Friday, October 31, 2014

New Sony Studios Office Building Gets its Skin

Roughly half-a-year after breaking ground, a minor expansion project is wrapping up exterior work on the Sony Picture Studios lot (SPS).  The new Studio Support Building, located near the Sony complex's Mentone Avenue gate, will contain approximately 23,000 square feet of production and office space within its four-story frame.  Exterior materials appears to consist primarily of earth tone stucco, broken up by misaligned windows.

More grandiose expansion plans are also in the works for other parts of the SPS lot.  Over the summer, the studio filed plans with Culver City for a new eight-story, 218,000 square foot office building.  The mid-rise structure would replace a current parking lot adjacent to SPS's main entrance on Overland Avenue.

On the south side of campus, the studio proposes a new 52,000 square foot production facility.  The low-rise edifice would replace a series of nondescript structures adjacent to the aforementioned Studio Support Building.

To accommodate the new office and production space, SPS also proposees a commensurate expansion of its Culver Boulevard parking garage.  Plans call for the six-story structure to be widened on its eastern and western sides, while its rooftop level would be extended to cover the full footprint of the garage.  Altogether, the proposal would yield a net increase of over 1,300 parking stalls.  Some preliminary work for this portion of the project appears to have already started, with heavy equipment and protective fencing now on-site at SPS's Culver Boulevard gate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UCLA Medical School Expansion Takes Form

Photo credit: Daniel Castro

More than one year after breaking ground at Tiverton Drive and Le Conte Avenue, UCLA's new Teaching and Learning Center for Health Sciences is finally climbing upwards.  The $120 million facility, funded with a combination of cash reserves and philanthropic donations, constitutes a 110,000 square foot expansion of the David Geffen School of Medicine.

The low-rise structure, designed by architectural giant Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will consolidate a significant portion of the medical school's classroom space, which is currently dispersed in eleven outdated buildings.  Renderings portray a six-story building, clad with glass and red brick, which shall serve as a new southern gateway to the UCLA campus.

When completed in 2016, the TLC will incorporate technology-enabled classrooms, a clinical skills training center, flexible teaching labs, administrative offices and student gathering space.  The university is seeking LEED-Gold certification for the facility.

Photo credit: SOM

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Low-Rise Residential Pops Up on Santa Monica Boulevard

According to a set of pictures sent in by e-mail tipster Daniel, construction is nearing completion on a the Century Park Apartments, a new multi-family complex on the southern fringe of Westwood.  The five-story building, located at 10475 Santa Monica Boulevard, will contain a total of 24 rental units above a two-level, partially underground parking garage.  Future residents will live in close proximity to a variety of major employment nodes and entertainment districts.  Century City's skyline looms just a few blocks east, while the commercial hub of Wilshire Boulevard lies approximately one mile north.

The low-rise development was designed by West Los Angeles-based Plus Architecture, and features an exterior consisting mostly of plaster and glass, accented by yellow-colored elements on upper levels.  The firm's previous work includes the 2900, a 48-unit mixed-use development on Sepulveda Boulevard, and the Palms, an Art Deco-inspired apartment complex planned across the street from Sony Picture Studios.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Big Century City/Beverly Hills Developments Get Moving

Your eyes do not deceive you: construction cranes have returned to Century City.  10000 Santa Monica Boulevard, a $300 million residential tower by developer Crescent Heights, is about to begin the two-year climb to its eventual 40-story apex.

When completed in 2016, the project will offer 283 luxury apartments along the border between West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.  Units will range in size from one-to-three-bedrooms, and are being built to condo specifications in the event of an uptick in the local for-sale market.

Designs from New York-based Handel Architects call for the building to have a shimmering glass exterior.  Jagged angles and a sloping roofline will give the tower a unique presence within Century City's otherwise staid, modernist skyline.  With a 483-foot height profile, 10000 Santa Monica is currently the second tallest building under construction in Los Angeles, following the monumental Wilshire Grand hotel and office development.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Steel Sprouts for Hollywood's Dream Hotel

Six months after starting construction at 6417 Selma Avenue, rebar and steel beams now protrude above ground at the future site of Hollywood's Dream Hotel.  The approximately $50 million project from developer Five Chairs will offer 182 guest rooms, located within easy walking distance of major tourist destinations along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

Designs from Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects call for a 10-story structure, clad with glass and metal sidings.  The mid-rise building will feature several ancillary uses, including a banquet room, rooftop deck, and multiple food and beverage venues.  A vehicular alley way which abuts the hotel site is to be repurposed as patio dining for several of the hotel's restaurants.

