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.
For those of us keeping track of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization progress, the new Wilshire Grand tower under construction has been one of the proudest and most exciting projects for Angelenos who dream of DTLA becoming the region’s crown jewel once again. What will become the West Coast’s new tallest skyscraper designed by LA-based AC Martin has been rising steadily since it broke the record for the world’s largest continuous concrete pour in early 2014. Now after two years of climbing higher and higher into the sky, the tower is beginning to reach its aspired height of 1,100 feet tall, which will dramatically enhance the growing DTLA skyline.
As the Wilshire Grand continues to rise steadily higher into the air — beginning to poke out of the Financial District like a sapling pushing through the forest canopy — we, in Downtown LA, are close to gaining the new tallest skyscraper west of Chicago surpassing both our own Library Tower and SF’s new tallest Transbay Center that’s also currently under construction. But that’s not all we’re gaining from the new Wilshire Grand project. As part of the approvals for the new tower, the developer Korean Air will also be funding an extensive multi-million dollar street improvement project adjacent to the tower along Downtown LA’s most significant east-west thoroughfare, 7th Street, that’s lined with some of the most beautiful historic structures on the west coast including the spectacular 1928 Fine Arts Building.
Almost a year ago, DTLA Rising first released the exciting renderings of the AC Martin-designed Wilshire Grand Tower to become the West Coast’s new tallest skyscraper located at Wilshire and Figueroa in Downtown LA. When completed in early 2017, it’ll rise 73 floors at 1,100 feet tall (up to the spire) and have both office space and a yet-to-be determined 4-star, 900-room hotel with a sky lobby on the 70th floor. According to a reliable source, the developer/owner of the Wilshire Grand Tower, Korean Air, has narrowed the hotel choices down to two brands and will pick one “very soon.” At one time, Le Meridien was rumored to be the winner. However, other more recent rumors have pointed to a few other brands like Waldorf-Astoria and Grand Hyatt.
Los Angeles, feast your eyes on the new finalized rendering of Wilshire Grand Tower from AC Martin that will rise prominently in Downtown LA’s burgeoning Financial District. So prominent, in fact, that the new “billion dollar tower” will surpass LA’s current tallest skyscraper — Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) at 1,018 feet — as the new tallest on the West Coast (taller than any other structure west of Chicago). At 73 floors and 1,100 feet tall including the spire, which counts toward the building’s official height according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the new Wilshire Grand Tower will be a substantial addition to the LA skyline, reorienting the visual weight currently centered around the Library Tower toward this new gleaming structure to the southwest. The tower will be capped by an iconic sail-shaped architectural feature that will be illuminated with LED lighting at night (a common sight in Asia’s flagship cities like Shanghai).
One of the most exciting new projects in Downtown LA’s redevelopment future is the $1 billion Wilshire Grand Center that has now begun pre-construction work with the dismantling of the existing Wilshire Grand Hotel at 7th and Figueroa. Here will rise LA’s new second tallest skyscraper at 70 stories tall, developed by Korean Air and AC Martin, with a combination of retail, restaurant, office, and hotel with an exciting unique “sky lobby” at the very top. Earlier this week, officials gathered in front of the Wilshire Grand Hotel for a press event to kick off the demolition, which entails bringing the hotel down floor-by-floor, taking a year to complete before construction on the actual tower begins.