Development: Updates on 87 Downtown Projects
By Donna Evans, Eddie Kim and Jon Regardie | Posted
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – In the last few months, the world, finally, has caught up with everything that is happening in Downtown Los Angeles. Consider: The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post just published articles on all that there is to do and see (and eat) in the Central City. These pieces followed effusive stories in GQ and the New York Times.
This makes sense considering the boom period Downtown is enjoying, with dozens of projects steaming ahead. Major national and international developers are rushing to take a stake in the area — in recent months, the Canadian firms Amacon and Onni Group announced plans for a total of four Downtown housing high-rises. This investment occurs as other long-planned projects are finally getting back into gear: Related Cos. is working on schematic designs for the $650 million The Grand, and Hearst Corp. is prepping for development of the historic Herald Examiner Building.
It’s not all speculation and planning. Thousands of construction workers are already employed in the area, and several major projects are either opening or ready to debut. South Park just got a big housing addition with the Avant apartments. A new Marriott hotel complex is set to open this summer near L.A. Live.
In the following pages, Los Angeles Downtown News runs down the latest information on 87 projects. With all that is in the pipeline, consider this just a start.
These projects were either publicly announced, were revived or gained prominence in the past three months.
420 BOYD ST.: Two long-vacant adjacent buildings are being turned into creative office space and a microbrewery, said project developer Dilip Bhavnani. The buildings at 420 Boyd St. are on the same block as The Escondite, a popular restaurant/bar in the Toy District. Bhavnani said the five-story structure at the corner of Boyd and Omar streets will house five tenants, with each occupying a full floor. The neighboring edifice would hold a microbrewery and an iron works shop where clients of the Fred Jordan Mission would be employed.
820 S. OLIVE ST.: The Vancouver, Canada-based developer Onni Group, which is currently constructing an apartment building at 888 S. Olive St., plans to erect a 50-story residential tower between Hill and Olive streets. The project would bring 589 housing units and 600 parking stalls to the site between South Park and the Financial District. An adjacent 6,584-square-foot single room occupancy hotel, on land owned by the developer, will remain, said project architect Chris Dikeakos. No budget or timeline for the project has been announced.
1133 S. HOPE ST.: Vancouver, Canada-based developer Amacon is moving forward on a 28-story tower that received city approvals in 2008 but then stalled, partly because of the recession. The project, which has recently been dusted off, would include 208 residential units and 5,029 square feet of restaurant and retail space. The tower would extend from a rectangular parking podium and would rise on a current parking lot just east of the Flower Street Lofts. In addition to a pool and spa, the building would offer a fitness room, library, communal kitchen and media room.
1200 S. FLOWER ST.: Developer Onni Group hopes to bring a pair of residential high-rises to 1200 S. Flower St. The Vancouver, Canada-based developer is seeking entitlements for 31- and 40-story buildings that would deliver a total of 730 housing units and approximately 843 parking spaces to South Park. An existing five-story, 72,000-square-foot office building would remain, and a two-story warehouse would be razed. The project would have a landscaped podium deck and amenities would include a swimming pool and a dog run. The developer has not revealed the project’s budget or timeline.
OLYMPIC AND OLIVE: The Hanover Company, which is working on two residential projects in South Park, is now in the process of entitling a third building on Olympic Boulevard. The seven-story edifice would sit adjacent to Hanover’s Olympic and Hill development and would feature 263 apartments. The project would contain 14,500 square feet of street-level retail and commercial space. The building would rise above two and a half stories of subterranean parking, which would have only 250 stalls — the company plans to cut down on expensive car parking requirements by utilizing the city’s bicycle parking incentives. As with the two other Hanover projects, architecture firm TCA is handling the design, which shows a multi-textured, articulated facade; most street-side units would have glass balconies. The developer has not revealed a timeline or a budget.
801 S. OLIVE ST.: San Francisco-based developer Carmel Partners has completed the entitlement process for a 27-story residential tower at the corner of Eighth and Olive streets. It is now entering the preconstruction phase, and the company hopes to break ground in the first quarter of 2015, according to Senior Vice President of Development Dan Garibaldi. Construction would take about 30 months, putting the tower’s estimated completion in the third quarter of 2017. The high-rise would feature 363 units (studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and four penthouses) and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Planned amenities include a rooftop pool and lounge, open-air decks and a fitness center. The project also would have a three-floor parking podium above street level that would be wrapped in translucent panels so that it emits a soft glow at night.
950 E. THIRD ST.: A groundbreaking is scheduled for the spring for a 472-apartment project at 950 E. Third St. in the Arts District, said Dilip Bhavnani, a managing member of Legendary Development. The $150 million complex will rise on a six-acre site adjacent to the Southern California Institute of Architecture. The project, which will create a new road parallel to Santa Fe Avenue and perpendicular to Third Street, will consist of three structures, each five to six stories high. The entire development will be built in a single phase. Construction is expected to take about three years.
1000 S. GRAND AVE.: Houston-based developer the Hanover Company broke ground on a 274-unit, seven-story apartment building in late April, and construction is slated to last 18-24 months, according to project consultant Jim Ries of Craig Lawson & Co. The complex at Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard will feature studio to two-bedroom apartments, as well as 12,000 square feet of street-level retail space with enough sidewalk room for outdoor dining. The design from TCA Architects offers courtyards throughout the building, and the majority of the street-side apartments will have glass balconies. Hanover’s last project in Downtown was the luxury tower 717 Olympic.
1001 S. OLIVE ST.: A groundbreaking for Miami-based developer Lennar Multifamily’s seven-story building at the southwest corner of Olive Street and Olympic Boulevard has been pushed back to mid-June, according to project representative Sheila Gonzaga. The apartment complex would have 201 units, including 12 two-story townhomes at street level, as well as 4,100 square feet of retail and commercial space. Amenities at the South Park structure would include a third-floor pool and spa deck overlooking Olive Street, a top-floor deck at the corner of Olympic and Olive, and a dog park on the east side of the property. The apartments would sit on three floors of parking (with one floor built underground) that would provide 228 spaces.
1027 WILSHIRE BLVD.: The Central City Development Group has partnered with the Amidi Real Estate Group on a plan to build a 376-unit rental project at 1027 Wilshire Blvd. in City West. According to the Department of Building and Safety’s website, project officials have submitted a permit application to demolish a three-story structure on the site and clear the lot in preparation for construction. The development would rise across the street from 1010 Wilshire, a corporate housing complex that Amidi created. The new building would also contain 6,500 square feet of retail and 5,000 square feet of office space. No timeline or budget have been revealed.
