Okay, it’s a complete coincidence that after posting yesterday about redeveloping/redesigning Pershing Square (using SF Union Square as a model) that Councilman Jose Huizar announced this morning at the Gensler office downtown that a new 21-member task force was put together to help re-envision and re-imagine the future of Pershing Square. Perhaps the stars are finally aligning? Some of the members (listed below) are property owners surrounding Pershing Square who obviously would like to see the immediate surroundings improved. Remember: A beautiful and successfully activated Pershing Square of the future will benefit the nearby building stock tremendously, raising property values. A conceptual video was also released by Gensler highlighting some ideas for Pershing Square that you can watch here.
According to a press release, the Pershing Square task force is expected to meet soon and outline an agenda for the group moving forward. Councilman Huizar’s office will help facilitate those meetings and assist the task force in meeting its goals, which include:
- Coming up with a comprehensive long-term vision of the Park, which may include a push for some elements of redesign and park infrastructure improvements.
- Identifying dollars with assistance of Council District 14 and raising funds for these efforts including additional redesign or supplemental programming of the park in order to revitalize the space in the short term.
- Identifying and planning key policy initiatives and legislative work that will have a positive effect on Pershing Square operations and programming.
Task Force members include Kevin Regan, Recreation and Parks; Matthew Rudnick, Cultural Affairs; Nick Maricich, Planning Department; Captain Horace Frank, LAPD; Mike Arnold, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority; Amy Yeager, Pershing Square Advisory Board; Dawn Eastin, Downtown News/Pershing Square Advisory Board; Blair Besten, Historic Downtown BID; Sean Krajewski, resident and Blue Cow Restaurant GM; Carol Schatz, CCA/Downtown BID; Peklar Pilavjian , St. Vincent’s Jewelry Center; Karen Hathaway, LA Athletic Club; Siobhan Talbot, Brookfield; Jeffery Fish, Pershing Square Building; Chris Rising, Rising Realty/Pacific Mutual Building; Robert Hanasab, City National Building; Brian Glodney, Gensler; Rick Poulos, NBBJ; Katherine Perez-Estolano, USC; Melani Smith, Melendrez Design Partners; and Gail Goldberg, ULI.
According to Gensler, the primary focus of their yearlong volunteer effort [analyzing Pershing Square] was to reconsider the role of public open space in cities and to explore how we can improve our social capacity through an improved physical urban environment.
Renderings from Gensler below show a much more open and transparent public space — walls removed and possible removal of some parking ramps just like our Ideas for #DTLA post from yesterday! — that allow Pershing Square to become not only a pleasant place to relax but a future crossroads in Downtown LA where pedestrian circulation will naturally and organically activate the space with or without event programming (the way a functional urban park should be).