Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Final Phase of South Park's Avant Apartments Rising

As South Park's latest mixed-use development starts work on Olympic Boulevard, why not head a few blocks south to check in on an earlier arrival to the Downtown development party?  Directly across the street from the LA Convention Center, construction on the second and final phase of the $170 million Avant Apartments has now progressed to the fifth floor above ground.  Located at 1500 South Figueroa Street, the mixed-use development from Century West Partners will top out at seven stories, containing 193 market rate apartments above 9,500 square feet of street level retail space.  Designed by Downtown-based GMP Architects (801 Olive Street), the low-rise building will offer future residents two floors of underground parking, in addition to amenities including a pool, a spa, and a five minute walk to Pico Station.  No need to mention the enviable rooftop view of the expanding Downtown skyline.  1500 Figueroa Street will reportedly be completed sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.  Phase one of Avant, which consists of two buildings linked by a pedestrian bridge, is currently pre-leasing for its first move-ins next month.  That portion of the project creates a cumulative 247 apartment units, in addition to 11,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space along Figueroa Street.

1500 Figueroa Street; Image Credit: Avant South Park

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Apartment Development Proposed in Northeast K-Town

Jam packed Koreatown is about to become a little bit more dense, with a new residential project slated for a property located just south of 1st Street.  According to plans recently filed with the city, a five-story, 40-unit condominium development is proposed for the parcel at 111 South Mariposa Avenue.  The project's LADCP case filing indicates that the building would provide future residents with 90 parking spaces, supplemented by a whopping total of five bicycle parking stalls.  111 Mariposa's previous owner had commissioned K-Town's Corbel Architects to draft a conceptual design for the site.  However, those hypothetical plans called for a slightly larger project, consisting of 51 residential units.  At this time, the project site is developed with a two-story building, currently occupied by the Myung Sung Presbyterian Church.  The existing structure, which was constructed in 1917, would likely be demolished to make way for the condominium development.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Excavation Progress at Long Stalled La Brea Gateway

After years of delay, Hollywood's controversial La Brea Gateway is finally pushing dirt.  Located at the northwest corner of La Brea and Willoughby Avenues, the mixed-use development will create 179 apartment units and a 33,500 square foot Sprouts Farmers Market.  Designed by Van Tilburg, Banyard & Soderbergh, the five-story building will feature parking accommodations for 463 automobiles and 231 bicycles in an subterranean garage.  Located at 915 North La Brea Avenue, the project is being developed by Holland Residential, a subsidiary of the Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group.  La Brea Gateway has existed in one form or another since 2005, when it was first envisioned as a seven-story, 219 unit building.  That slightly larger version of project, proposed by the Martin Group, drew the ire of an especially vocal group of neighbors who successfully negotiated the planned building down to its current size.  Three years later, work is finally underway, with an estimated completion date of November 2015.

NIMBY haircuts aside, Holland Residential's project is really just one example of a broader trend for La Brea Avenue.  Historically considered a commercial boulevard, a recent uptick in mixed-use construction has added over 1000 residential units along the 2.7 mile stretch of La Brea in-between Wilshire and Hollywood Boulevards.  The City of West Hollywood has been particularly active in this regard, having recently opened several new residential-retail developments north of Santa Monica Boulevard.  The construction boom is also evident further south, near the Miracle Mile, where mixed-use developments are popping up left and right in advance of the coming Purple Line extension.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Residential-Office Complex Proposed in Warner Center

The Warner Center 2035 Plan was designed to transform the sleepy business district into an active mixed-use community.  In a positive sign for the neighborhood's future, developers are swooping in left and right to make this vision a reality.  The latest large scale mixed-use project headed to the West Valley comes from Associated Estates Realty Group, in the form of a low-rise and mid-rise development in Warner Center's College District.  According to a document from the Woodland Hills - Warner Center Neighborhood Council, the Ohio-based developer has plans for 379 apartment units and 71,000 square feet of office space, to be located at 21221 Oxnard Street.  Residential buildings would range from five to seven stories in height, with plans calling for 82 live-work units.  The office portion of the project would rise in a nine-story tower, standing approximately 150 feet tall with an unspecified amount of ground floor retail space.  A full build out of the development, which would occur in two phases, calls for a total of 680 parking stalls.  The project site is currently developed with a two-story office building that once housed the offices of the Los Angeles Daily News.