The Dream Hollywood - scheduled for completion in late 2015 - is the first of several hospitality projects slated for the blocks located southwest of Hollywood/Vine Station.  Back in July, new hotel proposals emerged on both Hollywood and Cahuenga Boulevards.  Earlier this month, plans were filed for a 12-story inn on Wilcox Avenue.  Further down the pipeline, developer R.D. Olson may construct a fifth project on a Sunset Boulevard property currently occupied by a Jack in the Box restaurant.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Details Emerge for Coca-Cola Building's Mixed-Use Conversion

The rapid evolution of the Arts District continues to pick up steam, with yet another adaptive reuse project on the way.  Earlier this year, a subsidiary of the New York-based Atlas Capital Group purchased Coca-Cola's former West Coast headquarters, with the intention of converting it into a mixed-use development.  Now, an initial study published by the Department of City Planning has shed light on what's to come.

Per the new environmental document, the three-story edifice at 963 E. 4th Street will feature a combination of office, retail and restaurant uses.  Upper floors in the former warehouse will become approximately 78,000 square feet of creative office space.  This will give the Coca-Cola facility roughly the same footprint as South Park's Desmond Building, a similar adaptive reuse project which was recently leased by Convention Center overlord AEG.

At ground level, the Coca-Cola building will feature 25,000 square feet of  retail and 20,000 square feet of restaurant uses.  The restaurant space will be split between two different eateries, with total seating for slightly over 300 patrons and operations between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m.

These combined uses are anticipated to generate up to 1,000 daily car trips, thus spawning the final aspect of the project: a 306-vehicle garage.  The seven-story structure will rise from an existing surface parking lot, located immediately east of the Coca-Cola building.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Small Lot Subdivision Proposed in Hollywood

The Studio District Homes on Gordon Street (Image: Modative)

While a NIMBY attorney wages war against high-rise construction on Sunset Boulevard, density of a lesser variety flies under the radar just a few blocks south.  According to a presentation from the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council, a new small lot subdivision is in the works at 1238-1242 Gordon Street, an approximately quarter-acre property between Fountain and Lexington Avenues.

The project - known as the Studio District Homes on Gordon Street - is being designed by Mid-City-based architecture firm Modative.  Plans call for the construction of 10 single-family residences, located within matching three-story structures.  Each individual home would span approximately 1,500 square feet, containing three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.  Additionally, all units would feature a private outdoor roof deck and two dedicated parking spaces.

Construction of the Studio District Homes will first require the demolition of two existing structures, one of which is a century-old bungalow.  However, an exact timeline for the project is currently unclear.  At the time of publication, the Department of Building and Safety had yet to issue new permits of any sort for the properties at 1238-1242 Gordon Street.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Affordable Housing Headed to Wilmington

Planning is underway for the fourth and final phase of the New Dana Strand Village, a 20-acre affordable housing project from nonprofit developers Mercy Housing California and Abode Communities.  The initial three phases of the development opened between 2006 and 2012, replacing a decaying residential complex in Wilmington with a mix of 336 townhouses, one-bedroom apartments and senior-reserved units.  Design work is being handled by Van Tilburg, Banyard & Soderbergh, in collaboration with in-house talent at Abode Communities.

The final build-out of the New Dana Strand Village focuses on eight vacant parcels, located along Wilmington Boulevard, Hawaiian Avenue and West C Street.  The project's case filing with the Department of City Planning calls for a total of 176 residential units, to be constructed in two sub-phases designated IV-A and IV-B.  Both sub-phases would consist of four distinct properties, divided by West D Street.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mixed-Use Upgrade for Venice Boulevard

Palms's shabby three-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard is flanked by an assortment of strip malls and drive-thru restaurants.  Perhaps a new mixed-use development will finally begin the process of converting the auto-centric corridor into a more liveable environment.

Earlier this month, plans were filed with LADCP for a residential-retail complex at 10300 Venice Boulevard.  City records indicate that the low-rise structure would vary from four to five stories in height, containing 34 residential units above 2,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.  The proposed multi-family complex has requested a density bonus from the city, which implies the inclusion of affordable units within the building.

