Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Evolution of Century City


Century City will never be a walker's paradise, even when it does get its long awaited subway station (hopefully less than 15 years from now).  It's cold and aloof, with buildings that (for the most part) refuse to meet the sidewalk.  Generous accommodations for the automobile are strewn about.  Its retail accommodations are almost exclusively encompassed by the fortress like Westfield Century City mall.

Nonetheless, Century City is on pace for a massive amount of construction activity in the coming five years.  By 2015, five high rise buildings 460 feet or taller should be well underway.  All packed into a neighborhood which encompasses only .275 square miles.

An overhead view of Century City, with development sites outlined in red.

At the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Avenue of the Stars, Australia based Westfield is working on a 39 story residential tower which will tie into their plans to expand the Century City Mall.

Westfield's Residential Tower on the left.  This outdated rendering show a 49 story tower, not the current 39 story proposal.  Patient zero of the financial crisis still graces the marquee of the SunAmerica Center in this picture.  Image from Westfield Group.
Although construction on the tower itself has yet to begin, some ancillary construction work associated with the project is already underway.  Specifically, a 500 car parking garage at the corner of Constellation and Century Park West.

Construction progress on the new parking garage.
Of course, groundbreaking for residential tower itself is probably more than a year off.  The fairly large office building currently at the corner of Santa Monica and Avenue of the Stars is still occupied.  I suppose Westfield set the completion date as 2018 for a reason.

On the opposite side of Century City, Miami based Crescent Heights' 40 story/460 foot tall proposal at 10000 Santa Monica Blvd seems much more imminent.


10000 Santa Monica  Image from Handel Architects
Crescent Heights brought this project into the site prep stage over the past two months.  Workers have been busy with excavation and installation of utilities to get the site ready for vertical construction.

10000 Santa Monica, as it currently appears.
When completed, this building will directly overlook the LA Country Club (and some other stuff too).  As an aside, I'm puzzled as to how the LA Country Club survives to this day. It take up hundreds of acres of prime real in between Los Angeles' two main commercial boulevards (Wilshire and Santa Monica).  On top of that, it's twice the size of a standard golf course with 36 holes as opposed to 18.  I suppose that there will be some point in the coming decades where a developer makes an offer that the club just can't refuse.  Century City Part II, anyone?

Next up is a project scheduled to break ground in 2014, the Century Plaza Residential Towers.

Image from New Century Plaza
In a vacuum, these just appear to be run of the mill residential skyscrapers, each standing 46 stories and 520 feet tall.  Despite a future subway portal, both towers are deliberately designed to be isolated from the street.  The primary ingress points will be two vehicular driveways on opposite sides of the property.   Basically, these will be two auto-oriented ivory towers.

I suppose the redeeming quality of this proposal is that it creates great symmetry with the Century Plaza office towers and the CAA headquarters across the street.  Rectangular mid-rise buildings front the street, with triangular shaped twin towers rising behind.  A least the view from Google Earth will be nice.

Finally, we have the Century City Center, the only one of these proposals which seeks to create office space.

Can you spot Century City Center?  Hint: it's the only one of these buildings that doesn't exist (yet).  Image from Johnson Fain Architects.
Standing 37 stories and 570 feet tall, this building would practically sit on top of the future Century City Purple Line station (provided that Beverly Hills doesn't mess it up for everyone).  With 700,000 square feet of glassy office space, it's the largest pure office building proposed in LA County at the moment.

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