USC Pursuing Adaptive Reuse of Fire Station 15

LAFD Station 15; Image Credit: Chuck Madderom Collection via

With construction now underway on a new, USC-funded Fire Station at the corner of Hoover and 30th Streets, something had to be done with LAFD Station 15's current digs on Jefferson Boulevard.  It appears that USC has found that something.  According to an environmental report released by LADCP, the university proposes the relocation of the current station building to a vacant lot near the Shrine Auditorium.  There it would serve as a studio annex to the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, located at the corner of Figueroa and 32nd Streets.  RZC houses both the Electronic Arts Game Design Lab and the university's student-run television station.  Comprised of slightly over 8,700 square feet of floor area, LAFD Station 15 dates back to 1950, and is eligible for local historic landmark status.  USC proposes slight modifications to the structure as part of its preservation, including new landscaping and improved lighting.

The adaptive reuse project is closely tied to the $1.1 billion Village at USC, which will create over 2 million square feet of student housing, academic facilities and neighborhood serving retail.  The first phase of the Village, once scheduled to begin work in mid-2014, consists of housing for 2,470 students and 140,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Although an exact groundbreaking date is unknown, USC is currently in the process of obtaining demolition permits for the existing University Village shopping center.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Details Surface for Mixed-Use Development at Former Sunkist HQ

Image Credit: Los Angeles Daily News

In February 2013, news emerged that IMT Capital was planning a mixed-use development on a Sherman Oaks parcel which formerly housed the headquarters of the Sunkist Growers Cooperative.  Just over one year later, the Valley Village-based developer has finally submitted their project to the city for approval.  According to a recent case filing from LADCP, plans for the 8.5 acre site call for 298 residential units and an unspecified amount of ground floor commercial space.  The Daily News previously reported that the development would likely feature a grocery store, in addition to a greenway park along the banks of the LA River.  Located at 14130 Riverside Drive, the project site sits across the street from both a Trader Joe's supermarket and Westfield Fashion Square.  The new residential-retail complex will rise on current surface parking lots.  The existing structure, designed by AC Martin Partners, will be retained as office space.  Built in 1971, the three-story concrete building is a well known Valley landmark due to its visibility from the 101 freeway.  Sunkist was based out of 14130 Riverside Drive until last year, when they relocated to Valencia to be closer to their growers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mixed-Use Camden Hollywood Ready to go Vertical

Blink and you'll miss the departure of yet another Hollywood parking lot.  Located at the the southeast corner of Vine Street and Selma Avenue, this dirt pit is the future site of the Camden Hollywood, a $140 million mixed-use development from the Houston-based Camden Property Trust.  Designed by seemingly ubiquitous TCA Architects, the Camden Hollywood will rise seven stories, containing 287 market rate apartments and just under 40,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Future residents at 1540 Vine Street could easily leave their cars behind, with the Red Line's Hollywood/Vine Station located just one block north.  Although, with a 750-stall garage located underneath the building, it doesn't seem like Camden expects many tenants to make that lifestyle change.  Earlier renderings portrayed Equinox Fitness as the building's ground floor tenant, but it is unclear if the luxury health club chain is still involved with the development.  The current project is noticeably smaller than Camden' original proposal for the site, which would have risen 11 stories and featured a ground floor Whole Foods Market.

Monday, April 21, 2014

First Renderings of Mack Urban's South Park Development

Although Mack Urban's upcoming South Park developments bring the exciting potential for new high-rises near the AT&T Center, the project also features a substantial low-rise component along Pico Boulevard.  Here is a first look, thanks to a presentation from the DLANC website.  Set to rise on adjacent parking lots between Olive and Hill Streets, this phase of the project consists of two seven-story buildings containing 360 condominiums and approximately 6,400 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Designed by AC Martin Partners, the project features 23 townhouse units, in addition to standard residential amenities such as an outdoor pool and an on-site gym.  Residents will be served by a 382-car garage, with vehicular ingress and egress provided via an alley way at the center of the project site.  Automobile accommodations will be supplemented by 403 bicycle parking spaces.  This section of Pico Boulevard, currently surrounded by surface parking lots and nondescript commercial buildings, is poised for significant changes in the near future.  Besides Mack Urban's low-rise project, similar mixed-use developments are in the works from Jade Enterprises, the Wolff Company, and 4D Development.

Astani's Latest Westlake Mixed-User Revealed

Image Credit: Astani Enterprises

The resurgent Westlake neighborhood is about to get another influx of market rate units, this time courtesy of Sonny Astani.  As reported by the Downtown News, the Beverly Hills-based developer plans to start construction later this year on Valencia, a mixed-use development to be located at 1501 Wilshire Boulevard.  Designed by Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects, the six-story building will contain 218 apartment units, 18 of which shall be reserved for low income households.  The project will also feature 4,400 square feet of street level retail and a 253-car garage.  Valencia utilized the city's bicycle parking ordinance to receive a 10% reduction in the required number of vehicle parking spaces.  The $60 million development will require the demolition of several low-rise commercial structures that currently occupy the 1.5 acre parcel at Wilshire and Valencia Avenue.