The approximately quarter-acre development site, located between Goldwyn Terrace and Vinton Avenue, is currently improved with a series of one-story duplexes.  It is one of several nearby properties in Palms which have recently been targeted for development.  Three blocks east, an 86-unit apartment building is planned on Dunn Drive.  Roughly four blocks west, a 126-unit mixed-use complex is in the works for Overland Avenue.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Miracle Mile Office Project Gets a Haircut

Museum Square Phase II, as designed by the Jerde Partnership (Image:

Plans for a new mid-rise office building are still forging ahead on the Miracle Mile, albeit now in slightly truncated form.  This coming Thursday, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission is scheduled to review phase two of Museum Square, a 7.5-acre office and retail complex located at 5757 Wilshire Boulevard.  The proposed expansion calls for the construction of a new 13-story tower, which would add 250,000 square feet of Class-A office space on a current parking lot at 620 S. Curson Avenue.

However, it appears that some minor changes have occurred since we last heard from the project.  According to an agenda for the upcoming meeting of the City Planning Commission, Snyder has scaled down the proposed building's height to approximately 173 feet.  Earlier designs from the Jerde Partnership featured a 207-foot tall structure, thanks to generous 14-foot ceilings.

Other aspects of the Museum Square expansion have also decreased in scale.  The original plan called for new levels atop an existing five-story parking structure, augmenting its total capacity to 2,040 vehicles.  Although the project will still entail the addition of two floors to the garage, total parking accommodations will expand to just 1,843 vehicle stalls.  The Museum Square complex will eventually be easily accessible via Metro Rail, with a location midway between future Purple Line stations at Fairfax and La Brea Avenues.

Although an exact timeline for the office tower has not been revealed, a report from this past March indicated that Snyder was in negotiations with two specialty tenants, both of whom wished to lease the entire building.  That prospective tenant would then commission its own architect to redesign the tower to best suit its needs.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shiny New Renderings for Fig South

Next week, the DLANC's Planning and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take a closer look at Fig South, the glassy high-rise project slated for the (other) parking lot across the street from Staples Center.  The twin 36-story towers are being designed by architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux; artistic renderings depict glassy, elliptical shaped buildings with swooping rooflines.  Both towers would rise 400 feet above street level, the maximum height allowed for the property at 1200 S. Figueroa street.  Altogether the project comprises 648 condominium units, situated above 48,000 square feet of sports-themed retail and restaurant space. 

Designs for Fig South feature a prominent 100-foot tall podium, containing 1,770 parking spaces on seven above-grade and two below-grade levels.  Renderings portray a landscaped outdoor deck atop the podium, offering amenities such as a swimming pool, fitness room, and barbeque pit.  Additional open space would be included within each tower, specifically in the form of two rooftop terraces.

First Look at the Redesigned Figueroa Central

Earlier this month, puzzling news emerged from Downtown Los Angeles.  Figueroa Central, the long awaited mixed-use companion to LA Live, was simultaneously upsized and downsized.  Revised plans from Oceanwide Real Estate Group added a third tower to the development, but also featured less than half of the 1,200 residential units permitted under the original project.  Now, a document from the DLANC's Planning and Land Use Committee is here to answer all of your burning questions.

Despite a significant reduction to Figueroa Central's proposed residential density, new designs from RTKL actually call for taller buildings than in the original proposal.  The largest of the three buildings - referred to as the North Tower - would rise 49 stories from the intersection of 11th and Flower Streets.  The 677-foot tall structure would contain 164 residential units, a 183-room hotel, and various ancillary uses.

Moving south through the project site, designs call for twin 40-story buildings, each with an architectural apex 530 feet above street level.  The Middle and South Towers would comprise the bulk of Figueroa Central's residential component, each containing 170 dwellings.  Units would average 1,620 square feet in size, ranging from 1,000 square foot one-bedroom units to 6,000 square foot penthouse units.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Proposed K-Town High-Rise Still Plodding Along

Long-standing plans for a 27-story residential tower in Koreatown continue to plod forward, with the release of the project's initial study by the Department of City Planning.  The proposed Catalina Apartments would rise from a 1.5-acre site at the corner of 8th and Catalina Streets, replacing a small cluster of low-rise buildings.

Designs from Oakes Architects call for an approximately 300 foot tall structure, offering 269 apartments (studio, one and two-bedroom units) and 7,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Residential units would be served by a total of 562 parking spaces, contained within a podium garage.  Proposed amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool, and rooftop deck.

