Your eyes do not deceive you: Downtown's most notorious parking structure is finally meeting with the wrecking ball.
Less than a month after closing financing for a $1-billion tower complex on the site, Related Cos. has begun demolition of the "tinker-toy" garage across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The drab concrete-and-steel structure, which spans a full block wrapped by Grand Avenue, 1st, 2nd, and Olive Streets - was completed in the late 1960s as a short-term solution to a Downtown parking crunch, yet survived for nearly 50 years as the Civic Center and Bunker Hill grew around it.
A decade ago, the Los Angeles Times profiled the "erector-set" garage, which was then thought to be mere months away from demolition to make way for an earlier iteration of the Related Cos. development. But the global recession put that proposal on ice, giving the parking structure a long stay of execution.
In its place, Related will construct a refined version of its plan from 10 years ago - a pair of Frank Gehry-designed towers meant to complement his iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, which sits directly across the street. Plans call for a 39-story apartment tower at 2nd and Olive Streets, featuring 349 market-rate apartments and 87 units of affordable housing, accompanied by a 20-story, 309-room Equinox hotel at Olive and 1st Street. The two towers will sit atop a 215,000-square-foot podium - featuring shops, restaurants, and a movie theater - set back from Grand Avenue behind a large plaza.
A formal groundbreaking for the development, known as The Grand, is scheduled to occur in early 2019.
The project was originally intended as the first phase of the larger Grand Avenue Project, which encompasses several L.A. County- and L.A. City-owned properties in the Civic Center. Several of the parcels have already been developed - yielding the Broad contemporary art museum and the Emerson apartment tower - while another site remains unbuilt at 1st and Hill Streets.
- The Grand Archive (Urbanize LA)