Category Archives: architecture

Downtown LA’s Library Tower Lit Up with Rainbow Colors

Downtown LA's Library Tower -- tallest skyscraper on the west coast -- was lit up with rainbow colors on Monday night celebrating the advancement of LGBT rights in America (Photo: Sterling Davis)

Downtown LA’s Library Tower — tallest skyscraper on the west coast — was lit up with rainbow colors on Monday night celebrating the advancement of LGBT rights in America (Photo: Sterling Davis)

[Update 10/7/14: Apparently I jumped the gun last night when I looked up and saw the rainbow colors, got excited, and assumed the colors were lit up to celebrate the expansion of LGBT rights (read below) when it was actually meant to signify the Special Olympics are opening offices inside the tower as well as hosting the summer games next year in Los Angeles. It was definitely a major coincidence that these two events fell exactly on the same day. The confusion stemmed from the fact that the international symbol for the LGBT community, recognized around the world, just so happens to be the colors of the rainbow. This brings up an obvious glaring issue that the US Bank Tower needs to inform the public on their website what the colors on top actually mean (like what the ESB does in NYC). Nevertheless, I'd still like to think the rainbow colors represented both significant events: the Special Olympics coming to LA and the advancement for LGBT rights. Win win for all.]  

Tonight, Downtown LA’s Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) was lit up with rainbow colors celebrating a major milestone in LGBT rights in America. Earlier on Monday, 11 states legalized same-sex marriage as a result of the Supreme Court strategically declining to hear appeals from five states. The beautiful crown at the top of the tower — still the west coast’s tallest skyscraper — lit up brightly with red, green, purple, yellow, and blue that could be seen from miles away.

Continue reading

Breaking: Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts Coming to Wilshire Grand in Downtown LA

A new rendering of the Wilshire Grand Tower revealed with a new Intercontinental Hotel opening in 2017 as part of the project (Photo: AC Martin)

A new rendering of the Wilshire Grand Tower revealed with a new Intercontinental Hotel opening in 2017 as part of the project (Photo: AC Martin)

Long anticipated, today it was finally revealed what hotel brand would take over the upper portion of Downtown LA’s newest and most exciting ground-up development in years — the Wilshire Grand Tower. The new hotel will be an Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts with 900 rooms. It’ll be the first hotel on the west coast to have a sky lobby (on the 70th floor) and will be considered the largest Intercontinental in the Americas according to a press release.

Continue reading

Downtown LA Hall of Justice of Charles Manson Infamy to Reopen Early 2015

The 1925 Hall of Justice, which once held the infamous Charles Manson, is slated to reopen in early 2015 after an extensive $234 million retrofit and modernization project

The 1925 Hall of Justice, which once held the infamous Charles Manson, is slated to reopen in early 2015 after an extensive $234 million retrofit and modernization project

One of the most magnificent civic structures in all of LA is close to reopening after being shut down for two decades since the 1994 Northridge earthquake left the building red tagged due to severe damage. Fortunately, the 1925 Hall of Justice designed in the Beaux Arts style was not demolished. Instead, the county-owned structure located in LA’s civic center — once the headquarters for the sheriff, district attorney, and coroner — was saved after almost a decade of fundraising efforts spearheaded by former Sheriff Lee Baca that started in 2004.

Continue reading

Topaz: New Mixed-User Breaks Ground in Historic Core in Downtown LA

A rendering of Topaz as seen from Main Street with ground floor retail and corner/penthouse units having balconies (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz as seen from Main Street with ground floor retail and corner/penthouse units having balconies (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz on the Los Angeles Street side with a large "light curtain" seen in the center cutout of the building (Photo: TSK)

A rendering of Topaz on the Los Angeles Street side with a large “light curtain” seen in the center cutout of the building (Photo: TSK)

With the exception of the Medallion apartments at 4th/Main, there have been no ground-up market rate housing developments built in the Historic Core in Downtown LA. Pretty much all new lofts and condos in the Historic Core that have come on the market over the last decade have been conversion projects taking advantage of the adaptive reuse ordinance. All that’s about to change, however, as numerous high-rise projects have been proposed in the Historic Core that will be the next evolution of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization, filling in all those anti-pedestrian surface parking lots. We won’t have to wait too long for some action because the exciting new chapter for the Historic Core begins now with Topaz, a new mixed-user, that broke ground last Friday near 6th/Main.