The mixed-use development is planned by Colony Holdings, a Beverly Hills-based limited liability corporation.  At first glance, their project would seem to fit in well with the surrounding neighborhood.  The eastern stretch of Koreatown has recently seen the arrival of several large residential complexes, including the 476-unit K2LA apartments and the skyline-altering Vermont Towers.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Woodland Hills Post Office May Go Bye-Bye

The slow death of snail mail may soon bring about the birth of a new multi-family housing development in the West Valley.  According to a document from the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council, AMCAL Multi Housing Company intends to demolish the Woodland Hills Post Office to make way for an apartment complex.  The proposed development would rise from an approximately 3.6-acre site at 22121 Clarendon Street, located immediately south of the 101 Freeway.  However, even the most basic details about the project not been revealed at this point in time.

Although AMCAL has not previously ventured into Woodland Hills, the Texas-based developer is no stranger to other parts of Southern California.  Their previous work includes the Gold Line-adjacent Avenue 26 TOD in Lincoln Heights and the Red Line-adjacent Argyle Apartments in East Hollywood.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Playa Vista Spec Office Complex Takes Form

Seven months after breaking ground in Playa Vista, construction is going vertical for the Collective, an $80 million office complex from developer Tishman Speyer.  The speculative development, designed by local architect Joey Shimoda, will create approximately 204,000 square feet of office space within a series of two-story structures.

Each of the Collective's five buildings are designed to emanate an "inviting yet industrial feel," with an open floor plan and exposed double-height ceilings.  Building materials are further in line with this warm, industrial look.  Interiors will feature wood flooring, steel columns and floor-to-ceiling windows.  Exteriors will be clad with precast concrete and wood paneling.

The 6.3-acre campus will feature a series of private garden patios, designed by landscape architect James Burnett.  These small pockets of green space will include a welcome court, event lawn, shared courtyards and gravel seating areas.

Recent growth in the Southern California office market may bode well for Tishman Speyer's speculative development.  With limited options remaining in creative hotspots such as Venice and Santa Monica, many businesses in the media, technology and entertainment fields have turned south to Playa Vista.  Consequently, the neighborhood's office vacancy rate now stands at 24.8%, a marked improvement from the previous year's 40% figure.

Image credit: Tishman Speyer

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another Mid-Rise Hotel Planned for Hollywood

In Hollywood, new hotel developments are suddenly spreading like wildfire.  Back in July, rumblings emerged of a new 55-room boutique establishment setting up shop on Cahuenga Boulevard, in-between Sunset Boulevard and Selma Avenue.  Now, it appears that a significantly larger project is slated for a half-acre site one block west.

According to a case filing published last week by the Department of City Planning, a mid-rise hotel tower is planned at 1523 Wilcox Avenue.  The proposed building would stand 12 stories, featuring an unspecified number of guest rooms, ancillary space and a penthouse.  Construction of the new hotel would first require the demolition of a low-rise commercial structure which currently stands upon the development site.

The project would be located midway between tourist-heavy Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, in a neighborhood which has experienced a noticeable increase investment during the past several years.  North on Selma Avenue, construction is underway on the 10-story, 182-room Dream Hollywood.  Approximately three blocks west, a similar hotel development is planned at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Cherokee Avenue.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Excavation Underway for Expo-Adjacent Hotels

Santa Monica's future Courtyard by Marriott

Although the proposed Bergamot Transit Village went belly-up this past summer, other Expo-adjacent TODs are having better luck in Downtown Santa Monica.  Case in point: excavation is in full swing at the intersection of 5th Street and Colorado Avenue, the future site of two "limited-service," hotels from OTO Development.  The six-story structures, both designed by Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, are scheduled to open concurrently with the Expo Line in Spring 2016.

The first of the two hotels, a Coutyard by Marriott, will feature 136 guest rooms and approximately 3,500 square feet of street-level restaurant space.  The second, to be operated by Hampton Inn & Suites, will offer 143 guest rooms and roughly 1,900 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Both hotels will include a full array of guest amenities, including fitness centers, meeting rooms, and outdoor pool decks.

Due to their location across the street from the eventual Expo Line terminus, OTO's hotels will serve as anchors for the Colorado Esplanade, a major streetscape upgrade planned by the City of Santa Monica.  Designs for the two buildings embrace this prominent role, utilizing strong, "tower-like," elements to create a visual gateway to the city at 5th Street.

For real-time updates on the hotels, please check out Downtown Santa Monica Station's blurry construction camera.

Courtyard by Marriott, rendered (Image credit: OTO Development)

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Low-Rise Action in the Arts District

1800 East 7th Street (Image credit: HansonLA via The Architect's Newspaper)

In an excellent summary of the Arts District's ongoing identity issues, the Architect's Newspaper has quietly revealed plans for the neighborhood's newest mixed-use complex.  The proposed development, a 122-unit residential building, would rise seven stories from a current parking lot at 1800 E. 7th Street.  The building's exterior would be clad in lightweight concrete panels, accentuated by a "sculptural glass corner."  An artist's rendering of the project, which is being designed by local architecture firm HansonLA, portrays the building with ground-level commercial space at the corner of 7th and Decatur Streets. 

