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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:12 AM   #1
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The Grand Avenue Project | 37 fl | 25 fl | 19 fl | U / C

All discussions regarding the Grand Ave project are to be posted here.





The Grand Avenue Project will transform the civic and cultural districts of downtown Los Angeles into a vibrant new regional center which will showcase entertainment venues, restaurants, and retail mixed with a hotel and up to 2600 new housing units. These new uses will add to the notable features that already exist at the top of Bunker Hill, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the Music Center, the Colburn School of Performing Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Also to be improved as part of the project is the existing County Mall, which will be transformed into a 16 acre park stretching from the Music Center at the top of Bunker Hill to City Hall at the bottom of the Hill. The park will become the new "Central Park" of Los Angeles and will be the scene of many citywide celebrations as well as daily events.

The total estimated cost of the project is $2.05 billion, which includes up to 3.6 million square feet of development, the creation of the new park, streetscape improvements as well as outdoor public spaces throughout the development. The public amenities will be funded by private sources and by public funds generated by the project. The project will create 29,000 construction jobs (both on and off-site), 5,900 long-term jobs and will generate over $35.6 million annually in local, county and state taxes.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:15 AM   #2
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Very good 300, know we can have this forum in order.......

Do we have any updates on Gehry's Signature Tower yet?
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Old January 31st, 2007, 07:05 AM   #3
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I wouldn't expect any major news regarding Grand Ave until summer.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 07:53 AM   #4
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If they're taking this long on the project maybe they're really pulling it off! Someone should sneak into Gehry's studio to check out plans!
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Old January 31st, 2007, 08:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
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If they're taking this long on the project maybe they're really pulling it off! Someone should sneak into Gehry's studio to check out plans!
Gehry has a habit of taking his sweet time designing buildings. Plus he has a few projects in the US he's making.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 09:38 PM   #6
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Like Disney Hall, 1988-2003
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Old February 1st, 2007, 10:06 PM   #7
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Here is some news from the LA Times today..


Redevelopment agency to vote on the Grand Avenue project
Questions about tax breaks for the $2-billion downtown complex are still unanswered.
By Jeffrey L. Rabin and Cara Mia DiMassa, Times Staff Writers
February 1, 2007

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The plan to transform a stretch of downtown's Grand Avenue into a Frank Gehry-designed cultural and retail hub is expected to clear another major hurdle today, although key questions about public financial support for the development remain unresolved.

The city hasn't decided yet whether to grant Grand Avenue the estimated $40 million in parking and hotel tax breaks that developers say are crucial to building the project near the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Los Angeles City Council to decide whether to approve the tax breaks, a vote expected to come later this month. In the meantime, the Community Redevelopment Agency is to vote on the deal today — the latest in a series of government approvals the project needs.

The revitalization of Grand Avenue is the vision of philanthropist Eli Broad, who two years ago vowed that it would be accomplished "without using one dollar of general fund money from the city or the county."

The $2-billion high-rise project of cultural, retail, residential and business use is a privately financed venture rising on public land — meaning that it inevitably joined public and private interests.

A Times analysis shows that the Grand Avenue Committee, a nonprofit set up by a group of civic leaders to shepherd the project, has spent $4.2 million in public money, from the city and Los Angeles County, to help get the project off the ground.

The money — paid over the last six years — was used to begin the early planning for Grand Avenue. The work was managed by a committee made up of Broad and representatives of the public and private sectors. The committee selected a developer, setting the stage for public approval.

The money paid for the committee's lawyers, consultants and staff members, including Martha Welborne, the project's managing director.

The city and county sent their share of the seed money through the California Community Foundation, a nonprofit group that served as the administrator for the planning effort.

From the beginning, the Grand Avenue project has been marked by a nontraditional public-private marriage. Besides the proposed tax breaks, government agencies are providing the land, investing in street improvements and subsidizing affordable housing in the project.

The developer, Related Cos., and its fiscal partners, meanwhile, are taking much of the financial risk — particularly tenuous in a downtown real estate market that has shown signs of softening. They are also subject to a number of requirements, including the condition that all construction and permanent jobs in the development meet either "prevailing" or "living" wage requirements for the city.

