Grand Avenue is getting yet another architectural landmark with the Grand, a new building designed by Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry. Mayor Eric Garcetti; Eli Broad, philanthropist and owner of downtown’s Broad museum, nearby on the avenue; and Gehry got together Monday for an official groundbreaking, celebrating the massive mixed-use complex.
“We are trying to make a place for people not only to live, but also to gather after concerts or performances, and my hope is that it will spawn other growth in the neighborhood,” Gehry said at the groundbreaking. “The project is meant to complement and enhance the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Colburn, the Broad, and the other buildings that make up the rich and exciting cultural district that is emerging on Grand Avenue.”
To that end, the Grand features 176,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, a movie theater, a hotel, large public terraces and plazas, and 400 apartments. Of the residences, 20 percent will be designated as affordable-rate units.
One of Gehry’s priorities in designing the structure was to “humanize” the scale of the complex. He opted for a staggered, blocky series of shapes that, he hopes, will appear friendlier to pedestrians walking along Grand than a traditional skyscraper. Landscaping and green spaces on the ground level should help, too.
“The Grand is the crown jewel of the Grand Avenue development, which began 40 years ago in 1979 with MOCA, then the Colburn School of Music, followed by the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Grand Arts High School and Grand Park—all of which helped Los Angeles become a world-class cultural capital,” said Broad, who has been instrumental in many of those projects. “No four-block stretch in any city has as many examples of world-class architecture as Grand Avenue.”
The developers behind the project are Related Companies and CORE USA. Related has quite a bit of experience creating large-scale urban structures; the same team has worked on Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards in New York City, and Brent Cross South and Tottenham Hale in London. CORE USA is a joint-venture of China Harbour Engineering Company and CCCG Overseas Real Estate.
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