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A grand vision moves forward on Grand Avenue

 

Following a series of key government approvals, a Frank Gehry-designed project at the heart of Grand Avenue’s cultural renaissance is poised to begin rising in 2018.

The project will be built on the Los Angeles County-owned property known as Parcel Q across from Walt Disney Concert Hall, the iconic structure also designed by Gehry.

In recent weeks, the $950 million project has won approvals from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Grand Avenue Authority board—made up of officials from the County, City of Los Angeles and the successor agency of the Community Redevelopment Agency—as well as from the board of the CRA’s successor agency. The final approval came from the Los Angeles City Council on December 14, 2016.

The project will include a new 4-star hotel and residential tower, along with restaurants and retail, and is expected to generate broad community benefits. Among other things, it is projected to create 8,310 construction jobs and 3,280 permanent jobs after the completion, set for 2022.

“This is a highly anticipated project and a labor of love many years in the making. We are excited to take this next step to celebrate the diversity of arts, culture, and economic development in downtown, by investing in our local workforce and the community that this diverse project attracts,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Our goal has been to make sure the residents of our County are represented throughout every aspect of this project. From local hiring and permanent jobs for those facing barriers to employment to affordable housing, from local business and affordable food options to a grand public plaza with free programs for our families, everyone has a special place on Grand Avenue.”

Under the agreement approved by the Board of Supervisors, at least 30% of the construction and permanent workforce must be local. The project also will use apprenticeships and local training programs to include workers who have previously faced barriers to employment.

The construction jobs will be covered under a project labor agreement with the building trades unions. In addition, the developer has an agreement in place to remain neutral if hotel workers seek to organize into a union.

"The Grand Avenue Project will be an architectural landmark and an economic engine for Los Angeles County,” said Kurt Petersen, Director of UNITE HERE Local 11. "Workers will earn wages and enjoy benefits that will lift them into the middle class. The project sets the standard for future hotel and restaurant developments in the region."

Added Adine Forman, executive Director of the Los Angeles Hospitality Training Academy: "We are eager to work with those coming from underserved communities and ensure that local hire requirements are met through this innovative downtown project, and we are developing career ladders and pathways in this high-growth hospitality industry."

The project also will provide an infusion of affordable housing. Twenty percent, or 86 units, in the residential tower will be affordable rentals for those earning between $24,320 and $43,400 a year.

Following the recent series of approvals, the project’s developer, Related Companies, announced that it has entered into a joint venture partnership with CCCG Overseas Real Estate Pte. Ltd. (CORE) to fund this phase of the Grand Avenue Project. CORE is investing $290 million in the development.

“We welcome CORE as our joint venture partner on Grand Avenue,” said Ken Himmel, CEO of Related Urban, the mixed-use division of Related.  “They share our vision for the creation of a world-class destination and as a global Fortune 110 company, they boast not only a sterling financial record but also have great excitement for the development.”

When completed, the Parcel Q project is expected to generate $2.2 million annually in county tax revenue.

It is expected to attract thousands of tourists from around the world and across the nation, along with downtown residents and visitors from other communities throughout the region. It will contribute to the day-and-night vitality of a popular and growing cultural district that includes Disney Hall, the Broad Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Colburn School and the Music Center.

Already, as part of earlier approvals of the Grand Avenue project, $50 million was provided by Related to construct Grand Park, another vibrant addition to the growing Downtown L.A scene.