Though each side bears a portion of the project's financial risk, each side also stands to profit if the development is a success. The city and county could reap substantial tax revenue from the project, far more than they receive now from the properties, which are either vacant or used as parking lots.

The Community Redevelopment Agency's board is to consider a package deal to approve the project. Included is $24.4 million in public assistance for street improvements and payments to the developer to subsidize affordable housing in the complex. The agency also must approve long-term leases on public land.

But before the project can break ground, it must also get approval from the City Council and the county Board of Supervisors.

Construction of the first phase — two high-rise residential towers, one with a five-star hotel, and 285,000 square feet of retail space — is expected to start in October and be completed in June 2011.

The entire development would be built on nearly three square blocks on Bunker Hill, amounting to 10 acres. There would also be a 16-acre park stretching from the Los Angeles Music Center to the edge of City Hall.

Bill Witte, president of Related California, said that without a 20-year rebate of the city's hotel tax, which is just above 14%, it would be hard to include a hotel in the project. "It's obviously crucial," Witte said.

Related announced last week that it had signed a deal with the Mandarin Oriental hotel group to manage the project's proposed 275-room hotel.

The developer and the city have been negotiating privately over the hotel tax and parking tax breaks. Neither Witte nor Jerry Miller, the city's chief legislative analyst, would disclose the amount of tax relief involved, but previous estimates put the figure at $40 million.

Councilwoman Jan Perry said Wednesday she expected that the tax breaks would be in line with what Related had requested. She said that the development in her district was "a very exciting model for other projects that may follow this."

Granting tax breaks for high-profile hotel projects is an increasingly common occurrence used by city councils nationwide. In 2005, the city granted another downtown mega-project — L.A. Live, which is not on public land — up to $290 million in subsidies and tax breaks.

To spur construction of a high-rise Convention Center hotel near Staples Center, the council agreed to about $246 million in hotel tax rebates over a 25-year period.

Perry defended the outlay of public money for Grand Avenue. "We're pooling our assets to have the greatest impact, instead of doing this piecemeal, which we have done in the past," she said.

Defenders of the public financing said that without the Grand Avenue Committee, the responsibility for getting the project off the ground would have fallen to already overworked city and county staff members, or to a project management company, which could have cost the government agencies 2% of the full construction costs, or around $40 million.

A handful of civic foundations — including the Broad Foundation, the James Thomas Foundation and the California Community Foundation — kicked in $176,579 in cash and $661,875 in in-kind donations.

Antonia Hernandez, vice chairman of the Grand Avenue Committee and president of the California Community Foundation, said it was important for her organization to support the effort.

"This project is very important for the civic life of Los Angeles," she said. "It's not just cultural. It's a park. It's economic development. It's creating a center for the city where people can come and gather together."

In addition, the committee received $358,000 in developers' fees, mostly from Related.

An MIT-trained architect and urban planner, Welborne, whose last civic project was promoting a rapid bus system for Los Angeles, has spent nearly six years shepherding the Grand Avenue project. She currently receives an annual salary of $246,800.

Welborne is a passionate advocate for the project's role in changing the face of downtown Los Angeles. "If we don't have a good heart of the city, what kind of city do we have?" she said.

Once construction starts, the nation's largest public pension fund is poised to play a key role in financing construction of the development's $775-million first phase.

The California Public Employees Retirement System, which invests the pension dollars of hundreds of thousands of state and local government workers, is a partner in the project along with Related and MacFarlane Partners.

