Friday, November 29, 2013

Playa Vista Fills Out: Even More Office Space

Playa Vista may have lost out on Riot Games to West LA, but it looks like the massive lease has whet the appetite for additional creative office space on the Westside.  Next up is a project located on the far eastern edge of the Playa Vista's sprawling campus.  A triangular shaped parcel, bounded by Centinela Avenue, Artisans Way and Bluff Creek Drive, is the proposed site of a trio of low-rise office buildings.  While the project's case filing is light on details, we do know that the buildings would stand just two-stories, adjacent to a surface parking lot.  Not exactly stellar urban design, but that's pretty much par for the course with Playa Vista.  The new office buildings would be located just a stone's throw from the Entrada, the controversial office mid-rise proposed near the Westfield Culver City mall.

Project location, as it currently appears.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Steel Rises for Good Sam's New Medical Plaza

With the rapid expansion of Downtown LA's residential population, a variety of eateries and retail establishments have set up shop in the neighborhood.  Another (albeit less exciting) necessity for a growing community is improved medical services, an area which now must play catch up due to Downtown's growth spurt.  With that in mind, Good Samaritan Hospital's $80 million expansion finally got concrete in the ground this past August.  The steel skeleton of the Medical Plaza and Outpatient Pavilion currently stands two floors above the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Witmer Street.  When completed, the seven-story, 193,000 square foot edifice will house the hospital's radiology and oncology departments, in addition to an ambulatory surgery center.  The Ware Malcomb designed facility will feature a two-story lobby on Witmer Street, shared with one of the hospital's existing buildings.  Good Sam' also intends to foster new pedestrian activity in the Westlake neighborhood through the inclusion of a ground floor cafe and a window display focused on medical history.  The Medical Plaza will soon be joined by a slew of mixed-use neighbors, including the Valencia by Sonny Astani and a proposed 52-unit development across the street.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Old Lucia Tower Site Going Low-Rise

A Chinatown parcel that once harbored high-rise ambitions instead may give way for something much shorter.  Earlier this month, LA City Planning received an application for a mixed-use development at the northwest corner of Cesar E Chavez and Grand Avenues.  The project's case filing calls for a seven-story building, containing 225 residential units, 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and a two-level subterranean parking garage.  Back in 2006, the Downtown LA News reported that siblings Larry and Ralph Cimmarusti were working on plans for a 31-story mixed-use tower at this location.  The Lucia Tower, named for their grandmother, would have created 200 condominiums above a six-story podium on a lot sandwiched between G.H. Palmer's Orsini Apartments and the 101 Freeway.  Unfortunately, that vision was crushed by the collapse of the real estate market, just like so many other Downtown proposals from the mid-2000's.  Now it seems that the project is back in a form that actually has a shot at getting built.

The never built Lucia Tower, designed by the Archeon Group

Monday, November 25, 2013

Check Out the Upcoming SFV Family Support Center

San Fernando Valley Family Support Center.  Image from HKS Architects via World Architecture News.

Back in September, longtime County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky announced that the San Fernando Valley Family Support Center was breaking ground in Van Nuys.  Located at the southwest corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Saticoy Street, the 220,000 square foot project carries a price tag of $175.9 million.  When the LEED Gold certified facility opens in August 2015, the departments of Children and Family Services, Public Social Services, Child Support Services, Probation, Health Services, Mental Health and Public Healthy shall be unified under one roof.  Putting these agencies in close quarters will hopefully facilitate better collaboration, allowing them to serve the citizens of LA County more effectively.  The five-story structure was designed by Los Angeles based HKS Architects, whose prior work includes the Montage Beverly Hills.  A key feature of the 6.8 acre campus is its large interior courtyard, featuring numerous gathering spaces and a children's play area.  Family oriented, indeed.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Little Osaka Parcel May Get Apartments

1900 S Sawtelle Blvd

Little Tokyo has seen construction start on a pair of new mixed-use developments within the past year, and now its Westside counterpart wants in on the action.  Plans were submitted last week for a 52-apartment development at 1900 Sawtelle Boulevard, located on the northern end of the Japanese-American cultural enclave sometimes referred to as Little Osaka.  The apartments would be housed within a five-to-six story building, featuring just under 3,300 square feet of ground floor restaurant space.  A document from the West LA Neighborhood Council indicates that the land owner is a Mr. Peter Wilson (probably not our former Governor).  However, you can expect some local Japanese-Americans to oppose this project for sentimental reasons.  The building at 1900 Sawtelle formerly housed the Harada Nursery, which was founded in 1948.  While not architecturally significant, the structure has served as a community landmark since shortly after the cessation of Japanese-American Internment.  Although Harada Nursery has not received landmark status, City Planning acknowledged the site's historical significance in a July newsletter.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shiny New Rendering for Olympic & Olive

