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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Wilshire Grand Hotel Becomes $1 Billion Project

Rosa Trieu |
October 23, 2012 | 5:18 p.m. PDT

Staff Photographer

The Wilshire Grand Hotel began its reconstruction Tuesday as Los Angeles officials and business leaders cut a ceremonial beam out of the building's entrance and took down the hotel's name, letter by letter.

The new hotel will be a mixed-use space, which includes a sky lobby above 70 floors of 900 four-star hotel rooms and 400,000 square feet of Class A office space. It will stand as the second-tallest building in L.A.

(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)
(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)












The $1 billion project is being developed by Korean Air and will be completed in 2017. The hotel is around the corner from a Metro transit station and a few blocks from the Staples Center, L.A. Live, as well as the proposed downtown NFL Stadium.

(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)
(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)












Local government officials said the project will create more than 11,000 local jobs for the hard-hit construction industry and contribute $80 million in tax revenue through the construction phase.

Councilwoman Jan Perry said the way to bring new revenue into L.A. is through investment.

"We're not going to be able to tax our way out of this recession," Perry said. "I think we're going to have to build our way out. So projects like these are catalytic and transformative."

(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)
(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)












The building was visualized by L.A. architecture firm, AC Martin, and the design and construction is being managed by Martin Project Management.

(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)
(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)












Korean Air, whose parent company is Hanjin International Corp., has owned the hotel since 1989. The hotel was originally opened as Statler Hotel in 1952. It officially closed in 2011 for deconstruction activities, which is expected to take 12 months to complete.

The building will be dismantled piece-by-piece in order to reduce traffic and enable recycling of raw materials. There is currently no traffic detouring in the area, but pedestrian access around the building is limited.

(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)
(Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy)












Christoper Park, vice president of Hanjin, said the hotel was getting old to the point where it wasn't worth spending money for renovations, so Korean Air decided to take the building down and build a new hotel.

"As a hotelier, I'm very sad to see it go, but finally it's happening and soon we'll have a new building," Park said.

Artistic renderings of the proposed new Wilshire Grand Hotel can be viewed here.



Reach Staff Photographer Rosa Trieu here. Follow her on Twitter.



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