AVA LITTLE TOKYO: The construction process is almost complete on the first phase of the Little Tokyo project being developed by Avalon Bay Communities, with 104 apartments above 13,500 square feet of street-level retail expected to be finished late this year. The second phase, with 176 apartments and townhouses, is scheduled to open in 2015. The development will include a pool, rooftop deck, landscaped courtyards, fitness accommodations and an amenity the website calls a “chill lounge.” The six-story complex, at 236 S. Los Angeles St., will offer studio and one- to three-bedroom apartments ranging from 642-1,300 square feet. Lease applications are being accepted and, according to the website, studios will start at $1,933, one-bedrooms will begin at $2,046 and rents in two-bedroom units will go from $2,933. At avalittletokyo.com.
BROADWAY AND OLYMPIC APARTMENTS: Historic Core developer Barry Shy expects to secure permits this month for three housing structures near Broadway and Olympic Boulevard. One would transform a 12-story building immediately south of the Ace Hotel into 150 apartments. Shy also bought the adjacent parking lot north of Broadway and Olympic. There, he plans to create 250 units in a building that will rise to about 13 stories along Broadway and to about 20 stories along Olympic Boulevard. Over at 916 S. Hill St., Shy plans to build another 250 units in a 20- or 21-story tower on a property that is currently a parking lot. Shy said he paid $30 million for the two Broadway properties and the Hill Street site.
DA VINCI: The 526-apartment complex at 909 W. Temple St. is on track to open by the end of summer, said Geoff Palmer, head of project developer G.H. Palmer Associates. The complex will feature five stories of studio to two-bedroom apartments sitting above three levels of parking; also in the works are 8,200 square feet of street-level retail. Some two-floor, two-bedroom lofts are available. Amenities at Da Vinci, designed in the same Italian/Mediterranean style as many other G.H Palmer projects, include a fitness center, pool and barbeque areas. Atthedavinciapts.com.
EIGHTH AND GRAND APARTMENTS: Developer Carmel Partners continues work on a 700-unit apartment complex at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue, and is slightly ahead of schedule — the project is tracking toward a second- or third-quarter 2015 opening, according to Dan Garibaldi, Carmel’s senior vice president of development. The design features floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, a rooftop pool and central courtyards. The project will also feature a 42,000-square-foot Whole Foods market on the ground floor. The San Francisco-based developer is also getting ready to begin construction on a 27-story tower at Eighth and Olive streets.
EIGHTH AND HOPE APARTMENTS: The finish line is in sight for Atlanta-based developer Wood Partners’ 22-story tower at 801 S. Hope St. The building topped out in February and is on track to open by the third quarter of this year, said Wood Partners’ Director of Development Brian Hansen. The tower, being designed by Atlanta’s Preston Partnership and built by Matt Construction, will feature 290 one- and two-bedroom apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, a pool deck and a six-story parking podium (which has two subterranean floors). The tower also has 5,000 square feet of street-level retail, and negotiations for tenants are underway, Hansen said.
FOREST CITY SOUTH PARK: Developer Forest City has revealed plans to build two seven-story apartment buildings on two plots near the historic Herald Examiner building. One of the projects, at 156 W. 11th St. (intersection of Eleventh and Hill streets), is adjacent to the rear of the Herald Examiner and would feature 177 studio- to two-bedroom units as well as 7,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The second building, at 1201 S. Main St., would have 214 apartments and about 9,000 square feet of street-level retail space. Both buildings are being designed by architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux. Forest City has a $130 million to $140 million budget for the project, and hopes to finish construction by early 2017, according to the developer. No groundbreaking date has been scheduled. The developer, which is also building Blossom Plaza in Chinatown, bought the two parcels in December from the Hearst Corporation, which still owns the Herald Examiner building. The land was previously entitled for 23- and 37-story residential towers.
FOURTH AND BROADWAY: Veteran Downtown developer Izek Shomof hopes to break ground on a high-rise at Fourth Street and Broadway in 2015, said Hamid Behdad of the Central City Development Group, which is working with Shomof on the project. The 34-story tower would offer 450 residential units and the same number of parking stalls. The 450,000-square-foot development, being designed by Downtown-based architect HansonLA, would hold 7,000 square feet of retail space; early renderings show a mid-rise portion of the building with a curved segment fronting the southeast corner of Fourth and Broadway. The rectangular tower would rise on top of that. Although the building would be designed to condominium specifications, it would likely open as rentals, Behdad said.
G12: A groundbreaking has not been scheduled for a project being developed by Sonny Astani and private equity firm Wolff Company. However, they hope to begin construction by the end of the year on the complex bounded by Twelfth and Olive streets, Pico Boulevard and Grand Avenue, said Astani representative Ross Johnson. Astani partnered with parking lot giant L&R Group to purchase the three-acre site in 2012, with the goal of building a $245 million complex with 640 units. Last September, the South Park land was sold for $45 million to Arizona-based Wolff Company, with Astani staying on as a partner for the development. The project would rise in multiple phases, and the first round would bring a seven-story, 347-unit residential building. G12 would also have 42,000 square feet of retail. At astanienterprises.com.
MACFARLANE PARTNERS/PARK FIFTH: Developer MacFarlane Partners has received the entitlements for a two-building residential complex on a site bordered by Olive, Fifth and Hill streets, according to company representative Julie Chase. The proposal, on the plot where the mega-project Park Fifth was once planned, calls for one 24-story tower with 300 units and about 11,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The second building would be a seven-story, 315-unit structure with approximately 6,000 square feet of street-level commercial space. No budget or timeline have been revealed for the project just north of Pershing Square.
MEGATOYS LOFTS: The foundation slab was poured this month and underground parking is being prepared for a two-building, 320-unit apartment complex at 905 E. Second St., said Tom Wulf, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises, which is developing the project as a joint venture with Megatoys and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The Arts District property was long the headquarters for Megatoys, a toy business run by the Woo family. Designs by Togawa Smith Martin Architects call for two five-story buildings between First and Second streets flanking Garey Street. The $60 million development, which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015, will include 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor dining. The apartments will be studio to two-bedroom units with an average size of 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.
NEW PERSHING APARTMENTS: Construction on Skid Row Housing Trust’s 69-unit project at Fifth and Main streets is continuing, and the development is on track to be completed by October, said Dana Trujillo, housing development director for SRHT. The $16 million renovation of the former Pershing Hotel will create studio and one-bedroom residences ranging from 350-500 square feet. Though the project preserved much of the original building’s historic facade, the property is being expanded from about 37,000 square feet to almost 60,000 square feet. Amenities will include a landscaped courtyard and community room with a kitchen. The project, being designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, will also have ground-floor commercial space and administrative offices for social services and more. At skidrow.org.
