Image Courtesy AC Martin
Downtown Los Angeles is set to become home to the West Coast’s tallest building after developer Korean Air unveiled designs for a $1-billion skyscraper in the city’s downtown financial district.
Named the Wilshire Grand, the tower consists of a hotel and office space and shows South Korea’s growing status as an economic powerhouse.
Construction crews are busy demolishing the current Wilshire Grand Hotel, which Korean Air has owned since 1989, to make way for the new 73-storey tower.
“The new Wilshire Grand is an investment that makes sense and we are excited to continue our relationship with this great city,” said Korean Air chairman Y. H. Cho.
The building’s stainless steel spire makes it considerably taller than Los Angeles’ current tallest building, the U.S. Bank Tower. The building will offer panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills, the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Designed by Los Angeles architecture firm AC Martin Partners, the skyscraper will include a 900-room hotel, restaurants, shops and 30 floors of office space. The top floor will include a recreation area with an ‘infinity’ pool.
A 50-foot glass section, supported by steel trusses, will enclose the top deck.
Officials call the dome-like cap a ‘sky lobby.’ David Martin, a principal at AC Martin Partners thinks the building’s round, tapering shape is analogous to an airplane wing while others say it looks like a sail.
The tower will have an uneven top, a first in the city, as roofs are normally required to be flat to comply with fire regulations, which call for the possibility of helicopter-based rescues. AC Martin was able to compromise with the city’s fire department to include a variety of alternate emergency measurements in order to keep their desired roof structure.
The developer plans to have the project completed by March 2017 and acquire LEED Silver accreditation.
The tower will be the first high-rise built in decades in the city’s downtown core, but city councillors noted its construction would help the city deal with the effects of the Global Financial Crisis.
“We’re not going to be able to tax our way out of this recession, I think we’re going to have to build our way out,” said councillor Jan Perry.
The magnitude of the project shows increasing investor confidence in the American economy and offers reassurance that matters are slowly improving.