One of the biggest urban dead zones in Downtown LA is a vast 3-acre surface parking lot just south of Bottega Louie (voted most popular restaurant in the nation on Yelp in 2011) bounded by Grand, 8th, and Olive St. As you might remember, developer Sonny Astani (Concerto, Vero, etc.) was supposed to develop an audacious 875-unit three-phase project called Opus back in 2006 before the economic recession hit. Obviously that didn’t happen, but now the new owners/developers, Carmel Partners from San Francisco — who purchased the entitled land from Astani for $63 million back in June 2012 — are planning to break ground soon on a scaled back version that will still have a tremendous impact on the development of Downtown LA.
Green tarp fencing — the exciting tell-tale sign of construction — went up earlier this week surrounding the entire perimeter block, which is larger than two football fields combined. As another sign that groundbreaking is imminent, monthly parking passes were apparently discontinued at the surface lot.
The new version from Carmel Partners (seen in the rendering below) will have 700 luxury rental units over a substantial amount of commercial retail space. According to the LA Times, the project will also have a 40-foot rooftop pool on the 8th floor that will be surrounded by cabanas and a lounge with a barbecue. The relatively large rooftop pool is part of the reason why the construction of the building will comprise of concrete and steel (Type-I) instead of using a wood frame model.
The positive impact this project will have for Downtown LA will be tremendous. Not only will it add about another 1,000 residents to the downtown population, but the added retail and restaurants that are likely to wrap around the base of the project, will activate the sidewalks and help tie together the Financial District with South Park and the Historic Core, which are all currently severed from each other, limiting any potential synergy between the districts. What are currently empty sidewalks now in the area devoid of life will eventually be filled with vibrant pedestrian activity when the mixed-use project is fully completed and leased up.
Construction completion is slated for 2016.