OLYMPIC AND BROADWAY APARTMENTS: The groundbreaking on developer Geoff Palmer’s two-building project on two parcels at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway has been delayed because a cell tower needs to be moved, Palmer said. The start of construction is now slated for the end of May. The design features a 10-story, 439-unit building on what is currently a parking lot, and a six-story, 247-apartment structure on a lot that now holds a small building that will be demolished. Unlike many of Palmer’s other Downtown projects, the building will eschew Italian-inspired architecture in favor of a brick facade to better fit the surrounding neighborhood. The development is a partnership between Palmer and parking lot company L&R Group.
OLYMPIC AND HILL APARTMENTS: Construction on developer Hanover Company’s seven-story apartment project continues, with two levels of subterranean parking and nearly all the wood framing complete. The 281-unit complex at Olympic Boulevard and Hill Street — the first of three structures the developer plans to erect on adjacent blocks — will feature 16,000 square feet of street-level retail space, and the ground floor will have three live/work units. The design comes from architecture firm TCA, which is also working on the other Downtown Hanover projects. Construction is slated for completion by early 2015, according to the company. At tcaarchitects.com/olympic-and-hill.
ONNI TOWER: Construction continues on a 32-story apartment tower at 888 S. Olive St. The project from Vancouver-based Onni Group broke ground a year ago, and construction crews have now poured the concrete for the 24th floor, according to an Onni Group official. The $100 million structure in the southern part of the Financial District will create 303 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments. Onni is targeting an opening in the first quarter of 2015. It is the firm’s first project in Downtown; Onni has plans for two additional Downtown high-rise developments. The project does not yet have a name.
ONYX: A 410-unit, two-building complex proposed for Pico Boulevard at Flower and Hope streets has received its entitlements, according to a spokesman for developer Jade Enterprises. The South Park effort, dubbed Onyx, would be the first residential project for the company that has extensive holdings in the Fashion District. The Onyx would rise on two side-by-side parking lots over 42,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space. Neither budget nor timeline have been revealed.
ROSSLYN HOTEL: A renovation of the Rosslyn Hotel is approximately 65% complete, said Joseph Corcoran, director of planning and housing development for SRO Housing Corporation. The 264-unit affordable housing complex at Fifth and Main streets is slated to be finished by Halloween, he said. Currently work is proceeding on the second phase, with 165 units. The project involves the restoration of historic elements including the lobby and the facade. SRO Housing bought the 1913 Historic Core edifice in 2010. The project cost, including acquisition, is $33 million.
SARES-REGIS LITTLE TOKYO: The first set of residential units and retail in Little Tokyo’s seven-story structure are slated to come online in January 2016, said Sares-Regis spokeswoman Zoe Solsby. The 240-apartment complex at 232 E. Second St. will include 51 studio, 112 one- and 77 two-bedroom apartments measuring up to 1,220 square feet. Rents are projected to average $2,400 a month. The development will also hold some townhomes, more than 16,000 square feet of retail space and three levels of underground parking. At sares-regis.com.
SB OMEGA: Veteran developer Barry Shy said he continues to seek entitlements for the SB Omega. Progress on the planning for the proposed 40-story tower at 601 S. Main St. slowed when he changed the parking concept, he said, moving it to Sixth and Main streets. The 350-unit project in the Historic Core would be Shy’s sixth Downtown apartment building, but his first ground-up effort. He hopes to start construction within six months. No budget or anticipated opening date has been revealed.
SINGER SEWING MACHINE BUILDING: Construction is underway on the Singer Sewing Machine Building, and the edifice at 806 S. Broadway will be turned into seven apartments, including one penthouse, said Steve Needleman, who runs the Downtown property firm Anjac Fashion. Each unit will span 6,000 square feet, except the 10,000-square-foot penthouse; all units will have a balcony. Residents will also have access to a rooftop terrace. Needleman had been exploring a boutique hotel for the site, but opted instead for a rental project. Needleman anticipates one ground-floor retail space of less than 1,000 square feet that would front Eighth Street. Work could be complete by 2016, he said.
SPRING STREET APARTMENTS/GARAGE: The entitlement process for a proposed 40-story structure in the Historic Core began in earnest this month, said Greg Martin, vice president of developer Downtown Management. The company, which has turned three old Historic Core buildings into apartments, is planning to erect the high-rise on a current parking lot on Spring Street between the Spring Arcade Building and the Alexandria Hotel. The tower would have housing on top of six levels of parking and one floor of retail. The project does not yet have a budget or firm timeline. Martin said the entitlement process should take approximately one year.
THE CHELSEA: According to the most recent information available, construction has not yet started on Nick Hadim’s renovation of the annex of the Alexandria Hotel. The $5 million project at 216 W. Fifth St. was initially slated to begin late last year. Hadim previously said he plans to turn the Historic Core edifice, which was built in 1910 and is sometimes referred to as the “ghost building,” into 28 apartments. The structure requires significant renovations, and it is likely that floor plans will be changed to bring the edifice up to code. The building was originally a wing of the Alexandria, but a dispute between two property owners led to it being walled off from the hotel in 1934.
THE EMERSON: The Related Cos.’ $120 million luxury apartment complex The Emerson will open Oct. 1, said Related California President Bill Witte. Pre-leasing in the 19-story building south of the under-construction Broad art museum on Grand Avenue will begin in July, he added. The exterior has been completed, and work is now taking place inside. The Emerson will hold 271 apartments, with 20% set aside as affordable housing. Amenities in the building designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica will include high-end finishes, a rooftop pool, a full business center, and a dog run for residents’ pets in the rear of the property. The building will also have a ground-floor restaurant, an offshoot of the Beverly Hills Italian establishment Ago. The Emerson will be adjacent to the Broad museum’s public courtyard, which will have its own restaurant.
TITLE INSURANCE BUILDING: Construction continues on a renovation of the 1928 Title Insurance Building, said Bill Lindborg of Borg Development. The structure at 433 S. Spring St. is slated to be turned into 216 residential units, with 40,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.
TOPAZ: Jade Enterprises received entitlements in early April for a 159-unit apartment complex in the Historic Core, according to a company spokesman. Jade intends to erect a seven-story building at 550 S. Main St. on what is now a parking lot. The project, dubbed Topaz, would stretch between Main and Los Angeles streets. The complex, just north of the Santa Fe Lofts at Sixth and Main streets, would include 23,000 square feet of retail and would offer studio and one- to three-bedroom units. The spokesman said the project is on track for a groundbreaking this year.