Continue reading

Downtown LA’s Watermarke Tower Sells for Record Breaking $160.5 Million

The Watermarke Tower at 9th/Flower in South Park was sold to ASB Real Estate Investments for a record breaking price of $160.5 million

The Watermarke Tower at 9th/Flower in South Park was sold to ASB Real Estate Investments for a record breaking price of $160.5 million

We all know the Downtown LA real estate market is already hot, but it just got way hotter in here. Escrow closed yesterday on Watermarke Properties’ trophy property, Watermarke Tower, in South Park selling for a record breaking price of $160.5 million. Purchased by Bethesda, MD-based ASB Real Estate Investments (they also just bought a huge property in the Arts District), the 35-story luxury apartment high-rise with 214 units is apparently the most expensive apartment community sold in the state of California — ever. To be specific, it is one of, if not the state’s most expensive trade based on a per unit basis coming in at approximately $750,000 for each unit. The deal was brokered by HFF Managing Director Mark Peterson.

Continue reading

Brigham Yen on FOX 11: Downtown LA High-Rise Boom, Broadway Road Diet, Trader Joe’s Coming?

Yesterday was so much fun. I was invited by FOX 11 to come on their noon show to talk about Downtown LA (my favorite subject of course) and all the newest exciting things happening that are putting our once ignored urban center back on the map. Check out the video above and here are the topics we covered:

  • New high-rises proposed in the Historic Core
  • New developments blocking sidewalks an issue for pedestrians
  • Broadway’s amazing road diet and pedestrian plazas
  • Retail continues with Macy’s Plaza $180 million makeover
  • And Trader Joe’s rumors!

Thank you again so much to FOX 11 News!

Meet 8th+Hope in Downtown LA: South Park’s New Gleaming 22-Story Glass Apartment High-Rise

8th+Hope is a new gleaming glass tower in South Park adding 290 rental units to the downtown market

8th+Hope is a new gleaming glass tower in South Park adding 290 rental units to the downtown market

Almost two years after developer Wood Partners first began construction, the new 8th+Hope apartment tower began accepting resident move-ins earlier this month in August. Designed by Atlanta-based The Preston Partnership, the modern gleaming tower clad throughout in blue-green glass rises 22 stories high and adds another 290 rental units to the market including: 1, 2, and 2½ bedrooms with square footages ranging from 707 to 1,634. Every single unit gets a private balcony. Impressive.

Continue reading

Renderings Revealed: New Trio of High-Rises Coming to Historic Core in Downtown LA

Hill Tower Lofts seen from the corner of 9th/Hill with the historic May Co garage in the foreground

Hill Tower Lofts: One of three new ground-up towers proposed for the Historic Core are set to break ground as soon as late 2015 (Photo: David Takacs Architecture)

The Historic Core in Downtown LA is where it all started after the adaptive-reuse ordinance was passed in 1999. Developer Tom Gilmore first took advantage of the new ordinance and converted three vacant and dilapidated historic buildings into 230 live/work lofts in what is now known as the Old Bank District at 4th and Main. It’s definitely come a long way since 1999. Over the last 15 years, the Historic Core — with its massive stock of, what else, historic buildings — has become a mixed-use residential hub with increasing numbers of restaurants, bars, and yes, even retail. Now that a good chunk of historic structures has been converted to mostly housing, it’s only logical for the next step in Downtown LA’s evolution toward urban maturity to begin building new ground-up projects as well that will help fill in those surface parking lots that have disrupted the urban fabric with its negative, anti-walking sprawling effects. Now, the exciting continuation of the Historic Core’s revitalization includes three new proposed high-rises set to break ground in the next year: the 38-story SB Omega, the 15-story Broadway Lofts, and the 33-story Hill Tower Lofts.

Continue reading

New Stunning Flyover Video: Fall in Love with Downtown LA All Over Again

Downtown Los Angeles from Ian Wood on Vimeo.

There have been some pretty amazing video tributes to Downtown LA lately, like the beautiful 4-minute time-lapse video by TimeLAX that captured the glittering urban center that is our growing and revitalizing Downtown LA. Once abandoned and left for dead, Downtown LA is once again the center of pride for Angelenos. Now, there’s another new video sent to me by a downtown resident named Ian Wood that’s upped the ante on just how amazing Downtown LA can look on camera. Wood spent 2 months filming with a flying quadcopter “that looks a bit like a mutant chicken” equipped with a GoPro camera. What he captured and compiled into another 4-minute video (coupled with perfect music from Chassol) really will knock your socks off.

It made me fall in love with Downtown LA all over again — enjoy.

Continue reading

West Coast’s Tallest Observation Deck Coming to Library Tower in Downtown LA

Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower): The tallest skyscraper on the west coast to get an observation deck by 2015

Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower): The tallest skyscraper on the west coast to get an observation deck by 2015

Back in February, there were rumors flying around that the Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) could go part residential and hotel in addition to office. And although the LA Times confirmed today that won’t happen, exciting rumors also from February of the observation deck and upgraded lobby did stick. By this time next year, Library Tower—the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago at 1,018 feet tall—could become one of LA’s most sought after tourist attractions with a new observation deck and restaurant. In fact, the owners of the skyscraper hope to attract 500,000 visitors a year, which could become a nice economic boost to the local businesses and restaurants nearby in the Financial District and Bunker Hill. For me, I think it’s about time Library Tower got an observation deck (25 years later).

