Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Keeping Up With Geoff Palmer's Latest Faux-talian Fortresses

The Lorenzo, seen from the intersection of 23rd and Flower Streets

Amongst the first developers to cash in on Downtown LA's 21st century residential boom, Geoff Palmer has lined the Central City's freeway ring with his Italian Renaissance themed apartment buildings.  True to form, his newest projects both overlook the 110, albeit in very different parts of the neighborhood.  The Lorenzo, which stands seven stories tall, occupies the majority of a city block bounded by Flower Street, Adams Boulevard, Grand Avenue and 23rd Street.  Sitting adjacent to the Expo Line's busy 23rd Street Station, the multi-phased development contains a total of 910 residential units and 34,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.  With furnished apartments and private shuttle service, the Lorenzo seeks to tap into the student housing market generated by nearby institutions such as FIDM and USC.  The building offers "resort-style," amenities, including a game room, basketball courts, four pools and a tanning salon (seriously?).   Say what you will about the architecture, but they haven't scrimped on perks.

The Lorenzo, looking south from across 23rd Street

The Lorenzo, looking west on 23rd Street

Three miles north, construction is not quite as far along on Da Vinci, Palmer's second under-construction complex.  Slated to open this summer, the 526-unit development will consist of two buildings, linked by a skybridge, taking the place of former surface parking lots along Temple Street and Fremont Avenue.  At ground level, the project will feature over 8,000 square feet of commercial space.  Designed by Nelson/Boivin Architecture & Planning, Da Vinci caters itself to the professional community.  The project's official website touts its on-site conference rooms, executive business center and (gasp) fax and copy center.  Who needs Kinkos, anyway?  While the apartments may not sit within easy walking distance of the Financial District, the building will be located just a few blocks north of the future subway station at 2nd and Hope Streets.

Da Vinci, seen from the intersection of Temple and Figueroa Streets

Da Vinci's second building, looking south down Fremont Avenue from Temple Street

Artist's Rendering of Da Vinci; Image courtesy of G.H. Palmer Associates

Limited as land bordering the freeway has become, Palmer still has more in the pipeline.  In fact, Da Vinci may receive a similarly styled neighbor in the near future.  According to information displayed on the company's website, next up to bat appears to be a 9.6 acre property on the opposite side of the 110.  Located at 1000 West Temple Street, the land is currently occupied by a Bank of America data center.  More immediately, Palmer intends to build an apartment-retail complex at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Broadway.  In a departure from his firm's signature Tuscan architecture, plans call for the buildings to be clad in brick veneer, so as to better match the aesthetics of the Historic Core.  The Downtown News reports that the project is on pace to break ground in late March, with completion expected in 2015.


  1. I don't understand why the Lorenzo shuttle exists - the Lorenzo is right at one Expo Line station, and USC has three stations. But then again, I always do see a couple people on the shuttle when I see it, so some people seem to find it more convenient than Metro somehow.

    1. The shuttle bus does seem unnecessary. I recall reading that USC cut its own shuttle service to Downtown after the Expo Line opened.

    2. I've got colleagues who use the Union Station shuttle still to get to campus from the Gold Line or Metrolink, and that definitely makes a lot of sense as long as the downtown regional connector still doesn't exist. But according to this page USC still runs a shuttle from the Galen Center to LA Live (within a block or two of the Expo Line at both ends, just two stops apart!) on Friday and Saturday nights: http://transnet.usc.edu/transit/routes.aspx