Here's a better look at the KTGY Group's design for the proposed Olympic & Olive mixed-use development, with credit to the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committee.  The seven-story project from Lennar Multifamily Investors would contain 201 apartments and just over 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail to South Park.  Not to mention a reasonably sized 228 car underground garage, supplemented by 221 bike parking spaces.  As mentioned in previous coverage of this project, Olympic & Olive would fall just inside the eastern boundary of Councilman Jose Huizar's proposed interim control ordinance prohibiting wood-frame construction.  Adoption of the ICO would prevent Lennar from moving forward with the project as currently designed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crane Action at the Wilshire Grand Site

Passers by may have noticed the recent addition of a mobile crane to the massive Wilshire Grand construction site.  Perhaps Turner Construction is about to install a larger stationary crane?  Or maybe it has something to do with tomorrow's "bottoming out," ceremony.  Crews have now excavated the site down to 106 feet below street level, capping off a demolition process which began late in 2012.  Soon afterwards, the Wilshire Grand begins a three year climb to its 1,100 foot apex.  When opened in 2017, the tower will contain 900 hotel rooms and 400,000 square feet of office space within 73 stories.  No need to mention the 70th floor lobby and the rooftop pool/observation deck.  Can it please be 2017 already?

Brentwood Getting a Mixed-User With a Corny Name

Picasso Brentwood.  Image from Real Estate News TV.

There's always more demand for retail and residential space west of the 405, right?  Santa Monica based Metropolitan Pacific Capital is currently working on plans for Picasso Brentwood, a mixed-use development pegged for three parcels just east of the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Bundy Drive.  The project's case filing with the Department of City Planning describes a six-story, 81 unit development served by roughly 7,500 square feet of retail space and a 126 car garage.  Apartments will range from studio to two bedroom units, with 10% of all residences set aside as affordable housing.  Architectural work comes from the firm of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, whose previous work includes Westwood's Remington condo tower.  Although groundbreaking was expected in spring of this year, the project has yet to receive construction permits.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Construction Permits Issued for Selma and Vine

Prepare to bid farewell to one of the most conspicuous surface parking lots in Hollywood, as Camden Development's mixed-use project at Selma and Vine is just about ready to get shovels in the ground.  As of this morning, the Department of Building and Safety has issued permits to Camden for shoring and foundation work on their $240 million project.  Plans call for a 7-story building consisting of 287 apartments, 39,000 square feet of street level retail, and a four-level underground parking garage.  Like many of the developments currently underway in Hollywood, Selma and Vine represents a downsized version of more ambitious pre-recession plans.  When the project first emerged in 2007, Camden envisioned an 11-story building with a ground level Whole Foods Market.  Looks like Camden traded one overpriced chain for another, as a document from TCA Architects indicates that Equinox Fitness has signed on as a ground floor tenant. On the downside, Selma and Vine's proposed office neighbor across the intersection has seen its groundbreaking schedule delayed yet again.

Playa Del Oro North Rises

Get ready for more stucco clad mixed-use apartments in Westchester, as the second phase of Decon Properties' Playa Del Oro springs up on Manchester Boulevard.  The $67 million Playa Del Oro North, designed by Eduardo Cespedes Architecture, will create 260 residential units and 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail when completed in fall 2014.  The building will be served by a 515 stall underground parking garage, with amenities such as a fitness center/sauna, a "resort-style pool," a game room, a dog park, and a screening room.  The project adds to the 405 apartments and 27,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space from the first phase of Playa Del Oro, which opened in 2009.

Image from Multi-Housing News

Friday, November 15, 2013

First Look at the Martin Expo Town Center

Martin Expo Town Center.  All images from Popularise.

Density averse Westside residents may object, but the Martin family continues to press onward with ambitious plans to convert their Cadillac dealership into a mixed-use development.  Although Martin Cadillac has been a West LA landmark for decades, the coming of the Expo Line motivated the family to re-envision their property with retail, office and residential space.  The Martins have set up a page for the Martin Expo Town Center on Popularise, providing neighbors a venue to offer critiques and suggestions for the project.

Altogether, the Martin Expo Town Center (METC) plans for just over 800,000 square feet of total floor area.  The project's 516 residential units range from studio to three bedroom apartments, divided between low-rise and mid-rise structures.  The tallest residential building would stand 11-stories, featuring roughly 60,000 square feet of street level retail space.  METC's 200,000 square foot creative office component would rise within a 10-story building, towering 160 feet above the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive.  At ground level, the office tower would contain a 10,000 square foot showroom for Martin Cadillac.

