downtown los angeles, financial district

Downtown LA’s Wilshire Grand Now Officially Tallest Tower on West Coast

The Wilshire Grand Tower installed its final piece of the spire over the Labor Day weekend becoming the tallest building on the West Coast at 1,100 feet tall

This past Labor Day weekend, something exciting happened in Downtown LA while many were probably out of town or perhaps completely unaware (but should be!). The 73-story, AC Martin-designed Wilshire Grand Tower, located at 7th and Figueroa — one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Southern California — officially became the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast (taking the title away from another DTLA landmark, the US Bank/Library Tower) when construction workers lifted and secured the final piece of the tower’s soaring signature spire — a first of its kind in all of Los Angeles known for its flat-roofed skyscrapers.

According to the LA Times, crane operator Josh Wiggins lifted into place on Saturday morning the final piece of the spire: a 20,000-pound, 58-foot tall hollow cylinder that will be lit up with various colors from embedded LED lighting, giving our growing skyline a new defining landmark that Angelenos will be able to see (with pride) from far and wide. After securing the final tip of the spire, the Wilshire Grand was elevated to its official ultimate height of 1,100 feet tall, surpassing the previous tallest record holder, the Library Tower in Downtown LA, which stands at 1,018 feet tall. (Yes, the one with the glass slide!)

For those who aren’t quite sure how buildings are ranked by height, the official designation comes from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) based in Chicago. Basically, if you were to count up to the height of the roof, Library Tower would still be considered the tallest building on the West Coast. However, spires and other ornamental design features (apparently antennae do NOT count) do count towards the official overall height of a tower, hence, why Wilshire Grand is now the tallest building with its signature spire. There’s a really great illustration on the LA Times comparing the Library Tower with the Wilshire Grand that should provide clarity for anyone still confused.

Can you believe it’s been almost 4 years since DTLA Rising was the first to publish the renderings of Wilshire Grand? And now the rest of the tower will be built out, including the 900-room Intercontinental, slated for completion in March 2017.

Wilshire Grand Tower spire installation on Sept 3, 2016 

The final tip of the spire is lifted up on Saturday morning over Labor Day weekend (Photo: Fred Chang)

The final tip of the spire is lifted up on Saturday morning over Labor Day weekend (Photo: Fred Chang)

The final tip of spire about to be installed on the Wilshire Grand (Photo: Fred Chang)

The final tip of spire about to be installed on the Wilshire Grand (Photo: Fred Chang)

With the spire fully in place, Wilshire Grand becomes tallest skyscraper on West Coast (Photo: Fred Chang)

With the spire fully installed, Wilshire Grand becomes tallest skyscraper on the West Coast (Photo: Fred Chang)

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  1. Jerry says

    This is BS man!! They can’t call that the new tallest when it’s just a big ass antenna sticking up! I still think the US Bank building is the tallest in my book.

    • I helped build that “antenna”. You have no idea how big each one of those individual poles really are.

      • Holder says

        What does that have to do with what he has said? Why do “spires and other ornamental design features” count towards its height but antenna’s dont? I’m with him. It might be the most amazing pole ever made but its still a pole. Tallest buildings should be measured by the height of the roof not added “stuff”. The US Bank building should just put on a bigger pole to win back the title.

    • dean bush says

      Jerry…we don’t know how big yours is, but please keep it zipped.

    • You are absolutely right. Antennas and similar structures that are not roof lines do make the building the tallest. From my point of view in Dallas, the US Bank Tower still stands head and shoulders over this new building. Likewise, the new Salesforce Tower in San Francisco has a higher roof line than the GW.

  2. Wilshire Grand is beautiful! I can’t wait to see that thing lit up at night with all the pretty colors!

  3. Derrick Chan says

    I’m curious to see just how flashy the tower will be. In Hong Kong, we have buildings lit up beautifully at night and I always miss that living here. Perhaps they can do special light show during Christmas time!

  4. DTLA Denizen says

    Now LA has TWO 1000-footers! Next up, they should build a tower with actually 100+ floors.

  5. Aaron Bateman (@schizrade) says

    Salesforce tower is gonna own this thing… wasted opportunity. Nice building anyways.

    • DTLA Denizen says

      Sorry, but the Council on Tall Buildings makes the OFFICIAL rules up for how buildings are measured! And so far, they consider a spire as part of the OFFICIAL height. SO, looks like Wilshire Grand is TALLER than Salesforce. :)

      • Dave Powell says

        It should be noted that there isn’t actually an official standard, let alone standard(s) of what constitutes the height of a building. The CTBUH does not make official rulings, only suggestions. The CTBUH website gives several suggestions, which includes the top roof of the highest occupyable floor, meaning “Tallest Building” which would apply to Saleforce Tower. It also states that a building’s height may include the top of certain extensions such as spire, meaning “Tallest Structure” applyintg to Wilshire Grand. There is also a debate as to whether Wilshire Grand’s spire actually count as a spire, as spires are usually defined as protruding from the centerpoint of the roof. In this case, WG’s spire resembles that of a giant pipe attached to the side of the top roof. It’s all a matter of perspective. You say tomato (tomayto), I say tomato (tomahto)….

        • Actually, if we are talking to the roof, and to the highest floor, that remains with US Bank.
          Roof is 1018′, roof height on Salesforce is 970′ to top of Mechanical penthouse, which is also about the height of the highest occupied floor in US Bank, at around 967′.
          Sorry, title stays in LA by all measurements.

  6. I for one am very glad Wilshire Grand even happened at all. Whether or not you agree with the spire making it the tallest “skyscraper” or not is not really the point. It’s a big statement DTLA is making that it’s definately on the come back strong.

  7. Just FYI, I double checked with Wilshire Grand reps that the official height is 1,100 feet tall. There are some sources quoting 1,099 feet tall (that confused me), which all apparently got started by an AP article that reported the height incorrectly. It’s a small detail, but just wanted to make sure which one was right.

    For example, SFist reported this week that WG is 1,099 feet tall:

  8. Dave Powell says

    Actually, it should be noted that the designation does not come from the CTBUH. The CTBUH only gives suggestions, not make official rullings. On their website they give several guidelines on determining a buildings height. Amongst them includes from the lowest street level entry to the roof of the top most occupiable floor. This would apply to Salesforce Tower under the category of “Tallest Building”. There is also measuring from the lowest street level entry to the topmost point of the structure, including spires. This would apply to Wilshire Grand under the “Tallest Structure” category. There is also debate of whether or not Wilshire Grand’s spire actually counts, as spire are usually defined as rising from the upper most roof’s centerpoint. Wilshire Grand’s Spire resembles that of 295-ft of plumbing anchored off the side of the 2 roofs. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    • Hi Dave, at least according to Wikipedia on the two towers (Library Tower and Salesforce Tower), it is not apples to apples comparison in height. The Salesforce Tower is 970 feet to the ROOF, and the Library Tower is about 968 feet to the TOP FLOOR. If you were to measure Library Tower to the ROOF, it would exceed 970 feet. I would be curious to find out how tall it is for the TOP FLOOR at Salesforce Tower.

  9. Gerald says

    Read recently (name of the publication escapes me now) that a proposed or under construction San Francisco highrise will be taller than the Wilshire Grand upon completion. If this is true…LA has a limited time to brag about the WG being tallest on the west coast.

    • Hi Gerald, Library Tower has been the tallest building on the West Coast since 1990. In other words, LA’s had the bragging rights for the last 26 YEARS, well before Wilshire Grand was ever a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

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