Category Archives: architecture

New Rendering: Fogo de Chão Opening Early 2015 in Downtown LA

Meat lovers rejoice as Fogo de Chão, with their AYCE Brazilian BBQ, plans to open before spring 2015 at 8th/Figueroa in Downtown LA (Photo: Steven Langford Architects)

Meat lovers rejoice as Fogo de Chão, with their AYCE Brazilian BBQ, plans to open before spring 2015 at 8th/Figueroa in Downtown LA (Photo: Steven Langford Architects)

Meat lovers are sure to rejoice as we are only several months away from the exciting opening of Fogo de Chão at 8th and Figueroa. We first announced they would be replacing Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion back in early Sept. Managed by contractor Shawmut, construction has been chugging along nicely over the last couple of months, converting the massive 8,120 square foot space into the next AYCE Brazilian BBQ hot spot in Downtown LA.

Continue reading

Trader Joe’s Eyeing Location in Downtown LA’s Shrinking Jewelry District

According to multiple credible sources, Trader Joe's is currently interested in the 7th/Olive "LA Jewelry Mart" building

According to multiple credible sources, Trader Joe’s is currently interested in the 7th/Olive “LA Jewelry Mart” building

Like my favorite 90’s kid show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, the hunt for the elusive Trader Joe’s continues in Downtown LA. We were oh so close, but no cigar. Unfortunately, the other deal fell through at The Bloc where it was originally “supposed to” go. Apparently, the location of the proposed market in the back of the shopping center — with its slanted grade change — didn’t jibe with our wonderful purveyors of Two-Buck Chucks. But wait! With the fast-approaching arrival of Whole Foods just down the street, it looks like Trader Joe’s may not want to end up too far away after all — hopefully it sticks this time. According to multiple credible sources, Trader Joe’s is currently eyeing and in early negotiations with a strategically located historic structure at the edge of the moribund Jewelry District.

Continue reading

Renderings Revealed for Redevelopment of Coca-Cola Building in Downtown LA Arts District

Fourth & Traction, aka the former Coca-Cola factory, is slated to become a creative office and retail hub with this rendering providing an idea what it'll look like (Photo: HLW International)

Fourth & Traction, aka the former Coca-Cola factory, is slated to become a creative office and retail hub with this rendering showing an activated corner (Photo: HLW International)

New owners of the former Coca-Cola factory building in the Arts District have just released some very exciting renderings of the conversion project they plan to implement for the historic production facility built a century ago. The owners — a joint venture between LA-based GPI Companies and NY-based Atlas Capital — plan to invest a substantial amount of funds (in the multi-millions) to redevelop the property into a creative office and retail hub that will restore and highlight the building’s amazing vintage character — including the beautiful red brick that makes up most of the facade.

Continue reading

Downtown LA’s One Santa Fe Snags Three More Indie Goodies: Wittmore, Voyager, and BOL

The Yards at One Santa Fe in the Arts District is gaining a huge and impressive mix of indie retailers including: Wittmore, Voyager Shop, and BOL (Photo: One Santa Fe)

The Yards at One Santa Fe in the Arts District is gaining a huge and impressive mix of indie retailers including: Wittmore, Voyager Shop, and BOL (Photo: One Santa Fe)

We last checked in with One Santa Fe about 6 months ago when it was still a big construction site and it’s so exciting to see something this huge and game-changing coming to fruition. Designed by renowned architect Michael Maltzan, the massive 438-unit Arts District project (a quarter of a mile long) is already filling up with new residents and signing new leases with unique and exciting shops and eateries. Dubbed “The Yards at One Santa Fe” (a reference to Metro’s train maintenance yard next door), the retail center on the ground floor is preparing to launch one of the most exciting indie retail concepts in all of Los Angeles that’ll give cross-town Abbot Kinney a run for its money. Three more new additions have just signed on: LA’s Wittmore, SF’s Voyager Shop, and a new Asian eatery called BOL, all expected to open in the first quarter of 2015.

Continue reading

Colorful New Murals Sprucing Up The Bloc’s Blank Walls in Downtown LA

A new mural on the backside of The Bloc by SF-based artist Chris Lux began going up near 8th and Hope on Tuesday, Nov 4

A new mural (one of three coming) on the backside of The Bloc by SF-based artist Chris Lux began going up near 8th and Hope on Tuesday, Nov 4

For those following The Bloc makeover project, we’ve seen a lot of new exciting developments that show a very bright future ahead for a once very dreadful place that stifled Downtown LA’s urban revitalization progress. We’ve seen what The Bloc will be like on 7th Street, Flower, and Hope. But very little was known about the 8th Street side of the project — until now. Yesterday, work started on three exciting permanent murals commissioned by The Bloc’s ownership, The Ratkovich Company, that will adorn the bland fortress-like walls, transforming the streetscape into a colorful and artistic urban experience.

Continue reading

Chef Agostino Sciandri Opening VESPAIO at Luxury Rental Emerson in Downtown LA

Rendering courtesy of the upcoming Vespaio at The Emerson on Bunker Hill (Click to enlarge)

Rendering courtesy of the upcoming Vespaio at The Emerson on Bunker Hill (Click to enlarge)

Bunker Hill is really on the cusp of achieving some great critical mass. Not only is the very much anticipated Broad museum opening in late 2015, but one of downtown’s most luxurious new residential properties, The Emerson, opened earlier this month with its first resident move-ins (take a lovely tour inside via Curbed LA). Developed by Related California, the upscale 19-story rental property located adjacent to The Broad is chock-full of amenities from a penthouse lounge with an outdoor terrace to a state-of-the-art media room and library next to a fully equipped fitness center with steam and yoga rooms. Now Emerson residents will have one more thing to brag about: Renowned Italian Chef Agostino Sciandri will be opening Vespaio on the ground floor of The Emerson.

Continue reading

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