Downtown L.A.’s development scene is reinventing itself. The region is transforming with a purpose – to define itself as an area known for its diversity and innovation. Everywhere you turn, state-of-the-art buildings are reaching new heights, lucrative businesses are opening their doors and Angelenos are moving into recently revitalized apartment complexes.
At Turner Construction Co., we’ve not only witnessed but we’ve played a role in the historical evolution of downtown. In the 1980s, when Turner constructed the U.S. Bank Tower, building in downtown was about building space. The focus was on ensuring that there was enough office space available to house a new wave of businesses locating in the area. While a great way to attract businesses, it defined downtown as a workplace.
Fast-forward to the development going on today and you see many of the lessons from that last building boom playing out in the projects going up. What we learned from the 1980s is that while space is important, the focus needs to be on creating a sense of place. Buildings must create an environment where people want to live, work and play. This is the sort of renaissance that downtown is now witnessing.
It could be argued that the renaissance in downtown’s development scene began in 1998, when Anschutz Entertainment Group constructed the Staples Center and then would go on to build the L.A. Live complex in 2010, sparking a surge in major construction projects and economic investment. These projects and those currently under way have helped make downtown an iconic landmark, a place with a clear vision for what is yet to come in the construction and development sector.
Development efforts that appeal to a broad array of consumers are perhaps best exemplified in some premier projects now in the works. One such project is the Wilshire Grand Hotel, a $1 billion mixed-used project, built by Turner and overseen by architects A.C. Martin and owner Korean Air. The 73-story building will top out at 1,100 feet with a unique spire, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The Metropolis, a proposed 6.5-acre mixed hotel, residential and office complex in South Park, is also estimated at $1 billion.
Just south of the Ace Hotel (also under construction), will be three new residential projects that will transform a 12-story building at Broadway and Olympic Boulevard. In the Fashion District, the City Market project aims to develop a $1 billion hub of creative office space, a college campus, a hotel and 225,000 feet of retail space. Another highly anticipated building under way is the Bloc, which will transform the historic Macy’s Plaza into a $160 million modern office and retail hub.
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