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New Wilshire Grand to Tower Above Downtown Los Angeles

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Move over US Bank tower; the $1-billion Wilshire Grand is coming to take the crown of tallest building in Downtown Los Angeles. Developed by Korean Air Lines Co., the new hotel and office project will contain 73 stories and will rise to 1,100 ft tall, with a distinctive architectural spire at the top.

Image courtesy AC Martin
Wilshire Grand features a 900-room, luxury hotel above 400,000 sq ft of office space and more than 45,000 sq ft of retail.
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"The Wilshire Grand Hotel and office development will change the corner of Wilshire and Figueroa with an iconic building that will redefine the downtown skyline," said Korean Air Chairman Yang-Ho Cho at a recent press conference.

The roughly 2 million sq-ft endeavor, scheduled to be completed in late 2016, was designed by Los Angeles-based architect AC Martin Partners and is being built by New York-based Turner Construction Co. Structural engineering is being led by Brandow & Johnston Inc., Los Angeles.

The project will be highlighted by a 900-room, luxury hotel above 400,000 sq ft of office space and more than 45,000 sq ft of retail. An 1,100-stall parking garage will occupy seven levels below grade.

The signature spire atop the structure will be made of either stainless steel or aluminum. Standing next to a tactical approach helicopter pad, the signature spire—to be made of either stainless steel or aluminum—is a source of pride for the architects.

"This is a big deal because my grandfather did L.A. City Hall in the 1920s, and that is the only other building in the city that really has an architectural top,” says Chris Martin, CEO of AC Martin Partners. “All the buildings in L.A. have flat, truncated tops, so this is going to stand out—and we want it to."

Martin, whose cousin David Martin is the lead designer on the new hotel, says the spire and the entire exterior skin of the tower will be filled with programmable LED lighting, which will be seen throughout the city, and used to “artistically to give character to the building in light."

The project is located on the site of the former Wilshire Grand hotel, which closed in 2011. To get the new tower up, Turner must first demo 1 million sq ft of the old hotel. Kevin Dow, vice president of Turner’s Los Angeles Region, says this process began in September and should complete in August.

Once the old rubble is cleared, crews will be left with a city block-size hole, ranging from 85 ft to 100 ft deep. Dow says they will then prepare for one of the largest single concrete pours in Los Angeles history – a three-day convoy of trucks shooting 24,000 cu yds of concrete into the structure’s 20-ft-thick mat foundation. 

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