Astani's project arrives as the long neglected Westlake neighborhood is witnessing a revival of construction activity at all ends of the specturm.  One block east of Valencia, Good Samaritan Hospital is currently in the midst of an $80 million expansion project.  North of the hospital, Holland Partners intends to break ground this year on a 648-unit development at the corner of Bixel Street and Lucas Avenue.  The Seattle-based company also completed a 210-unit building at 1111 Wilshire Boulevard in early 2013.  Further west, Metro and developer McCormack Baron Salazar are planning the second phase of an affordable housing project on the land above Westlake/MacArthur Park Station.

Friday, April 18, 2014

LA's First Dream Hotel Finally Starts Work

According to a March report from Gray Construction, LA-based developer Five Chairs has broken ground on their long stalled hotel project near the intersection of Selma Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard.  As a few keen observers have noticed, the shabby two-story parking structure which previously stood at 6417 Selma Avenue was quietly demolished earlier this year.  In its place will rise the Dream Hollywood Hotel, containing 182 guest rooms above street level commercial space.  Designed by Santa Monica's Killefer Flammang Architects, the 10-story Dream Hollywood will stand 125 feet tall, similar in height to many nearby historic structures.  The mid-rise building will feature a rooftop restaurant, banquet space, and a two-level parking garage.  An alley way on the eastern side of the project site will be transformed into a "lively outdoor dining and retail street."  The $45 million project will be the first West Coast location for the trendy Dream Hotel chain, a Wyndham brand based out of New York.  Last months' groundbreaking marks the end to six years of arrested development for Five Chairs, which first received approvals for a slightly smaller hotel project at the same location in 2008.  The report from Gray Construction indicates that work on the Dream Hollywood is expected to be complete in September 2015.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shiny New Renderings of the City Market Mega-Development

Take a look at the latest renderings for City Market, the Fashion District mega-development which proposes to transform a century-old produce market into a 10-acre mixed-use campus.  Comprised of 14 development sites roughly bounded by 9th, 12th, San Julian and San Pedro Streets, City Market would create more than 1.9 million square feet of programmed space.  Designed by HansonLA, plans call for 945 units of new housing, a 210-room business class hotel, and 225,000 square feet of ground level retail and restaurant space.  On the southern end of the project site, ground-up construction and the adaptive re-use of existing buildings would create nearly 300,000 square feet of office space.  Known as "City Market South," this segment of the development would be a "symbiotic mixture of creative office, unique food and beverage, and destination retail."  Renderings from HansonLA portray a cluster of re-purposed warehouse buildings centered around a pedestrian friendly central courtyard (see below).  The northern end of the project site would feature a mid-rise urban campus for one or more creative arts colleges, providing space for over 1,400 students.

Studio City Office Building Going Residential

Adaptive the Valley?  Apparently so.  According to an environmental notice published by LADCP last week, the mid-century office building at the southwest corner of Riverside Drive and Lankershim Boulevard is going condo.  Plans from the Sterling Real Estate Group call for converting the seven-story structure into 56 residential units and just over 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.  The condo development would provide parking for 163 vehicles in an existing surface lot.  Plans drawn up by Killefer Flammang Architects in 2007 dubbed the project "Riverside Village." Those designs featured windows shaded by solar panels, a 7th floor mezzanine, and an 8th floor penthouse.  However, last week's environmental notice indicates that some of those elements may no longer be part of the project.  Located at 10850 Riverside Drive, the project is situated midway between two Metro Red Line Stations and adjacent to the 134 freeway.  Perhaps walkable North Hollywood is starting to extend its footprint south.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

G12 Preparing to Start Work

It must be a nice time to own a business that rents temporary construction fencing.  Last week, a couple of Downtown parking lots were closed off, making way for new mixed-use projects on 9th Street and Olympic Boulevard.  We can now add a third surface lot to that tally, as the phase one site of South Park's G12 development is now fenced off in preparation for construction.  Designed by locally-based TCA Architects, phase one will rise seven stories at the southeast corner of 12th Street and Grand Avenue. The low-rise building is being developed by a partnership between the Wolff Company and Sonny Astani, and will contain 347 apartments above 18,500 square feet of ground floor retail space.  G12 will offer its residents 24-hour concierge and valet service, in addition to standard amenities such as a pool and a fitness room.  The project has gained some praise for its relative lack of automobile parking (at least by LA standards), as well as its ample bicycle accommodations.  Although the project's current surroundings are a mixture of parking lots and forgettable one-story buildings, this section of South Park is slated for explosive growth in the immediate future.  A second phase of G12 is planned for an adjacent parking lot, although a timeline for that half of the project has yet to be announced.  Developer Mack Urban also intends to construct multiple residential and hotel towers nearby, the first of which could break ground late this year.