VALENCIA: Developer Sonny Astani has secured entitlements for the Valencia, a six-story, 218-unit residential project at 1501-1521 W. Wilshire Blvd., but has not scheduled a groundbreaking. The City West project would feature 4,400 square feet of street-level retail and commercial space, balconies on most units and open courtyards. Killefer Flammang Architects is handling the design. Construction is slated to last 18 months. Astani declined to give a budget for the project. Atastanienterprises.com.
BLOSSOM PLAZA: Developer Forest City is continuing the excavation and shoring process on its $100 million Blossom Plaza at 900 N. Broadway, and expects to move into the next phase of construction in late summer, said Frank Frallicciardi, vice president of development at Forest City’s Los Angeles office. The five-story Chinatown project, which will have 237 studio- to three-bedroom apartments (with 53 reserved for low-income residents), is slated to open in spring 2016. Blossom Plaza will also feature 20,000 square feet of retail space (the tenant search has begun), a 17,000-square-foot public plaza and a walkway connecting the Metro Gold Line station to Broadway in the heart of Chinatown. The project broke ground last year, nearly a decade after plans were first proposed by a different developer. In April, work crews discovered portions of the Zanja Madre, the city’s historic water supply system. It was removed and will be preserved.
CITY MARKET: The environmental impact report for the massive City Market development has been submitted and is awaiting city comment, said property owner and developer Peter Fleming. The project would transform the 1909 produce mart, a collection of mostly unused warehouses bounded by Ninth, San Pedro, San Julian and 12th streets, into a $1 billion hub of housing, office space, hotel rooms and a college campus. The first phase in the 10-acre mega-project being designed by Downtown-based architect Douglas Hanson calls for transforming two aged buildings: One would hold 150 residential units, and the other would be an office structure. The complex 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: The 4.6-acre site immediately east of Staples Center was sold late last year for $200 million to Beijing-based Oceanwide Real Estate Group. The seller was New York-based Moinian Group, which for years planned to build a campus with 45- and 33-story towers, 220 hotel rooms and additional retail and commercial space. The South Park site has been entitled, though it is unknown what Oceanwide intends to erect there. The property is currently used as two surface parking lots.
HERALD EXAMINER BUILDING: With developer Blossom Plaza announcing plans to build two apartment buildings near the Herald Examiner Building at 1111 S. Broadway, the owner of the 1913 structure, San Francisco-based Hearst Corporation, is preparing to begin work on its own property. Hearst hopes to start renovations of the Herald Examiner Building in spring 2015, according to Los Angeles Property Manager Doyle McDonald. The two-story building was formerly the headquarters of William Randolph Hearst’s L.A. newspaper. The developer plans to convert the first floor (35,000 square feet) into retail space and the second floor (another 35,000 square feet) into creative offices. No timeline or budget has been revealed.
MACK URBAN PROJECT: After buying up six acres in South Park last October for $80 million, developer Mack Urban in April announced plans to build two seven-story structures on a parcel bordered by Pico Boulevard and Olive and Hill streets. The design calls for 362 condominiums, including 23 townhome-style residences, with about 6,400 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space. The project is being designed by Downtown architecture firm AC Martin. No budget or timeline has been announced. The two buildings essentially compose half of Mack Urban’s plan to build an interconnected South Park project that features large amounts of public green space. Mack Urban officials in February announced plans for hotel and residential towers on a nearby site bounded by Grand Avenue and 12th and Olive streets. Mack Urban is partnering with AECOM Capital on the entire South Park development, which has an estimated total budget of $750 million.
MEDALLION 2.0: Developer Saeed Farkhondehpour continues to pursue entitlements for a second phase of the Medallion project. The effort, north of the current Medallion buildings, would bring approximately 500 residential units (up from initial plans for 300 apartments) to three buildings facing Third and Main streets. Farkhondehpour expects to spend another eight months securing permits and hopes to begin construction in the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime, he is working to bring several dining establishments to vacant retail space in the existing complex at Fourth and Main streets. Confirmed eateries include a new Uzbek cuisine restaurant dubbed Samarkand Cafe and Downtown outposts of Big Mista’s Barbecue and the Bread Bar bakery.
METROPOLIS: Though a ceremonial groundbreaking on the mixed-use mega-project Metropolis took place on Feb. 14, only pre-construction work has begun; the start of actual construction is slated for June, according to Ryan Aubry, development manager with Greenland U.S. Shanghai-based developer Greenland Group completed its purchase of the site from IDS Real Estate Group at the end of January, reviving the mixed-use development after nearly 27 years of stagnation. The 6.33-acre Metropolis site is bounded by the 110 Freeway and Francisco, Eighth and Ninth streets, and the first phase of construction will create two towers joined by a large public plaza. One will be a 38-story building with about 300 units (it has not yet been revealed whether they will be rentals or for sale), while the other will be a 19-story hotel with 350 rooms. Both buildings are being designed by architecture firm Gensler. Construction on the first phase will take about 30 months, according to Gensler Managing Principal Robert Jernigan. Greenland and Gensler declined to discuss future phases, but a city memo indicates that three more towers are planned for residential and office purposes. The entire project is budgeted at $1 billion.
ONE SANTA FE: Pre-leasing began May 2 for the hulking Arts District development One Santa Fe. Floor plans for the 438 apartments on the eastern edge of the Arts District show units with carpet, hardwood or concrete floors. Move-ins at the $160 million project across from the Southern California Institute of Architecture are expected to begin in early fall. In addition to the apartments, the project will have 78,000 square of retail space, with 15,000 square feet dedicated to an as-yet unidentified grocery store. The mammoth project will offer a pair of six-story structures along with a 47,400-square-foot plaza facing Santa Fe Avenue and 802 underground parking spaces. One Santa Fe’s development team is comprised of Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds Investments, McGregor Company, Polis Builders, Cowley Real Estate Partners and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. Michael Maltzan is the architect. At osfla.com.
THE GRAND: Developer Related Companies is working on refining schematic designs for The Grand with architect Frank Gehry, said Related California President Bill Witte. The designs are due to be submitted to city and county officials by the end of September. Witte said Related is also beginning a pre-leasing effort for the retail, food and beverage and entertainment space in the Grand Avenue project. The Grand had initially been proposed before the recession, but stalled during the economic downturn. It was resuscitated last November, in part because Related teamed with SLS Hotel owner Sam Nazarian. The Downtown project, valued at approximately $650 million, will include a 300-room SLS Hotel that will contain 25-35 condominiums. There will also be a residential tower that will be approximately 420 feet tall with 380-450 apartments. The other major component of the project is a podium with a stacked mix of shops and restaurants that would be situated around a central plaza that opens to Grand Avenue. Witte said the current goal is to begin construction in December 2015 and open by the end of 2018.
