, which has a forest theme. The fenced-in facility is highlighted by a 20-foot-tall structure with two slides. It also has a 10-foot long tunnel, a series of berms for playing on, and benches for parents. Half the funds came from Proposition A, a county measure passed by voters for the creation of park space, and the other half came from the nonprofit First 5 LA.
HALL OF JUSTICE: The County Hall of Justice reopened on Oct. 8, more than two decades after being closed due to damage it suffered in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The building at 211 W. Temple St. received a $230 million renovation overseen by the county and orchestrated by architecture firm AC Martin and Maryland-based builder Clark Construction Group. In the past, the 1925 landmark held 17 courtrooms and more than 700 jail cells. It has been transformed into a home for members of the District Attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s Department and other county entities. The project included the creation of a 1,000-stall parking garage on the north end of the property. Pressure washing of the exterior turned the granite facade from a traffic-tinged gray back to a gleaming white.
HANOVER SOUTH PARK: Houston-based developer Hanover Company’s first South Park project, at 939 S. Hill St., opened in January. The 284-apartment building at Olympic Boulevard and Hill Street offers studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 500 to 1,260 square feet. There are also three one-bedroom live/work lofts (about 1,000 square feet). Rents run from $2,050 to $3,925. Amenities include a pool, a courtyard with fire pits and grills, a roof terrace, a clubroom with a kitchen and a TV lounge, and a theater room. There is also 12,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, according to Hanover development partner Ryan Hamilton. The building’s design comes from architecture firm TCA, which is also designing Hanover’s two other South Park projects. At hanoversouthpark.com.
MERCEDES-BENZ RENOVATION: The Downtown L.A. Auto Group celebrated the completion of a $30 million renovation of the Downtown L.A. Motors, Mercedes-Benz dealership on Nov. 5. The showroom at 1801 S. Figueroa St. has been expanded from 15,000 to 25,000 square feet and features all new furniture and fixtures, according to company CEO Darryl Holter. A new service facility with 70 bays and a parking structure is expected to open this summer at the Figueroa Corridor business. At mbzla.com.
ONE SANTA FE: The biggest project to hit the Arts District in decades, One Santa Fe, began move-ins last September. The $160 million project from developers McGregor Brown Company, Cowley Real Estate Partners, Polis Builders and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors created 438 apartments at 300 S. Santa Fe Ave., across from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. The six-story project designed by architect Michael Maltzan has a 200-foot-wide opening at Third Street, and a paseo veers at an angle roughly parallel to Santa Fe Avenue, opening to the sidewalk near Fourth Street. The studio to two-bedroom apartments start at around $1,700, and 88 residences have been set aside as affordable housing. The project’s 78,000-square-foot retail component, The Yards, will hold about 25 shops and restaurants, including the grocery store Grow, vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. The project includes approximately 610 parking spaces, and there is an art space and a 99-seat theater for use by the community. At osfla.com.
REGENT THEATER: The long-delayed Regent finally opened on Nov. 7. Mitchell Frank of Downtown-based Spaceland Productions partnered with Knitting Factory Entertainment and development company Artist & Recreation to update the faded 1914 entertainment venue at 448 S. Main St. The refurbished structure, which had been empty for decades, now can hold 1,100 people for indie rock shows, dance nights and other events (including a monthly flea market). In addition to installing state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment, the renovation involved pulling out the old seats and building a new mezzanine level. The Historic Core theater’s marquee has been restored, and the project includes a new bar, The Lovesong, and the 50-seat, Neapolitan-style Prufrock Pizzeria. At theregenttheater.com.
ROSSLYN APARTMENTS: Nonprofit housing developer SRO Housing Corporation spent 16 months and $16 million upgrading the 1923 Rosslyn Apartments, and 75 veterans began moving into the building at 112 W. Fifth St. last September. The full renovation has created 264 rooms for low-income individuals, chronically homeless veterans and people with disabilities. SRO Housing acquired the Historic Core property in 2010, and during the renovation all the units received new kitchenettes, and 66 apartments got updated showers. There is a community room on the second floor. It marked SRO Housing’s 30th completed project. At srohousing.org.
THE EMERSON: Developer Related California, which has been working for nearly a decade to get the massive mixed-use project The Grand off the ground on Bunker Hill, finally opened a building last October. The 20-story luxury complex The Emerson (not part of The Grand) features 216 studio to two-bedroom residences ranging from 582-1,440 square feet; rents are about $2,300-$8,000 (though 55 apartments are designated as affordable housing). The $120 million project at 225 S. Grand Ave., designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, is immediately south of the under-construction art museum The Broad, and will share a courtyard with the coming attraction. Also coming to The Emerson is a ground-floor Italian restaurant. The apartments are full of upscale touches such as wood plank floors, walnut cabinets, stainless steel appliances, Nest thermostats and keyless door locks. The project includes a large pool, a Jacuzzi and a private dog run, complete with a pet-washing station. At theemersonla.com.
THE SPRINGS: The 13,800-square-foot The Springs opened in October. The $1.3 million project from Kimberly Helms and Jared Stein is essentially a temple of healthy living, with a yoga studio, a 92-seat vegan restaurant, a retail pop-up shop and wellness center offering, among other things, an infrared sauna and a colon hydrotherapy service. The indoor-outdoor space at 608 Mateo St. has a roll-up glass and metal door and bike racks in front of and inside the building. At thesprings.la.com.