Witte said CalPERS has invested in a number of other Related projects: two projects in Little Tokyo, a planned luxury condo tower in Century City and the Time Warner Center in New York City.

jeff.rabin@latimes.com

cara.dimassa@latimes.com

Last edited by LosAngelesSportsFan; February 2nd, 2007 at 12:19 AM.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 07:49 PM   #8
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All we need now is the County and the city to give approvals on Feb 13th and this is a go.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...nes-california

Agency OKs Bunker Hill development
By Cara Mia DiMassa
Times Staff Writer

February 2, 2007

The Community Redevelopment Agency's board of commissioners voted Thursday to give approval to the $2-billion plan to build housing, a hotel and retail spaces on city and county land on an area of Bunker Hill near Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Before the 4-0 vote, with two commissioners absent, more than a dozen public speakers praised the project as a boon to efforts to revitalize downtown Los Angeles. As part of their vote, the commissioners approved spending $24.4 million in city money to fund street improvements and affordable housing in the development's first phase.

Before the project can break ground, expected in October, the deal also must be approved by the Los Angeles City Council and the county Board of Supervisors. Votes by those panels are scheduled for Feb. 13. A city report on the tax rebates for the hotel and parking parts of the project is expected today.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 07:51 PM   #9
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i really wish more focus was given on getting rid of the county buildings ringing the park and building at least a station box for the Downtown Connector. it would make it much easier to build the box now rather than later when they have to go around a completed project. very short sighted in my opinon.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:45 PM   #10
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In a ideal world, I would destroy the county buildings, and build Cal Plaza 3. It only makes sense. Cal Plaza 3 is still lurking about and it'll make way for the park..
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 11:23 PM   #11
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LosAngelesSportsFan

All we need now is the County and the city to give approvals on Feb 13th and this is a go.


Wow..... let's hope for a "GO" and move full speed ahead with this Mega~Project Downtown!!!
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 01:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan View Post
i really wish more focus was given on getting rid of the county buildings ringing the park and building at least a station box for the Downtown Connector. it would make it much easier to build the box now rather than later when they have to go around a completed project. very short sighted in my opinon.
LASF, I can't agree with you anymore. Those county buildings are an eyesore and not exactly architectural gems and will make the Grand Ave Park feel like a private, enclosed space. Aesthetically those buildings just don't fit in and if Grand Ave. is to become our city's cultural hub..those monstrosities must be bulldozed...

The Downtown Connector via a Grand Avenue Park station linking with Disney Hall, Angels Flight, the rest of the financial district of Bunker Hill and South towards LA Live would be a great idea that we should all champion. It would give LA residents so many more reasons to give up their cars and take transit.. even giving it up for one day would make a positive difference.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 02:16 AM   #13
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Those damn County buildings MUST GO! Other than being eyesores, they also limit the accessibility of the park. The park is hidden from view and you wouldn't even know it existed if you didn't walk down Grand and look over the railing. Destroying those buildings would also significantly increase the size of the park and would really open up the space. I would also like to see the other buildings lining the park be destroyed as well. In addition, I think closing off Hill and Broadway would enable people to move about the space more freely and safely.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 03:49 AM   #14
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There are plans to replace the county buildings (they are out of date with regards to the latest seismic and fire standards anyway), but the County must first find a replacement site for its administration buildings...so where should it be?
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 03:54 AM   #15
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^ What about that huge parking lot across the street from Ptasaurous Plaza. I believe is on Cesar Chaves Ave?
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 03:57 AM   #16
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They should relocate to where the Los Angeles Mall and Latino Museum are.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 04:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
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There are plans to replace the county buildings (they are out of date with regards to the latest seismic and fire standards anyway), but the County must first find a replacement site for its administration buildings...so where should it be?
Ahem...

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In a ideal world, I would destroy the county buildings, and build Cal Plaza 3. It only makes sense. Cal Plaza 3 is still lurking about and it'll make way for the park..
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 11:36 PM   #18
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also, phase 3 of the Grand Ave project is suppose to have an office complex and i remember hearing that it might be build as a replacement for those county buildings.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 08:12 AM   #19
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Ahem...
The replacement building(s) should be close to the Civic Center somewhere...Not many people know that the Los Angeles Civic Center is the largest concentration of government buildings in the entire USA outside of Washington DC.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 02:30 AM   #20
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Well if the LAPD building is going through some rough times, why not give it up and build the county buildings there. Or make it a mixed use building, with half of the building for the county, and the other half for the LAPD.
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