WILSHIRE GRAND REPLACEMENT: Developer Korean Air orchestrated the world’s largest concrete pour last February, and since then construction workers have been focusing on the below-grade parking foundation at the northwest corner of Seventh and Figueroa streets. Crews have been installing grade beams, walls and underground utilities, said Sean Rossall, a spokesman for the $1 billion project that is being designed and managed by AC Martin. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 and open the following year; once finished it will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The 73-story tower with a sloped roof will have 900 hotel rooms and 400,000 square feet of office space, along with retail and restaurant space. At wilshiregrandcenter.com.
CIVIC AND NONPROFIT
ARTS DISTRICT PARK: The final community meeting has been held to discuss design possibilities for a $1.6 million, half-acre park at Fifth and Hewitt streets in the Arts District. Officials from the city Bureau of Engineering and the Department of Recreation and Parks expect to have a rendering in the next few months, said Miguel Vargas of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar’s office. Money for the park, which will replace a parking lot south of Urth Caffe, has been secured through Quimby fees, which developers pay for park creation. Current designs suggest six- to eight-foot fences with an eight-foot wall for mural art, outdoor eating areas and plaza space, a playground, shade trees around the perimeter, concrete seating, and security and nighttime lighting.
BROADWAY REVITALIZATION: The city is continuing work on the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, a two-phase, multi-year project to revitalize Broadway between First and 11th streets. Work in April on the $1.5 million first phase, also referred to as the “dress rehearsal,” included repaving crosswalks and other pedestrian areas. The dress rehearsal involves using temporary and semi-permanent materials — such as planters, flexible poles and street paint — to reduce Broadway’s six driving lanes to three (two northbound, one southbound), “extend” the sidewalk and create protected loading and parking zones. The dress rehearsal is slated for completion by mid-August, according to city officials. Eventually, the city will make the changes permanent in phase two, but that will happen on a block-by-block basis as funding is secured (nearly $5 million has been raised thus far, enough to complete two blocks). The streetscape plan is part of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative. Atbringingbackbroadway.com.
BUDOKAN OF LOS ANGELES: The fundraising effort continues for the Little Tokyo Service Center’s proposed $22 million sports and activities center, said Scott Ito, the project manager. Groundbreaking is expected on the long-anticipated development in 2016, with completion approximately 12-14 months later. The project would create a 40,000-square-foot facility on Los Angeles between Second and Third streets with a two-court gymnasium, a mezzanine with an outdoor terrace, community space and a rooftop park. The Budokan would be used for an array of sports, athletic tournaments, special events and a variety of community programming. At budokanoflosangeles.com.
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE: Work continues on the $400 million Federal Courthouse, which will rise the southwest corner of First Street and Broadway in the Civic Center. Crews broke ground last August and began the excavation process this year. The approximately 600,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open in 2016, will have 24 courtrooms and 32 judges’ chambers, as well as rooms for district judges, U.S. Marshals and other federal services. The design from architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill depicts the courthouse as a large cube, with a serrated glass window facade, “floating” on a stone base. The jagged windows will help bring light into the building, yet cut solar heat gain by nearly 50%, according to SOM.
FIGUEROA CORRIDOR BIKEWAY: A plan that would trim vehicular lanes along the Figueroa Corridor to make room for cyclists and pedestrians is closer to reality, as stakeholders who in the past expressed concern about losing business have relaxed their opposition. The $20 million project would remake a three-mile section of Figueroa Street between the Financial District and Exposition Park into a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly corridor. Business owners have expressed concern that traffic tie-ups and overall driving hassles, in part due to protected bike lanes on each side of the street, will lead to a drop in revenue. However, the Shammas Group, which owns eight auto dealerships on Figueroa, recently withdrew a formal protest to the project after discussions on several key issues, among them keeping the entrance and the exit to all dealerships free from congestion. My Figueroa is funded by state Prop 1C bond money, and the deadline to complete construction is Dec. 31, 2014. The city is seeking an extension. Atmyfigueroa.com.
FIRST AND BROADWAY PARK: Demolition began in April and a groundbreaking was held May 15 for a park at First Street and Broadway; demolition is expected to last five months. The project recently secured $4.3 million in Quimby fees, which are charged to developers for the creation of green space. The park, which will rise on the site of a former state office building that was razed after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, is slated to cost $10 million. The city Department of Recreation and Parks anticipates that the remaining $5.7 million will come from a combination of future Quimby fees and department contributions. The city last year acquired the lot across from City Hall that is known mostly for being covered by graffiti. The park is expected to complement Grand Park, which lies directly to the north.
GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL MEDICAL PAVILION: Construction continues and the $80 million Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Pavilion is expected to open early in the second quarter of 2015, according to hospital spokeswoman Katrina Bada. A topping-out of the seven-story medical office building at Wilshire Boulevard and Witmer Street in City West took place in January. The 190,000-square-foot edifice, being designed by Ware Malcolmb, will hold the Frank R. Seaver Ambulatory Surgery Center, with eight operating suites. Additionally, the project has 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 Severson.
HALL OF JUSTICE: With a 1,000-stall underground parking garage having been completed this year, construction crews are now focusing on interior and facade improvements for the 1925 Hall of Justice at 211 W. Temple St. The $234 million development is on track for completion in August, said project representative Sean Rossall. The renovated Civic Center building will house the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office when it opens, and the first floor will feature an area displaying some of the structure’s historic elements, including a cellblock that once held Charles Manson. The building was shut down after it sustained significant damage in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.
LOS ANGELES RIVER: There continues to be a delay with the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision on which revitalization plan to pursue for the Los Angeles River. The Corps initially proposed a $450 million upgrade known as Alternative 13, which would open access and restore habitats along 11 miles of the river. However, city officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, have lobbied for an approximately $1 billion effort known as Alternative 20, which would revive the waterway on a much larger scale and connect the river to Los Angeles State Historic Park. In early April, Garcetti sent a letter to the Army Corps expressing his support of Alternative 20 and his willingness to have the city take on 50% of the project cost, according to city officials. In the meantime, other projects to expand or restore parks along the river continue, including the Taylor Yard Bridge project in Elysian Valley and the Albion Riverside Park in Lincoln Heights. Atlariver.org.
LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK: The 34-acre park on the edge of Chinatown closed in April for a year-long renovation. The approximately $20 million effort spearheaded by the California State Parks Department will add new permanent facilities such as a welcome center, bathrooms and parking lots. In addition, the park will be reshaped with several distinct landscape features, including large meadows, a children’s play area, a citrus-tree lined promenade and a two-acre restored wetlands area. State Parks considered shutting down segments of the park in phases, but decided to close for a full year to save costs. Atlashp.wordpress.com.
