Sunday, March 16, 2014

First Look at Downtown's Upcoming Wave of Canadian Skyscrapers

Lately, the talk of the town has been the recent influx of Chinese investment into the South Park neighborhood.  How about some foreign money from closer to home?  This Tuesday, the DLANC's Planning and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take a look at multiple high-rise projects proposed by two Canadian-based developers.  The Amacon Group, which has stayed north of the border until recently, is revamping its pre-recession proposal for a mixed-use high-rise development at 1133 Hope Street.  The Onni Group, already hard at work on a 32-story tower at 888 Olive Street, has plans for two substantially more ambitious projects nearby.  The three developments would combine to create over 1,500 residential units in glassy towers that would look right at home in Vancouver or Toronto.  Of course, that's no coincidence, since all three projects were designed by Vancouver-based Chris Dikeakos Architects.  Check out the specs and some additional renderings below.

1133 Hope Street

Rising 28 stories, Amacon's tower at 1133 Hope Street would contain a total of 208 residential units above roughly 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space.  Residential units would consist of a mix of studio, one, two and three bedroom penthouse units.  On-site amenities include a fitness room, library, meeting room, communal kitchen, media room, swimming pool and spa.  With an architectural apex 330 feet above ground, the tower's height is significantly bolstered by the inclusion of a five-story podium (in addition to two subterranean parking levels).  However, renderings do indicate that the parking garage would be obscured by a green wall.  It's not a perfect solution by any means, but certainly better than five floors of exposed parking (talking about you, Watermarke).  Amacon's project would also provide the additional benefit of fixing the hazardous sidewalks on the western side of Hope Street.  As great as they are for shade, these ficus trees can't be yanked out fast enough.  1133 Hope Street may be in store for a mid-rise neighbor just across the street, where developer BIMHF, LLC wants to convert a currently vacant building into a 10-story boutique hotel.

Aerial view of 1133 Hope Street, looking northeast.

Closeup on the five-story podium structure.  The project's green wall would hopefully be a bit less sparse in reality.

Podium green wall on the eastern side of the property.  While some residents of the Flower Street Lofts may be disappointed to lose their view, at least they wouldn't be staring straight into bowels of a parking garage.

1212 Flower Street

Within spitting distance of Amacon's proposed development, the Onni Group has plans for two additional high-rise structures on the parking lot of the 1212 Flower Street office building.  The first tower would rise 40 stories (529 feet) at the intersection of Hope and 12th Streets, containing 420 residential units.  The second structure, a 31-story tower (421 feet), would create an additional 310 units along the Flower Street side of the property.  Both glass-clad towers would sit atop approximately 8,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, with frontage on all three sides of the pacel site.  The project would include a total of 843 parking spaces, contained within an above and below grade garage, which would serve residents, commercial tenants and the existing office building.  Residential units would screen above-grade parking from street view on levels five through seven.

Onni's multi-tower development joins two other high-rise projects set to rise along this stretch of Flower Street.  A partnership lead by Jamison Services and the Hankey Group is currently working on plans for twin 36-story towers on the opposite side of the street, while the Chinese-based Oceanwide Group recently purchased the revived Fig Central development.  It looks like Metro's Pico Station, long surrounded by a sea of surface parking lots, is about to find itself in the center of a tall urban canyon.

View of the project site looking northwest.

View of the project's 12th Street frontage.  A motor court would provide vehicular access for both residential towers and the existing office building.

View of the project site from the corner of Hope and 12th Streets.  No onerous parking podium on this side of the property.

Looking northeast from across Flower Street.  The parking structure's upper levels are wrapped with residential units, helping to camouflage its appearance.

View of the project site looking southeast from across Flower Street.  The strong vertical lines of the podium seem to work well with the existing five-story office building.  This could be the start of a nice street wall adjacent to Pico Station.

820 Olive Street

Last, but definitely not least, is the tallest of the three developments.  820 Olive Street, currently a surface parking lot, would be developed by the Onni Group into a 50-story tower containing 583 residences above 4,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Standing 637 feet high, 820 Olive Street would be amongst the tallest residential buildings in the state of California.  The tower, which would actually rise on the Hill Street side of the project site, features a five-story podium structure spanning the length of the property.  Although the podium does contain an approximately 600-car garage, parking accommodations would be screened by residential units on both the Olive and Hill Street sides of the parcel.  Residential amenities would include an outdoor pool deck on the seventh level, providing access to two-story townhouse units on the northern side of the property.  Exterior materials are listed as  concrete, prefinished metal paneling, perforated metal paneling, stone and glass.

As seems to be the case everywhere you look in South Park these days, 820 Olive Street might be joined by another tall neighbor.  In addition to Onni's tower already underway next-door, developer Carmel Partners has plans for a 27-story high-rise just across the street.  The San Francisco-based firm is already very familiar with the neighborhood, having started construction on the long-stalled G8 development in early 2013.  The 700-unit monolith, which will occupy the majority of a full city block, is set to feature a long-awaited Whole Foods Market on its ground floor.

View of the project site looking southeast.  888 Olive Street, currently under construction, is dwarfed by the proposed tower.

View of project site looking northeast.

Bird's eye view of project site.  Green roof deck is visible at the bottom of the image.

Ground level view from Olive Street.  Residential units on the podium's exterior eliminates an unattractive parking podium and creates more "eyes on the street."

A second view from Olive Street
Project's Hill Street frontage.  Glass cladding once again helps disguise what is actually a parking structure.

As always, take this information well salted.  These look to be preliminary renderings, and are likely subject to change.  It's yet to be seen whether these proposals truly have legs, or if they are just the latest installments in Downtown Los Angeles' long history of pie in the sky developments.  Still, the skyline altering possibilities are fun to imagine, aren't they?

Onni Group and Amacon Group project sites.  888 Olive Street, currently under construction, is highlighted in green.


  1. Can't wait the skyline will be so different !!

    1. My fingers are crossed, but I'll wait until shovels hit the ground before getting too excited.

  2. Having seen Vancouver a few times, the building all look like this, and it is a bit dull. Blue glass and stainless. It gets old fast.

    1. Definitely not interesting in seeing Downtown become a Vancouver lookalike, but a few of these here and there aren't bad. Then again, most towers are clad in glass nowadays, so to a certain extent it's unavoidable.

  3. What do you want then, glass towers or 7 story wood frame? I'll take glass any day...

    1. How about a nice mix of both?

    2. U would know more than any1 we are getting a mix. One week forumers complain about wood and today they complain about glass? What do u want? Don't particularly care about opinions getting interjected. I just want the dev inside news. But it is ur blog.

  4. Would 820 olive become the tallest residential tower in downtown LA?