Monday, April 14, 2014

LOHA-Designed Apartments to Rise Near Dominguez-Wilshire Building

One of the Miracle Mile's greatest architectural gems is about to get a contemporary next-door neighbor.  New York-based Carnegie Hill Properties, owner of the historic Dominguez-Wilshire Building, plans to construct an apartment community adjacent to the pre-war office structure. Located at 727 South Cloverdale Avenue, the new building will rise four stories and contain 42 residential units.  Designed by LA-based Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects, the project received rave reviews from members of the Miracle Mile Neighborhood Association.  As reported by the Park La Brea News, the building's cast stone facade will feature a "strong vertical element," that complements the architecture of its art deco neighbor.  The apartments will sit above a four-level underground garage, which would serve both residents and commercial tenants in the Dominguez-Wilshire Building.  An eerily similar development is currently underway one block west, where Associated Estates Realty Group is building 175 apartments on the former parking lot of Desmond's Tower.  Surface parking lots are somehow becoming an endangered species on the auto-dominated Miracle Mile.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Three Story Mixed-User Breaks Ground in Venice

At long last, Building Los Angeles' first foray into Venice.  According to an e-mail tipster, excavation recently commenced on the vacant parcel at the southeast corner of Rose and Rennie Avenues.  A quick perusal of LADCP records indicates that this lot, located at 542 E. Rose Avenue, is the future home of a (very) small mixed-use development.  According to a 2011 presentation given to the GRVNC, a group of three Venice residents are planning for a low-rise structure that would contain just two condominium units above a ground floor restaurants.  Designed by the Reed Architectural Group, the new building will rise three stories and feature exterior materials such as smooth trowel plaster, brick veneer, exposed concrete and metal paneling.  The firm previously designed a similarly petite mixed-user a few blocks east on Rose Avenue in 2010.  Their new project will rise across the street from "The Frank," a 70-unit apartment building opened by Gerdling Edlen in 2012.  All things considered, 542 Rose Avenue is an attractive project that fits in well with the scale and aesthetics of the Venice neighborhood.  It should make a positive contribution without ruffling any feathers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Miracle Mile Apartments Gradually Moving Forward

Last September, Ohio-based Associated Estates Realty Group broke ground on a 175-unit apartment building adjacent to Desmond's Tower on the Miracle Mile.  Now eight months later, construction crews are busy with excavation for the building's subterranean infrastructure.  Designed by Architects Orange, the Desmond on Wilshire will rise seven stories above three floors of underground parking.  The building will consist of one and two bedroom units, supplemented by residential amenities such as a pool, spa, fitness center and rooftop deck.  Last year, representatives of Associated Estates told the Park La Brea News that their $70 million project is expected to open in Summer 2015.  The Desmond on Wilshire is located just a few blocks west of BRE Properties' Wilshire La Brea, a 480-unit development whose architecture has engendered a great deal of humorous criticism from Skyscraperpage forumers and commenters onCurbed LA.  Of course, as the long-awaited Purple Line extension comes closer to reality, more residential developments like these are inevitable on the Miracle Mile.  Add in a new office tower and nearly $1 billion of proposed upgrades for LACMA and we're looking at a legitimate boom.

Construction progress as of this week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Phase II of South Park's Massive G12 Development Revealed

Image from the Wolff Company

With the first half of the bike-friendly G12 development scheduled to begin construction later this year, it's time to take a look at 12th & Olive, the second phase of the $245 million project.  Replacing the current surface parking lot at 1243 Olive Street, the new building will rise seven stories, containing 293 apartment units above 17,300 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space.  Phase two includes 7,000 square feet of residential amenities, with the added bonus of 24/7 on-site concierge and valet service.  Like seemingly every other low-rise development sprouting up in Downtown these days, the project was designed by TCA Architects.  Not coincidentally, 12th & Olive bears a strong resemblance to its phase one counterpart.  Owned by the Arizona-based Wolff Company, G12 arrives as the South Park neighborhood is on the cusp of a sea change.  Nearby on Pico Boulevard, Jade Enterprise's Onyx development is planned for two surface parking lots on the path of Metro's Blue and Expo Lines.  North on Grand Avenue, developer Mack Urban proposes multiple high-rise residential and hotel towers adjacent to the AT&T Center.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Playa Vista's Mixed-Use Runway Filling Out