LOS ANGELES STREETCAR: The environmental review process for the Los Angeles Streetcar continues, led by recently hired project manager URS Corporation. The project’s environmental impact report is slated for completion by late spring, according to the office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar. Meanwhile, the proposed project, which would connect the Civic Center and L.A. Live with a main route on Broadway, continues to seek funding. In March, the streetcar was accepted into the project development stage of the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts grant program, with the aim of winning a $75 million grant by summer 2016, according to FTA documents. In 2012, residents along the streetcar’s proposed route voted to tax area property owners up to $85 million for the project. Streetcar officials say the project is likely to cost up to $165 million, excluding the price of underground utility relocations; a city analysis found that utility work could push the cost to between $232.3 million and $327.8 million. The streetcar team is currently surveying the cost of utility relocation and expects to have a firm figure by the summer. At streetcar.la.
MERCED THEATRE: The City Council in April approved an update to the renovation plan for the historic Merced Theatre. Last year, the city green-lighted a proposal to house the city’s Channel 35 studio, which airs all council meetings and other programs related to city government, in the structure near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. The additional work involves reactivating the Masonic Hall as well. The $23 million project will also turn the first floor of the theater into a live studio space for use in public forums or for city-sponsored cultural activities. Funding for the renovation, which includes seismic retrofitting and the installation of an elevator, comes from fees paid by cable providers for the support of public-access television. The project is expected to take about three years.
METRO BUS FACILITY: The completion of the $104 million Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility was delayed about three months in the wake of a March construction accident. A deck-forming failure in the project at the northeast corner of Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue resulted in a collapse, and though no one was injured, the opening has been pushed back to spring 2015, according to a representative of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The accident site is being repaired, and crews are working on pouring the decks for the third level of the project; a topping out is expected in the next two months. The project is intended to hold 200 buses and will contain a multi-level garage, a fueling depot and areas for washing vehicles. The facility 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. The project will also create 397 parking spaces for District 13 employees. Atmetro.net.
PARKER CENTER REPLACEMENT:With City Council approval, Parker Center, the former headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, will be demolished and replaced by a new 750,000-square-foot building with space for parking, said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works. The decision to demolish the 1955 structure came after the city conducted an Environmental Impact Report and considered several alternatives, including reusing all or part of the 59-year-old Civic Center building. No budget or timeline for a replacement of Parker Center has been revealed. The property that fronts Los Angeles Street was vacated in 2009 when the LAPD moved into the $400 million Police Administration Building.
REGIONAL CONNECTOR: Pre-construction work on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $1.37 billion Regional Connector continues, resulting in occasional street closures in Downtown. The project will connect multiple light rail lines in Downtown to streamline travel throughout the region, and it will also create three new stations, at First Street and Central Avenue; Second Street and Broadway and Second and Hope streets. Most of the pre-construction work involves moving utilities. In mid-April, Metro began the relocation of an AT&T line on First Street, between Alameda Street and Central Avenue; that work is slated to continue through the end of June. Major construction will involve underground tunneling from the Financial District to Little Tokyo via Second Street, as well as digging along Flower Street to Wilshire Boulevard. Concerns about the impact on area businesses, meanwhile, have led the operators of Japanese Village Plaza, Thomas Properties Group and the Westin Bonaventure Hotel to mount a legal challenge to the construction plan. The Regional Connector is slated to finish in 2019. The project recently secured $670 million from the Federal Transit Administration. At metro.net/projects/connector.
SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT: Although demolition and construction of the 3,500-foot-long replacement for the Sixth Street Viaduct is not slated to begin until 2015, representatives from the city Department of Cultural Affairs have begun looking for interactive artwork to help decorate the project that will connect the Arts District and Boyle Heights. The bridge, built in 1932, has been weakened by an internal chemical condition called Alkali Silica Reaction. That led to the replacement effort, and in 2012 the city chose the Downtown office of HNTB Inc. to serve as the lead designer on the $401 million project. Also on the team are architect Michael Maltzan, Hargreaves Associates and AC Martin. The project will integrate bicycle and pedestrian access, open space and direct connections to the Los Angeles River. At
DELIJANI FAMILY THEATERS: Renovation work is slowly continuing on four historic Broadway theaters — the Los Angeles (615 S. Broadway), Palace (630 S. Broadway), State (703 S. Broadway) and Tower (802 S. Broadway) — owned by the Delijani family. The land-use approvals and alcohol permits were secured early this year, and plans for the theaters call for almost a dozen total bars, lounges and restaurants, according to project consultant Kate Bartolo. The Los Angeles and Palace theaters have been the priority thus far, though work on the State and Tower should pick up later this year, she said. The family has not revealed timelines for the construction work or budget figures.
FARMERS FIELD: Although an agreement between the city and Anschutz Entertainment Group to build Farmers Field on a 15-acre plot next to the Convention Center expires in October, the company continues to work to make the site the home for professional football in Los Angeles. The city could agree to extend the deadline. AEG officials say the project is shovel-ready, though they will not begin construction until an agreement is signed with a team and the NFL. The $1.4 billion project would create a 68,000-seat stadium where the Convention Center’s West Hall now stands. A replacement for the lost building, dubbed the Pico Hall and being designed by the firm Populous, would rise contiguous to the current Convention Center. Architecture firm Gensler is handling designs of the stadium that would feature a “deployable,” or removable roof. The project would include a $10 million expansion of the Blue Line’s Pico Station as part of AEG’s effort to have 25% of game attendees utilize public transit. As the deadline approaches, the city has also begun looking at ways to modernize the Convention Center even without Farmers Field. At farmersfield.com.
ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: The restoration of the windows on the exterior of the Italian American Museum is nearly complete, said Executive Director Marianna Gatto. Next up is the façade restoration on the Main Street and Cesar Chavez sides of the historic building. The long-awaited project is expected to open in the second half of the year, and possibly as soon as this summer. The Italian Hall, a $4.5 million effort at 125 Paseo de la Plaza near Olvera Street, will display rare photos, documents, maps and artifacts illustrating the legacy, contributions and influences of Italian Americans in the region. Some of the exhibits will be interactive. At italianhall.org.
LA PLAZA HISTORIC WALK: The LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation, which operates a museum and cultural center at 501 N. Main St. near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, is planning to activate and develop two surface parking lots adjacent to LA Plaza. The parcels total 3.7 acres, and LA Plaza officials have said the goal is to re-create a historic trail from Union Station to Fort Moore, with a path featuring programming, tourist attractions, retail and more. No timeline or budget has been revealed.