Continue reading

Tender Greens Looking to Open August 2014 at PacMutual in Downtown LA

A rendering of Tender Greens shows a sleek exterior with patio dining and a new "walk up" window for faster to-go service (Photo: Valerio/Tender Greens)

A rendering of Tender Greens shows a sleek exterior with patio dining and a new “walk up” window for faster to-go service (Photo: Valerio/Tender Greens)

It was a year and a half ago when we first announced that everyone’s favorite local LA eatery, Tender Greens, was opening at the PacMutual building at Pershing Square near 6th and Olive. Checking in with Tender Greens for an update, we learn why it’s still not open yet. There have been some unforeseen challenges pertaining to the space—issues with grading and historical restrictions, for instance—that have set back the opening date by over half a year. The casual and health-conscious restaurant originally from Culver City with now 18 locations in California (LA, OC, SD, and SF) was supposed to open by late 2013. Now if construction continues to run more smoothly, the new updated timeline for opening should be next month in August.

Continue reading

Breaking: NYC Hotel Developer, Sydell Group, Buys Commercial Exchange in Downtown LA

The historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building has been purchased by New York hotel developer Sydell Group with plans to turn it either into a boutique hotel or hostel

The historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building has been purchased by New York hotel developer Sydell Group with plans to turn it either into a boutique hotel or hostel

A bright, bright future awaits the historic 1924 Commercial Exchange building in Downtown LA that’s been sitting empty for well over two decades. What an interesting history this building has as it was once pretty much split in half and moved to make way for a street widening project in the 1930s. Can you imagine a beautiful and irreplaceable building like this left to basically rot for so long? Well, our worries can now be put to rest. A very prominent New York hotel developer, the Sydell Group, has successfully purchased the historic edifice located at 8th and Olive catercorner to the exciting Whole Foods mixed-use project opening in 2015.

Continue reading

Update: AEG Leases Entire Desmond Building, Will Add Over 500 Employees to South Park Downtown LA

Vacant for decades, the historic Desmond building in South Park will now be restored as the exciting new headquarters for AEG's ticketing and live entertainment divisions, adding over 500 employees

Vacant for decades, the historic Desmond building in South Park will now be restored as the exciting new headquarters for AEG’s ticketing and live entertainment divisions, adding over 500 employees

Less than two weeks ago, DTLA Rising broke the very exciting news that AEG had signed a lease taking over the entire Desmond Building in Downtown LA’s rapidly growing South Park district. The beautiful historic structure built in 1916 sat empty and dilapidated, sadly, for many decades even though it sits directly across the street from multiple high-end residential buildings including the South Group condos (Elleven, Luma, Evo) and the Met Lofts. But now the Desmond will be getting the much needed TLC it deserves when AEG — owner of nearby Staples Center and LA Live — relocates their ticketing and live entertainment divisions into the Desmond come next year.

Continue reading

New Renderings Reveal Lots of Ped-Friendly Retail Coming to 888 S Hope in Downtown LA

New renderings of the new 888 S Hope tower rising in South Park show lots of retail that will help activate this stretch of Hope Street in Downtown LA (Photo: RTKL)

New renderings of the new 888 S Hope tower rising in South Park show lots of retail that will help activate this stretch of Hope Street in Downtown LA (Photo: RTKL)

It’s been three months since construction first began on the parking structure that will be attached to the new and exciting 888 S Hope, a brand new 33-story residential tower about to break ground later this year in burgeoning South Park. Being developed by LA-based CIM Group, new renderings from RTKL — the architect firm designing the project — show lots of retail space on the ground floor of both the parking structure and the tower itself. As you can see in the renderings (above and below), ample retail space will face Hope Street and wrap around the tower along 9th Street bordering the upcoming boutique Empire Hotel.

Continue reading

Breaking: AEG Worldwide Has Leased Entire Desmond Building in Downtown LA

The long vacant Desmond Building has a bright future ahead as AEG Worldwide has apparently leased the entire building to become its new headquarters in Downtown LA

The long vacant Desmond Building has a bright future ahead as AEG Worldwide has apparently leased the entire building to become its new headquarters in Downtown LA

This just in: AEG Worldwide has signed a long-term lease to take over purportedly the entire long-vacant Desmond Building located in Downtown LA’s South Park district at 11th/Hope, just a stone’s throw from the AEG empire of Staples Center, LA Live, and now even the LA Convention Center that they manage. Specific details aren’t known yet as an official press release will be coming out soon, but the building will apparently be the new consolidated headquarters for AEG Worldwide, which is currently located in separate offices in South Park, including inside LA Live itself. A brand new sixth floor will be added to the top of the roof that will bring the total square footage to about 80,000+ square feet. There were also initially plans to add a rooftop bar to the building.

Continue reading