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City of Angels bustles with tall-building construction.

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Grand Avenue in downtown L.A.; image courtesy of L.A. County and CORE

Biggest Construction Boom Since 1920s Underway

Metropolis, a megaproject with four towers; Wilshire Grand (the West Coast’s tallest building) and Circa, a pair of 35-story luxury apartment towers: all are part of the largest construction boom downtown Los Angeles has seen since the 1920s, when 155 projects of at least 50,000 sq. ft. were completed, the L.A. Times reported. The boom includes more than 40 developments of at least 50,000 sq. ft. If it continues at its current pace, it could surpass the 1980s, which saw 64 large projects completed, notably office towers on Bunker Hill.

While Japanese investors were major players in the 1980s, this time around they are from China, with at least seven of 18 land deals made since 2014 involving Chinese investors. Although there are faint murmurs of market saturation, confidence in L.A. remains strong, as evidenced by projects such as a 33-story apartment tower by San Francisco-based Carmel Partners nearing completion at Eighth and Olive streets in South Park, its second such project for the area.

Trio of Skyscrapers Planned Across From L.A. Live

City Century, the Los Angeles subsidiary of Shanghai’s Sheng-Long Group, wants to strengthen its foothold in downtown L.A. with a trio of skyscrapers standing 43, 53 and 65 stories across from L.A. Live at 1001 W. Olympic Avenue, the Los Angeles Times reported. Olympia would have approximately 1,360 residences, with retail and dining on the lower levels. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and aimed at attracting the “emergent creative class,” the buildings’ outdoor terraces and 30th-floor pool would set it apart from the competition. City Century also has projects underway on Grand Avenue and in Koreatown. Construction permits on Olympia could be obtained within 15 months, with the project opening in approximately four years.

New Life for Gehry-Designed Downtown Project

A long-delayed Gehry Partners-designed project that includes 38-and 16-story towers in downtown Los Angeles has gotten new life with the L.A. City Council approving a new joint-venture partnership and announcing a timeline, Architect’s Newspaper reported. If all goes as planned, Grand Avenue, across from Disney Concert Hall, will break ground in 2018 and open in 2022. Jointly developed by Related Cos. and CCCG Overseas (CORE) of China, the plan includes up to 450 residences in the taller building and a 300-room hotel in the other, both atop a mixed-use podium. Also planned are 200,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 1,500 parking spaces and a large public plaza along Grand Avenue.

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