REGENT THEATRE: Workers are moving forward on renovations of the interior of the Regent Theatre at 448 S. Main St., said Beth Holden, a principal at the project’s architecture firm New Theme. The Historic Core building will become a concert venue, and a pizzeria will also open in the space. The project is led by Mitchell Frank, who owns concert promotion company Spaceland Productions. The hope, said Holden, is for the project to open by June.
THE BROAD: By June, the steel framing of the oculus, the dimple indentation on the Grand Avenue side of Eli Broad’s $140 million art museum, is expected to be installed, said Karen Denne, chief communications officer for The Broad. The developers are still awaiting installation of the veil, the lattice-like exterior of the project. The museum, being designed by the New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will rise directly south of Walt Disney Concert Hall, on top of a three-level, 370-car garage. The 120,000-square-foot museum will house Broad’s 2,000-piece contemporary art collection. The project will also include a lecture hall that seats 200 people, and there will be a large public courtyard with old-growth olive trees. An opening is expected sometime in 2015. Admission will be free. Atthebroad.com.
TRACTION AVENUE BREWPUB: Paperwork is still being secured for an Arts District bar, said Eddie Navarrette, chief consultant for F.E. Design & Consulting, which is representing the 258-seat project from Downtown nightlife proprietor Cedd Moses. More than half of the 17,320-square-foot business, which will occupy the former Crazy Gideon’s electronics store, would be dedicated to manufacturing and kitchen and beer service, Navarrette said. Moses’ license would also allow 5,000 barrels of beer to be sold off-site annually. The brewpub would offer 27 skeeball lanes and two ping-pong tables.
353 S. BROADWAY: Construction is underway on a $7.5 million renovation of the building at 353 S. Broadway, with completion expected in March 2015, said David Gray of David Gray Architects, who is both the developer and the designer. The building’s historic facade was restored as part of the renovation, and the project will turn the structure into creative office space, with ground-floor retail or restaurant space. An approximately 12-foot tall ficus tree continues to stick out of the fifth floor of the building. The tree will be removed.
ALAMEDA SQUARE: Evoq Properties continues to pursue tenants for its huge, four-building complex at 777 S. Alameda St., though no new leases have been inked. The most recent addition to Alameda Square was online retailer GoJane last December; fashion brands Ella Moss and Splendid joined last summer. Two buildings at the complex are occupied by clothing manufacturer and retailer American Apparel. The third building, which was renovated last year, is partly full and the fourth building requires upgrades, company CEO Martin Caverly said earlier this year. The ownership of the property may change in the future, as Evoq in February announced that the company’s board of directors is pursuing a sale of the company or a partnership with other investors.
CASE HOTEL: Developers Channing Henry, Frank Stork and the Kor Group hope to break ground late this year on a renovation of the Case Hotel, said Henry. They plan to do a full historic rehab of the 1924 edifice at 1106 S. Broadway, and aim to turn the 107,000-square-foot building into a four-star boutique hotel with 151 rooms. Downtown architecture firm Omgivning is handling the designs, and Henry said they hope to open in the first half of 2016. The team acquired the 13-story property across the street from the Herald Examiner Building last year for $13.5 million. Though currently empty, the Case Hotel recently housed facilities for the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles.
CLARK HOTEL: The doors to the Clark Hotel at 426 Hill St. remain shuttered, but those who peer through the street-level gates can see that ample work has been done on the ground floor. New York-based building owner Chetrit Group did not respond to multiple calls for comment, but plans were previously disclosed to turn the building just northeast of Pershing Square into a 347-room hotel. In the past the proposed hotel was opposed by hotel workers union Unite Here Local 11.
CLEANTECH MANUFACTURING CENTER: A groundbreaking ceremony for the long-anticipated Cleantech Manufacturing Center took place on April 10. The 370,000-square-foot industrial campus is being developed by Trammell Crow and Principal Real Estate Investors. Construction crews are in the process of creating the wall panels, having poured all the floor slabs at the development at 2455 E. Washington Blvd., said Trammell Crow Development Manager Philip Tsui. The project, on a 20-acre site, will consist of three large buildings. The developers are seeking clean technology and other tenants in the market for state-of-the-art industrial and manufacturing space. At ctmc.info.
CLIFTON’S RENOVATION: The restoration of the 1935 Clifton’s Cafeteria, at 648 S. Broadway, is on track for completion by the end of August, said property owner Andrew Meieran. The long-awaited renovation of the four-story building includes several eating and drinking establishments, as well as a new name: Clifton’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The first two floors will be a restored version of the classic cafeteria, serving up comfort food dishes. Other options will include a tiki bar and steakhouse-style eatery on the fourth floor, as well as a butcher, a specialty grocery and a bakery, according to the project’s website. Meieran acquired the building in 2010, but the project has seen both substantial delays and a swelling budget. The developer is now spending about $7.5 million on the renovation. At cliftonscafeteria.com.
DESMOND BUILDING: Developer Lincoln Property Company is renovating the 1917 Desmond Building at Eleventh and Hope streets, said Lincoln Vice President Rob Kane. The project will provide luxury creative office and retail space, and a sixth floor will be added to the South Park building. The developer, which has hired architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to handle designs, is spending about $9 million on the revitalization the property. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2015. At thedesmondla.com.
EMBASSY HOTEL AND TRINITY AUDITORIUM: According to the most recent information available, crews have begun work to turn the vacant Embassy Hotel and Trinity Auditorium at 849 S. Grand Ave. into a 183-room hotel. The plywood boards that were covering up the structure’s doors and windows were taken down in March, and online photos of the interior show that some guest rooms have been renovated and furnished. New York-based building owner Chetrit Group had also been planning to turn the approximately 12,000-square-foot auditorium into an entertainment venue, as well as build a 2,000-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor, a 7,600-square-foot outdoor garden, a lobby bar and a lounge. Chetrit Group did not respond to multiple calls for comment.
LA KRETZ INNOVATION CAMPUS: The La Kretz Innovation Campus is on track to open in the second quarter of 2015, said Fred Walti, executive director of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. The campus, a 30,000-square-foot clean technology project and business incubator at 525 S. Hewitt St. in the Arts District, broke ground last summer. The DWP paid $11.1 million for the building, which will offer a workforce training component. Additionally, the DWP’s Energy Efficiency Group is slated to house its testing and demonstration labs on site. Atlaincubator.com.