Of course, we have yet to see how METC navigates its way through the approvals process and the inevitable fight with the locals.  The West LA Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted unanimously to oppose the project back in June, citing concerns over traffic gridlock and the height of the proposed buildings.  While the mid-rise structures are hardly out of scale with the neighborhood (there are multiple 10-story office buildings within a quarter mile radius of the project site), the concerns about traffic aren't completely unreasonable.  The Olympic/Bundy intersection comes to a standstill at rush hour, and the relocation of Riot Games next-door will likely exacerbate the current mess.  METC is also difficult to accept as a "transit oriented development," considering that the full build out of the proposal creates nearly 1,800 parking spaces.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Watch Anaheim's Iconic Transit Hub Take Form

Images by Rubbertoe of the Transit Coalition Forum

Over the weekend, Transit Coalition forumer Rubbertoe snapped a few pictures of construction work on the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, otherwise known as ARTIC.  The $180 million station is situated within Anaheim's Platinum Triangle, with easy access to the Honda Center, Disneyland, Angel Stadium and the Anaheim Convention Center.  The  Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum designed project will link multiple OCTA bus lines and the future Anaheim Streetcar with Metrolink and Amtrak train service.  ARTIC is also planned to serve as the southern terminus for Phase 1 of California High Speed Rail, providing one seat rides to Los Angeles Union Station and San Francisco's Transbay Terminal.  The first phase of CAHSR is scheduled to open in 2029, assuming that cost overruns and legal hurdles don't derail the project.  Of course, that's a big assumption given the current political landscape.  In the meantime, check out the construction camera tracking ARTIC's progress.  The station is scheduled to open late in 2014.

Still image from ARTIC's construction camera

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Downtown's Double Marriott Looking Good

The crane may have just come down last month for Williams & Dame's Courtyard Marriott/Residence Inn, but construction workers have wasted little time in finishing up the cladding on the building's eastern facade.  The 23-story tower, designed by GBD Architects, will create 393 new hotel rooms when it opens in summer 2014.  While the Marriott Tower was Downtown's lone high-rise bright spot when it broke ground in March 2012, an array of new and revived projects have emerged in South Park during the past year.  One block north on Francisco Street, IDS Realty and Shanghai's Greenland Holdings Group intend to partner on the $1 billion Metropolis development.  Across the street from Staples Center, the long-stalled Fig Central project was put up for sale this summer.  The Downtown Car Wash (seen in the foreground of the above picture) is reportedly in escrow, and will likely make way for a mixed-use development in the near future.  Williams & Dame Development also plans to break ground on a 450-room Renaissance Hotel in early 2014, located next-door to the under-construction Marriott.  Very exciting times for South Park.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rampart Village Getting Affordable Housing Action

Image from A Community of Friends

We don't hear about Rampart Village very often, do we?  Well, here it goes.  A Community of Friends, a non-profit affordable housing developer, recently filed plans for a mixed-use project at the southern end of neighborhood.  The project, dubbed "Beverly Terrace," would occupy a currently vacant lot bounded by Beverly Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.  The five-story building, designed by Playa Del Rey based Egan Simon Architecture, would contain 40 apartments, a 3,607 square foot child care facility, and 368 square feet of office space.  Beverly Terrace checks in with just 29 at-grade parking spaces in addition to 24 bike parking stalls.  Amenities include an 865 square foot recreation room and a 2,100 square foot roof top deck.  The project has an estimated budget of $13.2 million, with completion expected in May 2016.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Platform Has Shovels in the Ground

A year and a half after the Expo Line finally brought rail service back to the Westside, Culver City is up to its ears in transit oriented developments.  Earlier this week, heavy equipment and sidewalk scaffolding showed up at the abandoned used car dealership across the street from Culver City Station.  It looks like the Runyon Group's highly anticipated mixed-use complex, known as "The Platform," is finally starting construction.  The project, designed by Abramson Teiger Architects, will create ample retail, restaurant and office space just east of Downtown Culver City.  It should provide a nice complement to Access Culver City, which broke ground in October.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hollywood Office Building Probably Delayed Again

1601 Vine Street, designed by Gensler

In what may be the least surprising news ever, the long stalled eight-story office building proposed for 1601 Vine Street has suffered yet another delay.  Unfavorable market conditions have set the project back for years, but this time the culprit is Los Angeles' slow moving bureaucracy.  When the J.H. Snyder Company took over development of 1601 Vine back in July, they agreed to break ground on the project by April 2014.  However, no company will issue title insurance to J.H. Snyder while the conveyance of the property still requires approval from the City's Department of Finance (DOF).  The DOF has indicated that their approval of the transaction would be evident via their approval of CRA/LA's Long Range Property Management Plan.  But therein lies the rub: there is no set timetable regarding when the DOF will complete their review of the plan.  Thus, CRA/LA has extended the groundbreaking deadline until the later of 1) DOF approval of the transaction or 2) December 31, 2014.  After seven years of waiting, what's an extra twelve months on top of that?  At least the mixed-use project across the street still seems to be on track.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Koreatown?

