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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Newbies Leaving Their Mark on the Los Angeles Landscape

Herald Examiner

A younger touch is being given to one of L.A.’s more distinguished downtown landmarks. Hearst Corp., in a joint venture with Urban Partners LLC, is moving forward with plans to redevelop its Herald Examiner building into a mix of housing, retail and offices.

Urban Partners, whose founder Ira Yellin was responsible for rejuvenating a number of historic downtown properties, has hired Levin and Associates and Morphosis to complete the design phase. Heading up the work for Levin is 29-year-old Cameron Izuno, a graduate of the USC School of Architecture. Izuno, along with Brenda Levin, has been working on the project for a little less than a year.

The architects are fine-tuning the design to present to their clients and the community. The developers will then seek entitlements from the city. Urban Partners plans to restore the building’s historic features while also modernizing the property. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2005.

“We’re working with the historic fabric and incorporating that with a design that is contextual to what is surrounding the building,” Izuno said. “It’s one of the few remaining jewels of Los Angeles because it’s an historic building that’s yet to be re-touched.”

Hollywood & Vine

It took a fresh pair of eyes for Kor Group Inc. to envision converting Hollywood & Vine Plaza, a languishing office building, into modern condos. Much of the credit goes to 32-year-old Tyson Sayles, Kor Group’s senior vice president of acquisitions. He led the successful purchase of the building last year.

Under the city’s Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which reduces approvals needed by owners of office buildings to convert the structures into housing, Sayles received a quick sign-off from the city on the project.

Kor Group intends to convert the building into about 100 high-end condos with a rooftop fitness center and swimming pool. The basement and portions of the mezzanine will be converted to parking, while the ground floor will continue to be leased out as a 10,000-square-foot storefront.

The 180,000-square-foot building including a 20,000-square-foot basement is on the southwest corner of the intersection and formerly housed a Broadway department store.

Kor Group has retained Wade Killefer of Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects to design the conversion. Killefer has also been retained by Paladin Realty Partners to revamp the Equitable building on the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street into 65 condos.

Los Angeles Air Force Base

One of the South Bay’s largest and more complicated developments is in the hands of a relative newcomer.

While the base was spared being shuttered by the Pentagon in the latest round of military closings, its current El Segundo facility is about to begin a new life as a residential community.

In exchange for a new three-building campus nearby, the Air Force is transferring its old base to Kearny Real Estate Corp., which plans to raze the 42-acre site to make way for 625 new condominiums and single-family homes.

Heading up Kearny’s project is 32-year-old Hoonie Kang, who was instrumental in developing the company’s successful proposal for the Air Force site.

As construction on the Air Force Base’s new campus nears completion, Kang is working on the web of financing and approvals needed to redevelopment the former military base.

Current plans call for clustered single-family homes along with condominiums. The company will also include a number of affordable housing units as part of the project. “It’s one of the largest housing projects in Los Angles,” said Kang, “and it’s the biggest residential development in the works in the South Bay.”


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