Now that the 12-acre Grand Park has been open for over a year in Downtown LA, the LA Music Center, which is in charge of maintaining and programming the park, continues to look for innovative ways to activate the public space, becoming an integral part of the Downtown LA urban psyche. Part of that ongoing process depends on community driven participation that will happen organically over time as more Angelenos, especially downtown residents and workers, are exposed to the park. To nudge that process along, Grand Park has implemented a new “Free Little Libraries” program that promotes the idea of reading and getting the community more engaged with the public realm.
On Tuesday morning (yesterday), The Broad Art Museum invited members of the media, design industry, and local stakeholders to a special sneak peek (hard hat tour) of the interior construction progress of the much-anticipated contemporary art museum being funded by billionaire and philanthropist Eli Broad. Like a very expensive sculpture being fine tuned — more rebar fastened and more concrete poured — this amazing structure, designed by renowned architect firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is beginning to take shape nicely and looking more and more like the renderings that were released almost three years ago.
From the same owners of Leka, Wockano, and Green Hut (all downtown) — Michael and Marcus Kwan and Kerry Moy — comes a new upscale sports bar called The Bunker Hill Bar & Grill opening very soon at the beautiful One Bunker Hill historic office building (aka the Southern California Edison Building). Replacing what used to be a La Salsa Mexican restaurant, Bunker Hill Bar & Grill will be a fantastic addition to an otherwise quiet-after-5pm corner of 5th and Grand, which is at the cusp of the Financial District and Bunker Hill.
CBRE Global Investors (an affiliate of CBRE Group, Inc.) purchased the 26-story Mellon Bank Center last July 2012 from NY-based Tishman Speyer for an estimated $236 million with the intention of repositioning the asset to attract more companies to lease (read: fill up) the approximately 700,000 square foot tower, which at the time was about 80% occupied according to the Los Angeles Times. Located on Bunker Hill adjacent to the West Coast’s tallest skyscraper, Library Tower, the Mellon Bank Center has been renamed simply “Four Hundred South Hope” (for its address 400 S Hope St). A major part of that repositioning effort includes the exciting addition of a new high-end Mexican restaurant that will create another dining destination on Bunker Hill, helping to activate the isolated district — perched high atop like the acropolis of LA — still in much need of more places to go to. (The Broad Museum will help as well.)
Next Tuesday evening on February 19 at 8pm, three of Los Angeles’ most powerful cultural assets will join together for a night of musical performance: the passionate conductor of the LA Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, will conduct one of the country’s top 10 conservatories, the Colburn Orchestra, at the beautiful and acoustically superior Walt Disney Concert Hall. These three amazing elements — all based in Downtown LA along Grand Ave, which has become the cultural mecca of the West Coast — have elevated the world of music and culture in Los Angeles.
Classic music lovers! One lucky DTLA Rising reader will win two free tickets to see Marin Alsop (one of the top female conductors in the world) conduct Tchaikovsky performed by the LA Phil on November 2, 2012 at 8pm at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA.
*All you have to do to win is “like” our Facebook page (if you haven’t already) and tell us why you love Downtown LA. Private message us on our DTLA Rising Facebook page. Our favorite entry will be posted along with the winner’s photo. Entries are due on October 31, 2012 at 5pm. You must be in Los Angeles to pick up your tickets!
[Update: 12/3/12 – Towers Watson has completed their move to Downtown LA and is now located at 300 S Grand Ave Suite 2000]
Towers Watson is the world’s largest employee benefits consulting firm by revenue according to Wikipedia. With 14,000 associates around the world, it is a global consulting firm specializing in risk management and human resource consulting. Based in New York and with offices here in LA in both Century City and Universal City, there are several sources informing me that Towers Watson is eyeing Downtown LA for a new office location.