Signs of life exist in LA. At least on the drawing board.
The Thomas Property Group and Korean Air have just proposed a $1 billion mixed-use complex consisting of two large towers in the heart of the city’s downtown. If approved, the buildings would be designed by A.C. Martin and Partners, architects of several of the city’s tallest buildings, like the 52-story Two California Plaza, the 53-story Figueroa at Wilshire, and the 55-story Bank of America Plaza.
The 1.75 million-square-foot project would be built on the site of the current Wilshire Grand Hotel, at 930 Wilshire Boulevard, which would be razed. The new complex would include a 40-story tower featuring a luxury hotel of up to 700 rooms topped by several floors of condominiums, and a 1.15 million-square-foot, 60-story office tower, connected with plazas and up to 18,000 square feet of public space.
The architects could not be immediately reached for comment, but renderings suggest that the new buildings will be clad with folded glass facades, tapering inward as their height increases. Their thick, angular profile is similar to that of Morphosis’ Phare Tower in Paris. The developers say they plan for the buildings to achieve LEED certification.
While the project is still not funded or approved—not an easy task in this economic environment—the team has a weighty track record. Thomas Properties owner James Thomas has built downtown’s Wells Fargo Tower, Library Tower, and Gas Company Tower. Korean Air, which owns three hotels in Korea and another in Hawaii, acquired the Wilshire Grand Hotel in 1989 under the name of Hilton Hotel & Towers.
Thomas told Bloomberg that despite the current economic downturn, his company plans to have the scheme ready to go by the time credit markets “start flowing again.” He added, “The ideal timing is to get everything lined up, and as you come out of the recession, you have the product to deliver. So I think our timing is really superb.”