MARRIOTT HOTELS TOWER: The 23-story Marriott Tower adjacent to L.A. Live is on time and on budget, and guests will begin checking in to the property’s two hotels in June, with a July 1 grand opening celebration, according to a project representative. The $172 million development from Seattle-based American Life Inc. and Portland’s Williams/Dame & Associates will hold a 174-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 218-room Residence Inn in a single high-rise at 901 W. Olympic Blvd. The project, designed by Portland’s GBD Architects and constructed by SODO Builders, includes a rooftop pool and deck, a conference room, a fitness center, a 3,600-square-foot meeting room and a restaurant. Atcourtyardlalive.com and residenceinnlalive.com.
PICO AND FIGUEROA HOTEL: The city continues to evaluate what steps to take in order to increase the supply of hotel rooms in the area around the Convention Center, said Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller. Last fall, the city asked prospective developers to offer bids for a 19,000-square-foot city-owned parcel at Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street across from the Convention Center. However, no satisfactory bids were received. Though initial plans had called for a four-star or higher quality hotel, Miller said that provision is no longer required. The ultimate goal remains to open a hotel on the site.
RENAISSANCE HOTEL: Portland-based developer Williams/Dame & Associates continues to work with the investment group Ren L.A. Limited Partnership in the effort to determine the financial feasibility of building a 450-room Renaissance Hotel at the northeast corner of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street. The hotel would also provide 28,000 square feet of meeting space. Williams/Dame acquired the 60,000-square-foot parcel near L.A. Live from Anschutz Entertainment Group. Although the project when first announced was estimated at $200 million, no budget or timeline has been established. Williams/Dame is also developing the nearby $172 million Marriott Tower that will bring 392 Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn rooms to Downtown.
SPARKLE FACTORY: Jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino and her husband and business partner Alfonso Campos have begun preparations for opening a Tarina Tarantino jewelry and accessories store on the second floor of the 1914 building at 908 S. Broadway. The couple has been modernizing the structure, now known as the Sparkle Factory. In March, an outpost of upscale New York City boutique Oak opened on the ground floor of the building across the street from the Ace Hotel. Campos said they are also in negotiations with a bar tenant for the basement. Kennedy Wilson, the brokerage firm representing the Sparkle Factory, is showing the upper floors to companies looking for design and retail space.
THE BLOC: The former Macy’s Plaza has been renamed The Bloc and is in the midst of a $160 million transformation. Longtime Downtown developer Wayne Ratkovich last year acquired the Financial District complex, bounded by Seventh, Eighth, Hope and Flower streets, from Jamison Properties. Initial construction has begun, and the team is in the early stage of demolition, said a project spokesperson. The Bloc holds a 700,000-square-foot office tower, a 485-room Sheraton hotel — which is receiving a $40 million renovation to bring it up to four-star status — and a 400,000-square-foot shopping area anchored by a 240,000-square-foot Macy’s. Plans call for creating an open-air complex on the street level, with the towering, unfriendly brick walls being replaced by windows and dining terraces. Architecture firm Johnson Fain was tapped to help with the development of the initial concept phase, and the team now also includes: Studio 111, which serves as the executive architect and the retail, common area and exterior designer; Rapt Studio, which is the designer of the office building; and McCartan, which is the interior designer of the hotel. The development is slated to open by the end of 2015.
OPENED IN THE PAST THREE MONTHS
AVANT: Move-ins began this month at the $154 million Avant, said project spokesman Jeff Wagner. The 443 apartments at 1360 S. Figueroa St., developed by Century West Partners, are studio, one- and two-bedroom units; there are also some live-work residences. The South Park complex near L.A. Live includes 11,000 square feet of retail space, a fitness center, an outdoor pool, a dog run and four 750-square-foot roof decks with fireplaces and barbecues. Unit amenities include white quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and USB charging ports. Rents start at $1,780 for a 592-square-foot studio. At avantsouthpark.com.
BARKER BLOCK: The Barker Block, the first new condominium complex in Downtown in several years, opened in March, and the initial batch of 15 units, listed at up to $735,000, sold out in a week. The development at 527 Molino St. in the Arts District comes from CityView and Blackstone (Kor Group, which developed the 241-condominium first phase in 2006, helped this time around with marketing). The $25 million second phase created 68 lofts and townhomes in the nearly century-old building that originally housed the Barker Furniture Company. The 72,451-square-foot complex offers lofts ranging from 650-2,000 square feet and townhomes that are 1,100-1,300 square feet. The most recently released units were priced at $525,000-$949,000. Interior elements include steel staircases with wood steps and dual-pane windows. The project also features exposed brick, heavy timber beams and other historic elements. At barkerblock.com.
LORENZO: Construction is complete on the second phase of developer G.H. Palmer Associates’ massive $300 million residential project near the University of Southern California. Lease signings for the second phase began earlier this year, said company head Geoff Palmer. The combined 950-apartment complex, which sits on a 9.4-acre parcel on Adams Boulevard and Flower Street, is geared toward USC students and features a bevy of amenities including four pools, two basketball courts, barbecue areas and a sand volleyball court. As with several other Palmer properties in Downtown, the project’s design is Italian/Mediterranean-themed, and floor plans have names such as Botticelli and Michelangelo. Units offer up to six beds per apartment, with some leases offered for individual beds. According to the project’s website, the starting rent per bed is $879 per month. Atthelorenzo.com.
PACMUTUAL CAMPUS: A new courtyard on the Sixth Street side of the PacMutual campus opened in the spring, and the restaurant Le Pain Quotidien is now serving. It is the latest addition to the renovation of the century-old, three-building complex at 523 W. Sixth St. The Financial District landmark, purchased by Nelson and Christopher Rising’s Rising Realty Partners for $60 million in 2012, is now 90% leased; the property owner also recently secured LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for the campus. Future additions include the restaurant Tender Greens, slated to open in the Sixth Street courtyard this summer, and an 80-foot-high “green” wall on Olive Street, which is scheduled to debut in September. Chinatown-based firm Johnson Fain is overseeing the architectural and interior improvements on the campus that is anchored by a 12-story Beaux Arts edifice.
THE ELYSIAN: The development firm Linear City finished the transformation of the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District and move-ins began this month at the eight-story apartment complex at 1115 Sunset Blvd. The Elysian, with a name taken from the Elysian Heights neighborhood, features 96 apartments ranging from 700-1,800 square feet. Linear City, which previously developed the Arts District’s Biscuit Company and Toy Factory lofts, transformed the 1973 building originally designed by William Pereira; the structure near Dodger Stadium had been empty for the last 20 years. The development will include a cafe with 2,000 square feet of indoor space and a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio. There will also be a fitness center and a fire pit. At theelysian.la.
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2014