Another year has passed, and Downtown's elusive Grand Avenue Project still remains stranded on the distant horizon.
Next week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider a fifth amendment to the agreement between the developer Related California and the Grand Avenue Authority, a joint powers authority helmed by the County and the City of Los Angeles. Among other changes, the revised agreement would delay the groundbreaking deadline for Parcel Q, the project's original first phase, to November 1, 2018. This would in turn move the expected completion date for the project back to January 31, 2021, or approximately 38 months after the start of construction.
Although the updated plan for phase one remains fundamentally the same, calling for two Frank Gehry-designed buildings across from the Walt Disney Conert Hall, minor details have reshaped the overall development program.
In the residential tower, which would rise approximately 38 stories along 2nd Street, the total number of planned dwellings has been reduced from 450 units to approximately 429 units. This includes 215 market rate partments, 128 for-sale condominiums and 86 units of subsidized affordable housing.
The proposed amendment to the development agreement sitpulates that of the affordable units, no less than 15% shall be set aside for households earning 40% or less than the Los Angeles area median income, with rents ranging from $608 to $782 per month. The remaining 85% would be set aside for households earning less than 50% of the area median income, with rents between $760 and $977 per month.
The second tower, most recently contemplated as a 16-story structure, would consist of a 4-star Equinox Hotel, offering 305 guest rooms, meeting space and various hotel amenities.
Related has added more retail and commercial space to the proposed development, increasing the total floor area from 200,000 square feet under the previous arrangement to 215,000 square feet under current plans. Potential uses would include entertainment venues, restaurants, signature stores, a health club and small shops.
Plans for approximately 47,000 square feet of retail space have been dropped from the project.
As with the prior iteration of the development, the Parcel Q would feature 1,350 underground parking spaces, with additional capacity for 150 valet-assisted spaces.
Likewise, public realm improvements would also be implemented within Parcel Q. These improvements includes new sidewalks and landscaping along Grand Avenue, as well as a large public plaza facing the Walt Disney Concert Hall across Grand Avenue.
The proposed amendment has also revealed that the Grand Avenue Project's phase one budget has now swelled to $950 million, up from the estimated $750-million proposal presented in 2013. Related has formed a partnership with an unspecified Chinese investor to provide additional funding for the project.
Despite Related's well-documented setbacks at Parcel Q, other aspects of the project have moved forward successfully.
In 2010, the developer paid $56 million to fund the construction of Grand Park, which stretches between the Music Center and Los Angeles City Hall. The 12-acre green space has since become home to Downtown's New Year's Eve celebration.
Across Grand Avenue at Parcel M, originally the project's second phase, a 19-story apartment tower was completed in 2014. This was followed in 2015 by the opening of the Broad Museum, bringing throngs of tourists to the burgeoning cultural hub.
Related has also pursued developments in other areas of Southern California, including an 18-story apartment tower now rising in Hollywood near the Capitol Records Building.
- Grand Avenue Project - Phase 1 (L.A. County Board of Supervisors)
- Grand Avenue Project Archive (Urbanize LA)