Unique opportunity

As our profile with international tourists rises, Los Angeles has a unique opportunity in the next few years to exceed the global standard for luxury, entertainment and innovation. We’re already seeing new shopping centers, iconic hotels and residential spaces being planned with the support of international partners, and we can continue along this path to bring world-class spaces to Los Angeles.

The building renaissance that is washing over downtown does not need to pave over our cultural roots, however. AC Martin, of which I am president, has been building in downtown for years, and many of our historic projects were made to preserve L.A.’s past. We can and should protect this sense of history and community, but to look after today’s local citizens, we need to recognize where there is room to grow in the future.

New projects that come here should be thinking about connectivity and sustainability, and how we can bring synergy to the entire region. In helping to design the new Wilshire Grand hotel, AC Martin aims not only to make a world-class destination but to transform the surrounding environment with better transit solutions, pedestrian walkways and resource management. That’s the goal behind 7th Street Improvement Transit as well, because we know that if Los Angeles is better connected, its local economy will be better off.

Like the Wilshire Grand, 7th Street Improvement Transit and a number of mixed-use projects, the new Convention Center should aim to raise the tide for all boats in the area. Los Angeles needs building solutions that are integrated within the region and that can become part of, not addendums to, downtown. With smart, interconnected design, we can encourage new projects to migrate here and support further development for years to come.

Robert Newsom is president of AC Martin, an architecture and planning firm headquartered in downtown Los Angeles.

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