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The Year's Highs and Lows in Los Angeles Development

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It's the last week in December, when according to tradition we make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to all the best, worst, and shitshowiest of things that happened in Los Angeles real estate, architecture, and neighborhoods this year. These are your 2012 Curbed Awards.

Top 5 Groundbreakings
5. Huge Wilshire at La Brea mixed-user
4. Avant, the Daniel Liebskind-tower killer in South Park
3. The first building in the huge Grand Avenue Project
2. The enormous Blvd6200 mixed-user next to the Pantages in Hollywood
1. Expo Line phase II

Best Hollywood Community Plan Freakout
After 10 years of back and forth, the plan to guide development in Hollywood for the next few decades was finally passed in June, and some naysayers insist the new plans mean we're all going to die: the new buildings will all collapse in an earthquake, the epic traffic will delay fire trucks while the hillsides burn, and it will also turn Hollywood Dell residents into "prisoners in [their] own homes." But the winner goes to curmudgeonly disgruntlement over the proposed "cat park" over the 101. That's "cap park," guys.

The "Recession? What Recession" Award for Ginormo Development
Developer Sonny Astani got permission for the 700-unit mixed user at Eighth and Grand, then turned around and sold the land for a reported $63 million in one of the biggest land deals downtown. The project is now in preconstruction.

Top 3 Condo Projects That Got a New Lease on Life as Rentals
3. Desmond on Wilshire in the Miracle Mile
2. Angelino Heights's Bellevue Lofts
1. Movietown Plaza in West Hollywood

Most Surprising Return from the Dead
The former Sonny Astani project went condo to rental (and from Concerto to Apex) before coming back in a big way this year.

Fanciest Apartments Above a Trader Joe's
That would be Rick Caruso's new 8500 Burton, just on the edge of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, south of the Beverly Center.

Hottest Small Lot Subdivision
There were a number of small lot projects, which put a bunch of small detached houses together on a bunch of small lots, in the news this year, including two in Echo Park and and one near the Paramount lot on Melrose. But the achievement in small lot subdividing goes to Buzz Court which, though small and pricey, still sold out just after hitting the market.

Overachievements in Marketing
Marketing went into overdrive when the Beverly West on Wilshire finally opened this year, with five "designer inspired" looks unveiled to entice buyers.

Top 3 Historic Demolitions
3. The Wilshire Grand hotel, eventual site of a 70-story hotel/office tower
2. Silver Lake's Coffee Table, which is supposed to give birth to 45 townhouses; the project was then put up for sale
1. Hollywood's Old Spaghetti Factory, which will be remade into a residential tower

Strangest Development News
Santa Monica made a late play here, and came away with the prize. A week after giving the greenlight to the Village-Trailer-Park-slaying East Village mixed-use development, the city council turned around and unapproved it. That was weird.

Campus All-Star
Dowdy Westwood, home to UCLA, finally started to see a glimmer of redevelopment interest this year, but it's no contest really. With the huge Village at USC project approved this month, USC smacks down its crosstown rival. Set to replace the sad old University Village, the new project will bring a grocery store and other retail, green space, a fire station, and 3,000 much-needed student beds to the campus.

Most Surprising Farmers Field-Related News
After an incredibly predictable run through the approval process--the city council, and mayor in particular, love this thing--LA's quest to bring home a football team or two ran into two major hurdles. First came word that the NFL, which will decide what teams come to LA, is not at all thrilled with the plans, and really really wants something to happen in Chavez Ravine, home of Dodger baseball. But the biggest news was the for sale sign on AEG, the developer behind Farmers Field (and LA Live, and Staples Center, and a bunch else besides).

Cojones Award (back to back winner!)
The Millennium Hollywood plan to build crazy-tall towers surrounding Hollywood's Capitol Records building not only didn't die, but returned with conceptual drawings (i.e., not real renderings)! Curbed commenters had some thoughts on this one.
· Curbed Awards 2012 [Curbed LA]