The Greenland Group raised more than a few eyebrows when they boldly proclaimed that they'd break ground on the long awaited Metropolis development before the end of 2013.  Turns out that they might not have been that far off.  According to a document from the city's Chief Legislative Analyst, the Chinese developer plans to start shoring and grading work for phase one of Metropolis on February 14.  Phase one will emerge at the intersection of Francisco Street and James M Wood Boulevard, consisting of two high-rise structures above a pedestrian plaza.  The first tower, a 350-room Hotel Indigo, will rise approximately 19-stories.  Guest rooms will stand above a podium structure containing food and beverage outlets, meeting space, recreational amenities, and street level retail.  Records from LADBS indicate that the second tower is intended to rise 38-stories, containing 290 residential units above a parking podium.  Phase two, which has no scheduled groundbreaking date, will consist of three two towers with a "mix of residential and commercial uses."

Unfortunately, not all is not well on Metropolis' 6.3 acre parking lot.  The Greenland Group claims that the project's hotel component is facing an $82-92 million finance gap, and requests assistance from the city to make up for the deficit.  In years past, Los Angeles has granted tax rebates to both the J.W. Marriott and the Wilshire Grand for this purpose.  While the city will conduct its own analysis of Greenland's project before making a decision, representatives of the Convention Center have already indicated a willingness to provide financial incentives to get 4,000 new hotel rooms by 2020.  In other words, it seems likely that the Greenland Group will get their tax break.  In the meantime, get your popcorn ready and keep your eyes peeled for construction equipment come Valentines Day.  Or go spend time with your loved ones...whatever.  Either way, Downtown's long delayed mega-project will finally get shovels in the ground.