Plans for the residential complex are emerging as Arts District stakeholders grapple with the rapid changes sweeping through the community.  Trendy restaurants and coffee shops have made the neighborhood a regional destination, but this increased recognition has been accompanied by an increased demand for housing.  However, rather than accept an uninhibited building spree, residents and business owners have instead taken an active role in shaping the designs and content of new construction.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Koreatown Development Wave Spreading South

A half-block of modest apartment buildings and strip malls on Koreatown's southern fringe may have a date with the grim reaper.  According to plans submitted to the city in late September, a 1.6-acre site at 3076 W. Olympic Boulevard is slated for demolition, to be replaced by a low-rise residential-retail complex.  The mixed-use development, which would rise between Kingsley Drive and Ardmore Avenue, calls for a four-story structure featuring 226 residential units, ground-floor commercial space, and a two-level subterranean parking garage.

The project, still in the early stages of the city's cumbersome approval process, will require at least one zoning variance to be built in its proposed form.  3076 Olympic could be considered a southern expansion of Koreatown's recent development wave, which has up until now consisted of low-rise apartment complexes near Wilshire Boulevard.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Moving HQ to Pico Union

LAFLA's proposed headquarters, viewed from the corner of 8th Street and Union Avenue.

According to an initial study recently published by the Department of City Planning, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) is about to embark on a complete rebuild of its modest Pico Union office.  Contingent on city approvals, plans call for the forgettable low-rise building at 1550 W. 8th Street to be demolished.  In its place, LAFLA would construct a four-story structure, containing approximately 34,000 square feet of office space and a 33-car parking garage.  In addition, the building would feature more than 9,000 square feet of private open space, consisting mostly of terraces and balconies on upper floors.

The rebuilt Pico Union office - more than quadruple the size of the existing two-story facility - would become LAFLA's new headquarters, absorbing all operations currently housed on Crenshaw Boulevard.  Planning documents describe the new headquarters as "modern, efficient and client-friendly."  Its central location, in close proximity to densely-populated neighborhoods such as Westlake and Koreatown, will facilitate LAFLA's mission to provide quality legal services to impoverished families and individuals.

Pomona College's Gorgeous Studio Art Hall to Open Saturday

Image credit: Pomona College

Head out to Claremont this Saturday, October 11th, as Pomona College officially dedicates its stunning new Studio Art Hall.  The 35,000 square foot facility, constructed for approximately $29 million, will house multiple studios, student galleries, and the offices of the Pomona College Art Department.

Designed by the award-winning Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, the two-story edifice is highlighted by a soaring wood-beam roofline which mimics the slopes of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains.  The Studio Art Hall is based on a village model, with a layout that is structured to maximize interactions between students, faculty and staff as they move through studios and public space.  Floor-to-ceiling glass walls further emphasize this transparent, collaborative atmosphere, while also providing the building's interior with natural light and panoramic views of the surrounding campus.

This Saturday's event will be curated by Mark Allen, founder of Machine Project and fhair of the Pomona College Art Department.  Festivities will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the formal dedication of the Studio Art Hall at 370 North Columbia Avenue in Claremont.  Afterwards, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of live events.  Listen to Georgian polyphonic singing in the glow of a darkroom safelight.  Explore a Minecraft version of the new building.  For more information on the upcoming celebration, please visit the Pomona College website.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Del Rey Getting Two Low-Rise Apartment Complexes

11811 Culver Boulevard (Image: Lido Equities Group)

Take a quick trip out to the oft-forgotten Del Rey neighborhood, where the Beverly Hills-based Lido Equities Group is working on plans for a pair of low-rise apartment complexes.  The first of the two developments, a five-story building designed by Shubin + Donaldson Architects, will replace a cluster of mid-century buildings at 11811 Culver Boulevard.  Each of the project's 27 loft-style apartments will come complete with concrete floors, designer finishes, and private balconies.  Communal amenities will include a fitness center, entertainment lounge, and a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the cityscape.