Important question: what was the purpose of including the lamp post in this rendering?

Koreatown has mixed-use developments springing up left and right these days, but this one comes with an Ivy League pedigree.  Plans were submitted in late October for a six-story building at the southeastern corner of 8th Street and Harvard Boulevard.  The project, appropriately named 8th & Harvard, would contain 131 residential units above 7,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Architectural work once again comes from the Archeon Group, which currently has several Koreatown projects in predevelopment.

Surprisingly, 8th & Harvard's case filing indicates that the project's residential component will be condo units rather than rental apartments.  While the Los Angeles real estate market has experienced a strong rebound in the past year, for-sale units seem like a big risk in this part of Koreatown.

8th & Harvard, as it currently exists.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kimpton to Develop Hollywood Boutique Hotel

Even with the locals in an uproar over increased traffic, density and earthquake faults, Hollywood's development binge forges on.  The contentious Millennium Hollywood has taken most of the heat, but there are other projects in the works which would provide the Capitol Records Building with tall neighbors.  Documents released by CRA/LA indicate that Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will be stepping in to re-develop a parcel just north of Hollywood Boulevard into the Argyle Hotel.  The San Francisco based hospitality company is the largest operator of boutique hotels in the United States.  The Argyle Hotel would be their third Los Angeles location, joining Westwood's Hotel Palomar and the Miracle Mile's Hotel Wilshire.

The Argyle Hotel would stand 16-stories, consisting of  225 hotel rooms, 6,000 square feet of meeting space, and 3,000 square feet of restaurant space.  The hotel rooms would sit atop a four-story podium, containing three levels of above-grade parking and a ground floor lobby.  Just in case there wasn't enough parking already, the project would also include a 107 car underground garage.  At some point, Los Angeles based Coe Architecture International drew up designs for the hotel, seen below.  However, it is unclear if these renderings represent the current plans for the project.

All images from Coe Architecture International

Argyle Hotel on the right hand side.  A massing for 6230 Yucca can be seen center left in the image.

Argyle Hotel on the left.  6230 Yucca seen center right.

Don't hold your breath in anticipation, though.  Construction of the Argyle Hotel would first require the demolition of the nondescript five-story office building which currently stands at 1800 Argyle Avenue.  The ongoing effort to map the Hollywood Fault also poses a threat to the Argyle Hotel.  Should the California Geological Survey conclude that the fault line runs underneath 1800 Argyle, Kimpton would most likely be prevented from building on the land.  Neighbors Millennium Hollywood and 6230 Yucca are also stuck in limbo pending the conclusion of the study, expected sometime in 2014.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Palms: An Art Deco Throwback

All images from Plus Architects

Looks like Palms' next mixed-use development may be a blast from the past.  Curbed LA first spotted a project from Gateway Equities, LLC working its way through the Department of City Planning back in 2011.  Last month, plans re-emerged for "The Palms," a mixed-use development intended for the parcel at the northeastern corner of Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue.   The project is set to stand six-stories, consisting of 126-residential units above 41,000 square feet of ground level commercial space.  Locally based Plus Architects drew up the Palms' retro design.  A nice nod to Los Angeles' rich Art Deco history, as well as the historic MGM Studios campus located directly across the street.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Meet Olympic and Olive

Anyone tired of reading about mixed-use developments in Downtown yet?  If so, you should probably leave now.  The Department of City Planning just released the initial study for the Olympic and Olive Project, which was first spotted moving through the planning process in late summer.  The seven-story development from Lennar Multifamily Investors would consist of 201 residential units above 4,126 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Plans also call for a three-level, 228 car garage in addition to 221 bike parking spaces.  Olympic and Olive was designed by the KTGY Group, whose previous work includes CIM Group's Market Lofts.  Armchair architecture critics will be pleased to know that this project would not feature stucco cladding, instead utilizing a combination of metal paneling, glass and cement plaster.

However, we may need to pump the brakes in light of recent actions within the Los Angeles City Council.  14th District Councilman Jose Huizar recently introduced a motion which would prohibit the use of wood-frame construction within certain areas of Downtown.  Olympic and Olive would fall just inside the eastern boundary of the motion's proposed interim control ordinance.  Should the interim control ordinance go into effect, Lennar Multifamily Investors may be unable to move this project forward.

In the meantime, enjoy some additional renderings.

A close up on Olympic and Olive's pool deck

View of the project looking south down Olive Street

View of the project looking north on Olive Street

Overhead view of Olympic and Olive's pool deck

View of the project looking east on Olympic Boulevard