Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Ultimate Measure R2 Fantasy Map

Image Credit: Move LA

Transportation advocacy group Move LA, one of the driving forces behind the transformative Measure R, has cooked up a mouth watering fantasy map for a sequel ballot initiative in 2016.  Measure R2, as per its most recent draft proposal, could fund a slew of transportation improvements throughout Los Angeles County via a 45-year, half-cent sales tax.  As reported this past April by Streetsblog LA, the tenative plan allots revenue as follows:

  • 30% for new Metro Rail and BRT Capital
  • 20% for Transit Operations
  • 20% for Highways
  • 15% for Local Return
  • 6% for Clean Goods Movement
  • 5% for Metrolink Capital
  • 4% for Active Transportation

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fancy Senior Housing Complex Breaks Ground in Playa Vista

Image credit: Kilograph

Feast your eyes on the latest shiny object to sprout from the ashes of Howard Hughes's once expansive empire.  According to multiple sources, the Los Angeles Jewish Home has officially broken ground on the Fountainview at Gonda Westside, an upscale senior housing development in the Playa Vista neighborhood.  The $100 million complex will feature a series of low-rise structures, offering a total of 175 independent living units and 24 assisted living/memory care units.  Plans call for a wide battery of residential amenities, including a fitness center, library, screening room and a ground-floor cafe.  In addition, an accessible rooftop deck will offer both a swimming pool and a spa.  Completion is currently scheduled for sometime in 2016.

Plans from architectural firm Gensler call for a complex of six-story buildings, incorporating the sloping rooflines and wood paneling frequently seen on other Westside developments. The project's design  ingratiates itself heavily to the outdoors, both through its rooftop amenity deck and its expansive balconies.  Lush landscaping will surround the perimeter of the residential community and permeate into an internal courtyard.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Long Beach's Newest Tower Now Pushing Dirt


Six months after its nominal groundbreaking, Long Beach's first post-recession high-rise finally has non-ceremonial shovels in the dirt.  Construction of the Current, a 17-story mixed-use tower, is visibly underway at the northwest corner of Lime Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.  The $70 million project - formerly known as Shoreline Gateway - will offer a mixture of 223 studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and penthouse apartments.  Ground-level commercial stalls will encompass a total of 6,750 square feet, divided between retail and restaurant uses.

The tower's design, created by San Francisco-based BAR Architects, takes inspiration from early Southern California modernists such as Richard Neutra and R.M. Schindler.  Due to its location just blocks from the ocean, the Current places a strong emphasis on quality outdoor amenities.  The design incorporates expansive terraces and a roofdeck pool, offering views of both the waterfront and the surrounding cityscape.  In addition, the building's main entrance will feed directly into a 25,000 square foot plaza, to be built over a closed-off section of Lime Avenue.

Construction of the Current is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2016.  After that point, developer Anderson Pacific, LLC is expected to embark on a more grandiose second phase of the project: a 35-story condominium building.  That tower, to be located catacorner from the iconic Villa Riviera Apartments, would likely become the tallest residential building in Downtown Long Beach.

Image Credit: The Current Living

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Big Sunset Bronson Studios Expansion to Break Ground Next Week

Icon at SBS (Image credit: Hudson Pacific Properties)

Hollywood's well documented construction boom continues to surge, as yet another skyline altering project prepares to break ground near the 101 Freeway.  According to Bisnow, local landlord Hudson Pacific Properties (HPP) plans to begin work next week on a long-awaited expansion of Sunset Bronson Studios (SBS).  The $150 million development, designed by architectural firm Gensler, will retool the eastern side of the SBS campus with a new parking garage and approximately 400,000 square feet of office and production space.

HPP's expansion project is highlighted by Icon, a 14-story office tower slated for the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue.  The 315,000 square foot structure will stand roughly 200 feet tall, creating a commanding presence above the nearby freeway trench.  An August piece from the Architect's Newspaper describes the building as featuring "five rectangular, stacked volumes, offset horizontally to create exterior terraces."  Facade elements will variate between precast panels and a glass curtain wall, breaking down the tower's broad, imposing scale.

Moving south from Sunset Boulevard, the project will include two new buildings of a lower height profile.  The first, a five-story production building, will contain 90,000 square feet of production office space and a ground-level cafe.  The second, a seven-story garage, will rise adjacent to the production building and offer parking accommodations for 1,600 vehicles.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hollywood's Lexington Development Redesigned and Downsized

Viewed from the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue

Five years after stalling out with developer DS Ventures, Central Hollywood's massive Lexington project is somehow alive and kicking.  The mixed-use development, proposed for a 5.9-acre site at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue, would create a series of low-rise buildings featuring apartments and/or condominiums above ground-level commercial space.  A recently released FEIR casts some light on the updated, and slightly reduced development program.

Revised plans for the Lexington were designed by Santa Monica-based VTBS Architects, and call for six buildings, ranging from five-to-seven stories in height.  The low-rise structures will contain a total of 695 studio, one and two-bedroom units.  This represents a sharp decrease from the 786 dwelling units proposed under the former development program.  Conversely, the new plans call for just under 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space, a slight increase from the original proposal.  The project will also offer parking accommodations for nearly 1,400 vehicles, to be located in a three-level, partially-underground garage.

Friday, September 5, 2014

South Park Condo Project Gets a (Slightly) Different Look

Image credit: Harley Ellis Devereaux

As the long-awaited revival of Fig Central finally starts to rev its engines, architectural firm Harley Ellis Devereaux has retooled the look of a neighboring high-rise proposal.  1200 Fig - revealed in July by Curbed LA - will feature a pair of elliptical, 36-story towers with 648 condominium units and 50,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space.  Updated renderings of the project portray the twin buildings with horizontal window patterns, giving them an appearance which would be right at home in Downtown Miami.  The towers are adorned with swooping roof lines, inspired by the architecture of the adjacent Staples Center.

While the towers may look straight outta' Brickell, their podium structure has a lot more in common with Times Square.  Six levels of above-grade parking will be wrapped with LED signage, displaying advertisements and public art above Figueroa, Flower and 12th Streets.  Similar video screens are also utilized on neighboring tower developments, including Fig Central and the recently completed double-Marriott on Olympic Boulevard.

The mixed-use complex is being developed by a team of investors, including Jamison Services and the Hankey Group.  At 400 feet, the twin towers will reportedly be the tallest reinforced concrete structures ever built in Los Angeles.  According to the website of structural engineering firm Cary Kopczynski & Company, 1200 Fig is anticipated to break ground in late 2014.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Introducing 925 La Brea: Hollywood's Latest Office Development


Resurgent demand for quality office space in Hollywood has revived a slew of commercial developments throughout the submarket, including 1601 Vine Street and the sprawling Columbia Square campus.  Now, a recent environmental report provides a glimpse of the neighborhood's latest project, intended for a property which straddles the Hollywood/West Hollywood border.

925 La Brea Avenue, a six-story mixed-use complex, would rise from a mid-block parcel between Willoughby Avenue and Romaine Streets.  Designed by Santa Barbara-based Shubin + Donaldson Architects, the project would feature nearly 50,000 square feet of office space on its upper three floors.  The structure's three bottom floors would be devoted to a 175-car parking garage and 15,000 square feet of street-fronting commercial space.  A 4,800 square foot outdoor garden would occupy a fourth floor amenity deck, providing tenants with much needed open space.