In May, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission sent Onni Group's Times Square development back to the drawing board. Now, an updated presentation scheduled for consideration at a meeting on July 9 offers a look at revised designs for controversial mixed-use complex.
The proposed high-rise development would rise along the eastern side of Broadway between 1st and 2nd Streets, replacing a William Pereira-designed expansion of the former Los Angeles Times headquarters campus. Onni is seeking entitlements for the construction of 37- and 53-story towers which would contain at total of 1,127 apartments above 34,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial uses and over 1,700 parking spaces.
The older Times buildings along Spring Street - built in the 1930s and 1940s - are poised for preservation and reuse as offices with ground-floor commercial uses. A pedestrian paseo would separate the historic structures from the new buildings, creating a passageway between 1st and 2nd Streets.
At the prior hearing, Commissioner David Ambroz expressed dissatisfaction with the design of the proposed towers, comparing it unfavorably to other high-rise developments recently seen by the Commission.
AC Martin, which is designing the project, has offered two new alternatives for the towers, both of which are intended to echo the prominent horizontal and vertical lines of the adjacent Art Deco architecture. The first would cap the buildings with rectangular fins and canopies, while the latter would culminate in a sloping glass roofline - similar to initial design concepts submitted to the City in 2016.
Closer to the ground, the new design concepts also include a second option for the proposed podium structure along Broadway. The new alternative would align the height of the podium with the adjoining L.A. Times Building, while bringing the glass of the towers down to street level. New bays along 1st, 2nd, and Broadway would be colored in brown and bronze tones to relate to the existing buildings.
Onni Group's ownership of the Times Mirror Square property dates to 2016, when the company purchased the site for the reported sum of $120 million. In the years that followed, the property's namesake tenant has relocated to El Segundo, while the Vancouver-based firm initiated entitlement proceedings for the proposed high-rise complex.
The project has faced staunch opposition from preservationists, who fought to designate the entire property - including the Pereira-designed buildings slated for demolition - as a Historic-Cultural Monument. While the Cultural Heritage Commission endorsed monument status for the entire campus, the Los Angeles City Council voted to only landmark the 1930s and 1940s buildings along Spring Street.
In public comment, opponents of the development have also seized on political contributions made by Onni Group to a political action committee tied to City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who has been charged with accepting more than $1 million in bribes from real estate developers.
- Times Mirror Square (Urbanize LA)