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