The Los Angeles Business Journal does some digging to get a response to those recent comments by the head of Korean Air, in which Yang Ho Cho suggested the city isn't moving fast enough on the proposed hotel and office project that'll rise on the site of the Wilshire Grand. Thomas Properties says the project has been impacted by recent planning department layoffs, but then a city planner swats down that theory. Basically, nothing gets resolved, but somehow the Mayor gets dragged into the story. Here's the pertinent excerpt: "Thomas Properties Chief Executive Jim Thomas said that layoffs in the planning department have delayed all approvals. 'That has delayed the entitlements, and in fact delayed the project,” he said. Thomas Properties had initially hoped to secure approvals within 18 months. Now, he said, that may not be possible. Cho, when asked if the project was still on track, replied, 'Don’t ask me, ask the mayor.'
Calls to the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa were referred to Austin Beutner, the deputy mayor in charge of economic and business policy. Beutner did not return calls for comment.
However, Kevin Keller, a senior planner with the city, said the project was running on a “very standard time frame” and that the team responsible for the project has not been affected by layoffs or early retirements.
“These are the timelines on these types of projects,' Keller said. 'We want to move quickly while maintaining a comprehensive level of review of the environmental impacts.'" Meanwhile, there's talk that with the slow commercial market, the hotel portion may be built first, followed by the office part.
· Korean Air Would Like to See its Project Get Going [Curbed LA]
· Wilshire Grand Transformation Moving S-l-o-w-l-y [LABJ]