Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shiny New Renderings for 3033 Wilshire Boulevard (UPDATED)

3033 Wilshire Boulevard (All images: Steinberg Architects)

New information has emerged regarding 3033 Wilshire Boulevard, a proposed high-rise apartment complex which would straddle the border between Westlake and Koreatown.

Los Angeles-based Steinberg Architects, design architect for the project, recently updated its website with a new a page for the proposed 18-story building.  The tower, as envisioned by developer UDR Incorporated, would consist of 190 apartments, 5,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and four levels of below-grade parking.  Residential units would range in size from studios to luxury penthouse spaces, each of which would contain two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Steinberg's design for the building would feature an exterior consisting primarily of glass.  A series of protruding decks would gradually change in shape and size while moving up the tower's mass, giving the facade a fluid texture.  The building would be capped by a rooftop pool and amenity deck, offering panoramic views of Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood Hills and the Pacific Ocean.

The project site - located at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Virgil Avenue - was first slated for high-rise development nearly one decade ago.  According to the website of consulting firm PMA, the new apartment tower is scheduled for completion in February 2016.

UPDATE 11/22/14: Heavy equipment and construction materials are present at the development site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Renderings Revealed for Martin Expo Town Center

A draft environmental impact report published by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning has revealed new details about Martin Expo Town Center (METC), a large mixed-use development proposed in West Los Angeles.  The project, designed by architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin, would create three low-rise and mid-rise structures with a combination of office, residential and retail uses.  Located at 1201 W. Olympic Boulevard, METC would rise from the current home of Martin Cadillac, just one block north of a future Expo Line Station at Bundy Drive.

Apartments Headed for Random Little Tokyo Parking Lot

During the course of Little Tokyo's mid-20th-century urban renewal, entire city blocks were leveled to make way for modern retail and office complexes, including the Japanese Village Plaza and Paker Center.  When the dust had finally settled in the 1980s, a small parking lot between Weller Court and the Kajima Building had somehow managed to escape the process almost completely untouched.  Now, after sitting idle for decades, the roughly half-acre property has been enveloped by Downtown's ongoing residential construction boom.

According to plans filed with the city in early November, the proposed development at 118 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street would consist of a six-story building, featuring 66 apartment units above ground-floor retail space.  The low-rise structure would also feature a subterranean parking garage, although city records do not currently specify the total number of vehicle stalls planned.

The proposed building joins several other residential-retail complexes that are currently remaking Little Tokyo's western perimeter.  A half block south, developers Avalon Bay and the Sares-Regis Group are building two low-rise projects which comprise more than 500 new residential units.  West across Los Angeles Street, a seven-story, 236-unit apartment building is planned adjacent to the historic Cathedral of St. Vibiana.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another Skyscraper Planned in the Historic Core

737 S. Spring Street

Yesterday, the Downtown News reported that Holland Partner Group had recently paid $12.5 million for a parking lot at the intersection of 8th and Spring Streets, with still unrefined plans to build apartments.  According to a recent case filling from the Department of City Planning, the Vancouver-based company intends to join the the burgeoning trend of high-rise development in Downtown's Historic Core.

Plans for the property at 737 South Spring Street call for a 24-story tower, containing 320 apartment units and ground-floor retail uses.  The proposed development would result in a larger building than the property currently allows for, and will thus require a transfer of floor area rights from a different site.

A set of promotional renderings, first seen on DTLA Rising, may offer hints about the project's future.  The conceptual design from Chris Dikeakos Architects featured a soaring 34-story tower above a retail and parking podium.  The actual project at 737 S. Spring Street calls for a slightly shorter building, albeit with a significantly higher level of residential density.

Although Holland Partner Group is no stranger to Downtown, or the Southern California region, the proposed tower will be their first project located east of the 110 Freeway.  The developer is currently building a large residential-retail complex at the corner of 6th and Bixel Streets in City West.  Their earlier work includes a 210-unit mixed-use development on Wilshire Boulevard.

Infill Developments Planned in North Hollywood

11326 weddington Street (Image: Ikon Hospitality)

North Hollywood, home to the dual terminus of Metro's Red and Orange Lines, is gradually embracing its role as one of the San Fernando Valley's few urban hubs.  Plans are already in the works for a high-rise commercial development atop the station's sprawling park-and-ride lot.  Now, according to environmental documents published by LADCP, smaller infill projects are starting to take form on nearby properties.

Ikon Hospitality, a local investor specializing in Southern California hotel properties, is one of several developers active in the neighborhood.  Last year,the company submitted plans to the city for a boutique hotel at 11326 Weddington Street, just one block south of North Hollywood Station.  The four-story development, designed by Irvine-based architecture firm nKlosures, would contain 43 guest rooms and gallery space for local artists.

A slightly larger 70-room inn, also designed by nKlosures, is planned further east on parcels at 11135-45 Burbank Boulevard.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor: Rendered

Though its June 2018 opening date looms on the distant horizon, few details regarding the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor (ESFVTC) are set in stone.  The project, partially funded through $170 million in Measure R revenue, will improve public transportation along a nine-mile swath between the Orange Line busway and Sylmar.  The proposed transit line would serve an area which is home to over 460,000 people--a larger total than either the cities of Atlanta and Miami.  Approximately 35% of residents within this region are deemed transit dependent, a fact which is exemplified by the high level of bus ridership along Van Nuys Boulevard.

Metro is currently compiling a draft environmental impact report for the project, which will study six different options for the ESFVTC.  These alternatives include: 1) no-build, 2) transportation systems management, 3) curb-running bus rapid transit, 4) median-running bus rapid transit, 5) low-floor light rail transit/tram, and 6) median-running light rail transit.  Although the eventual mode of transportation remains undetermined, a series of artistic renderings portray the hypothetical changes which could be wrought through the project.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mack Urban's New South Park Towers Revealed

1120 Grand Avenue (Image: DLANC)

Late last year, a joint venture between AECOM and developer Mack Urban announced plans for a $750 million mixed-use complex on six acres of South Park real estate.  The first phase of the development - a pair of low-rise structures on Pico Boulevard - was revealed in April to consist of 360 condominium units and roughly 6,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Now, take a look at phase two of the mega-project, courtesy of a presentation to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committee.

The largest of the two buildings would rise from a 1.6-acre parking lot at 1200 Grand Avenue.  Designs from architecture firm AC Martin call for a 37-story structure, containing 512 condominium units and slightly under 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.  The building would be served by a total of 752 parking spaces, situated on six above-grade and two below-grade levels.  Residential units would consist of a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, in addition to six townhouse units along the western side of the project site.  An outdoor deck atop the building's podium would provide an assortment of residential amenities, including a dog run, exercise space and a swimming pool.

The Mack Urban-AECOM towers are among the first high-rise developments to emerge since Los Angeles eliminated its longtime rooftop helipad mandate.  With that in mind, AC Martin has taken full advantage of the now relaxed policy in its designs for 1120 Grand Avenue.  The tower is to be adorned with a dramatic 100-foot spire, greatly augmenting the building's 386-foot roof height.