Proposed redevelopment of Wilshire Grand site in downtown Los Angeles.

Proposed redevelopment of Wilshire Grand site in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Courtesy

The Los Angeles City Council approved on Tuesday the $1.2 billion high-rise redevelopment of downtown’s Wilshire Grand hotel site, as well as controversial plans to light up the new towers with digital advertising.

Hotel owner Korean Air and developer Thomas Properties Group plan to raze the existing hotel at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street and build a 65-story, 1.5 million square foot office building and a 45-story building comprising 650 hotel rooms and up to 100 condos.

Each tower will feature LED lights from the bottom to the top, with digital signs and ticker ribbons on the lowest 10 floors. Critics have said the lights would leave the city looking like the Las Vegas strip. But proponents say the project is another step toward revitalizing downtown.

The City Council waived a bed tax on the project that was projected to generate up to $80 million over 25 years. Even so, the developers estimate the hotel will generate $20 million in sales and taxes each year.

Also set aside was an idea for the city to share in revenue from the electronic billboards. Demolition is slated to begin in early 2012, with the hotel opening three years later. The hotel is expected create 12,000 construction and or construction-related jobs.

The council approved the project on a 13-0 vote after Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a chief critic of the plan, left the chambers.

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