If you had stopped by the sprawling Playa Vista campus in early 2013, you would have been greeted with acres upon acres of empty land.  One year later, you can't miss the obvious signs of construction stretching east from the Ballona Wetlands.  With steel beams and concrete pillars now protruding above Jefferson Boulevard, Lincoln Property Company's Runway is scheduled to open in late 2014.  With a $260 million budget, the mixed-use development will create 420 apartment units, 35,000 square feet of office space, and 221,000 square feet of pedestrian-oriented retail.  A wide range of big name retailers have already signed on as tenants at Runway, including CVS Pharmacy, Cinemark Theatres, Whole Foods Market, and Wells Fargo and Chase Banks.  The 14-acre development was designed by Downtown-based Johnson Fain, and will be centered around an iconic lantern-shaped tower.

As previously mentioned, construction is in full swing throughout the Playa Vista neighborhood.  Hundreds of for sale homes, market rate apartments and senior housing units are underway on the lots surrounding Runway.  Closer to Centinela Avenue, developer Tishman Speyer broke ground on a 200,000 square foot office development in March, with an additional 400,000 square feet still in the pipeline.   Just across the street from Runway, an adaptive re-use project at 5456 McConnell Avenue is currently transforming a low-rise office building into a new charter middle school.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1000 Grand Getting Ready For Construction

With Danny's Tacos safely relocated to the opposite side of the street, it's time to bid farewell to the beloved surface parking lot at Olympic Boulevard and Grand Avenue.  The arrival of construction fencing signals the start of work on the Hanover Company's latest South Park development.  Set to rise seven stories, 1000 Grand Avenue will create 274 apartment units above 12,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  Designed by TCA Architects, the facade of the low-rise building will feature bricks salvaged from Myron's Ballroom, an early 20th century structure which was demolished to make way for the new development.  1000 Grand is one of three South Park projects currently in the works from the Hanover Company, all of which are located along Olympic Boulevard.  The Houston-based developer currently has a 281-unit apartment building under construction at the corner of Olympic and Hill Street, with plans for a 263-unit development on an adjacent parking lot.  Like 1000 Grand, both projects were designed by TCA Architects.  The Miami-based Lennar Corporation has also entered the mix, planning to break ground on a 201-unit building at Olympic and Olive Street later this year.  Further east, local developers Geoff Palmer and Barry Shy have plans for mid-rise and high-rise buildings at Olympic's  intersection with Broadway.  While this stretch of Olympic Boulevard is currently a pedestrian dead zone, it looks like that may not be the case for much longer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NMS@Culver City Making Slow, Steady Progress

Across the street from the Kirk Douglas Theater, the $63 million NMS@Culver City is still chugging along.  Designed by Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects, the finished product will stand six stories, containing 131 apartment units above 12,500 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space.  Previous reports indicated that the project was expected to open this Spring.  As the calendar clearly indicates, that's probably not happening.  Located less than one mile south of Culver City Station, NMS' project is one of three spurred into action by the 2012 return of rail service to the Westside.  Across the street from the station itself, mixed-use developments are currently underway from both the Runyon Group and Greystar Real Estate Partners.  A third project is proposed by Lowe Enterprises for the southwest corner of Washington and National Boulevards, currently the location of Culver City Station's park-and-ride lot.  Closer to the NMS development, plans are also in the works for an art deco inspired apartment building at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sares-Regis Group's Little Tokyo Apartments Back in Motion

After a brief lull to start the year, construction is once again moving forward on the Sares-Regis Group's Little Tokyo Apartments.  A red construction crane has been raised high above the intersection of 2nd and San Pedro Streets, while a caravan of cement trucks helps to lay the foundation for the future $100 million development.  Set to rise seven stories, the TCA Architects-designed project will create 240 apartment homes above 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space.  Residential amenities will include a swimming pool, spa, fitness center, rooftop deck and a three-level underground parking garage.  Sares-Regis' project joins a similar 280-unit development from Avalon Bay, currently wrapping up construction next door.  The two projects represent the final build out of Little Tokyo's Block 8 redevelopment, which has successfully transformed what was once a six-acre parking lot into a trio of mixed-use complexes.  Both developments are also slated to gain a mid-rise neighbor in the near future, as the Malibu-based Weintraub Real Estate Group has plans for nine-story apartment building adjacent to the Cathedral of St. Vibiana.  Slowly but surely, the dividing line between Little Tokyo and the Historic Core is starting to blur.