When I was a kid my father roomed in a Victorian mansion in Angelino Heights. In his small corner of a big house I saw my first pocket doors and bulls eye rosettes. I learned about lath and plaster and saw the lead weights that made the windows stay up. I loved poking around the 19th century house, but an even sharper memory was from the tiny bathroom window that overlooked downtown Los Angeles.
A great building boom was going on in the 1980s and construction cranes crawled over half-finished high-rises. I asked my dad when downtown “would be finished” and got a lecture about life being a journey. Things slowed down right around the time the Library Tower (now U.S. Bank tower) was finished in 1989 and that 73-story building has been the tallest building west of the Mississippi ever since.
Last February, Korean Air, the owners of the Wilshire Grand project, broke ground for a new 73-story tower with office space and a hotel operated by InterContinental Hotels Group. Workers poured 21,200 cubic yards of cement in 18 hours, the largest continuous pour in history. That statistic was staggering, so as the tower passes the 53-story mark we reached out to architecture firm A.C. Martin, who crunched the numbers and provided these renderings and a handful of statistics to help us understand just how massive the (new) tallest building in the west will be.
1,100 feet – The tallest point will rise 82’ higher than the U.S. Bank Tower
900 four-star hotel rooms – More than the Standard, Ace, Luxe, and Checkers combined.
70th floor – an upper level lobby will include a public observation deck and rooftop pool
20,000 tons of steel – that’s as much as 258 space shuttles
11,500 construction jobs – more workers than Wal-Mart, Costco, and Albertsons combined
$1.1 billion – the construction budget of the hotel is more than the Gross National Product of 24 countries
640,000,000 pounds of concrete – 941 of the big LACMA rocks
75 miles of fire sprinkler pipe – a drinking straw from San Bernardino to Santa Monica
400,000 square feet of new office space – more space than 450 of those 1950s tract homes in Lakewood
61,139,790 pounds of rebar – equal to the amount of garbage L.A. generates in 1-½ days