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The grand opening last week of the Wilshire Grand Center capped a five-year, $1.2-billion process that has captivated more Angelenos than any high-rise development in recent memory.  And there's good reason for that.

At 73 stories and 1,100 feet in height, the A.C. Martin-designed tower now reigns as the tallest building west of the Mississippi River - provided one counts its decorative rooftop spire.  That architectural element makes the Wilshire Grand an architectural trail blazer in Los Angeles - the first high-rise structure without a rooftop helipad.

Beyond its height, the project has served as a sort of mascot for Downtown's econmic growth over the past half-decade.  A billion-dollar investment that could not have been anticipated even 20 years ago.  Its symbolic importance for the city is difficult to quantify, but its economic impacts are not.

An 889-room Intercontinental Hotel which occupies to the upper floors of the building has been dubbed a "game changer" for the Downtown hotel market, and especially for the nearby Los Angeles Convention Center.

Its more than 350,000 square feet of office space has already signed leases with the Southern California Association of Governments and the real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield.  Rumblings are abound of more signings in the near future.

Approximately 45,000 square feet of shops and restaurants will be located within the Wilshire Grand's podium, drawing more foot traffic to Figueroa Street's already-bustling intersections with Wilshire Boulevard and 7th Street.

Frankly, there is not much to say about this project that has not already been said at this point.  With that in mind, we offer you this retrospective on a five-year process.  The demolition of the old hotel, the record-breaking concrete pour, the first tour inside the construction site, the completion of the sail-shaped crown, the rise of the rooftop spire and an LED display that lit up the night sky.  We've got it all below, with footage from architectural photographer Hunter Kerhart.

 

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