According to a page on the Lido Equities Group website, 11811 Culver is slated to open its doors in Spring 2015.  However, recent events could delay that ambitious timeline.  Although LADCP has approved the project in its current form, records indicate that the Department of Building and Safety has yet to give Lido Equities the go-ahead to start construction.  At this time, 11811 Culver is also being appealed by an abutting property owner, who argues that the city erred in granting the project its density bonus.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Expo Line Bringing Zoning Changes to Westside Neighborhoods

Various developments near Expo Line Stations. Image credit: Abramson Teiger Architects, VTBS Architects, Killefer Flammang Architects, Togawa Smith Martin

A sea change is underway on the Westside, where multiple neighborhoods are reorienting themselves around phase two of the $1.5 billion Expo Line.  The 6.6-mile light rail extension, spanning between Downtown Santa Monica and Culver City, has already spurred an uptick in development activity near several station sites.  However, due to the freight railway which once traversed the Expo Line's route, many station-adjacent parcels feature zoning that is inconsistent with the walkable, mixed-use communities that the city seeks to create.  Thus, LADCP has partnered with Metro to create the Los Angeles Transit Neighborhood Plan (LATNP), a $7.5 million campaign to shape development policy around the city's newest light rail lines.  This undertaking will repurpose several blocks surrounding the Westwood/Rancho Park and Expo/Sepulveda Stations, as detailed in a document from the Westside Neighborhood Council.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Renderings Emerge for San Pedro's Mini Mixed-User

Gaffey Street Apartments; all photos from the Charles Company

A planned residential-retail complex near the southern terminus of the Harbor Freeway is moving full steam ahead, according to a recent article from the San Pedro Beacon.  West Hollywood's Charles Company, developer of the three-story building at 335 North Gaffey Street, intends to break ground on the $1.5 million project sometime during the first half of 2015.

The Gaffey Street Apartments, slated for a currently vacant lot at Gaffey's intersection with Sepulveda Boulevard, will offer 28 residential units and 4,800 square feet of ground-level retail space above a partially underground garage.  The mixed-use development began its slow march through the city approvals process this past July, and has since received unequivocal support from both of San Pedro's neighborhood councils.

Future residents may find themselves at the northern end of a much improved Gaffey Street, which has been selected as one of the first components of Mayor Eric Garcetti's Great Streets Initiative.  Planned upgrades include new plazas and parklets in the near-term future, with further landscaping, street furniture, lighting and sidewalk expansions to follow.  These enhancements are focused on existing commercial corridors, with the hope of attracting investment and restoring their surrounding neighborhoods.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

First Renderings for Hollywood/Western's Boutique Hotel

All images from AV Architecture

Take a first look at Eighty Cool Rooms, the so-called "European Style Luxury Boutique Hotel," that intends to set up shop down the street from the Hollywood/Western subway station.  The aptly-named development would consist of 80 guest rooms and 867 square feet of restaurant space, rising in a six-story structure designed by Westwood-based Atelier V Architecture.  Guest amenities would include an outdoor deck on the low-rise building's second level, offering both a fire pit and a swimming pool.  The hotel would occupy the address of 5600 Hollywood Boulevard, currently a vacant lot.

The project exemplifies one of the many contradictions in Los Angeles' zoning code, a 600+ page document which has developed ad hoc over nearly seven decades.  Eighty Cool Rooms would sit within walking distance of the Metro Red Line, where the city has endeavored to promote higher density development.  However, the project site would also lie within the Vermont/Western specific plan, which explicitly restricts all new hotels to lower densities.  These mixed-messages give the hotel project a somewhat unclear path forward, since a building with a less-than-ideal room count would not make financial sense for the developer.  Expect a "long drawn out process," ahead of us, with construction not expected to begin until at least mid-2016.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fig Central Revises Plans, Adds Third Tower

In early September, rumblings from the Department of Building and Safety hinted that the stalled Fig Central development was about to become much more active.  Now, a recent case filing from the Department of City Planning has revealed developer Oceanwide Real Estate Group's updated vision for the mixed-use complex.

The revised proposal for Fig Central plans for three high-rise towers, containing 504 residential units, 183 hotel rooms, and nearly 170,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Those figures are reduced from the earlier, RTKL-designed iteration of the project, which called for two towers with 1,200 condominiums, 500-to-700 hotel rooms, and 250,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses.  However, quick detective work by Skyscraperpage forumer (and ancient historian) Flavius Josephus indicates that the overall square footage of the project will remain the same.

An exact timeline for the project - previously budgeted at $700 million - is uncertain at this point in time.  Construction will first require the removal of several existing structures at 1101 South Flower Street, including an underground bank vault that has previously been cited as a detriment to the property's potential.