The Wilshire Grand hotel has already closed, and Korean Air has gotten approvals to demolish the building and build a two-tower replacement with 560 hotel rooms and office space. Major curveball: the Downtown News reports today that Korean Air now plans to build just one tower with 900 hotel rooms and "a diminished office component." (But that means fewer walls to for "architectural lighting"/ads!) They've also switched out their development partner, ditching Thomas Properties Group for Martin Project Management, which is headed up by Chris Martin of the project's architecture firm, AC Martin (the DN points out that TPG was supposed to have an ownership stake in the new Wilshire Grand).
KA has entitlements for a 45 story hotel with 560 hotel rooms and about 100 residential units and a 65 story tower with about 1.5 million square feet of office space. Martin tells the paper that the new project should only require administrative changes and won't need to go through another lengthy approval process. In fact, he says that demolition should begin this summer and construction should start in spring 2013, as originally planned. Korean Air decided to make the switch because of Downtown's high office vacancy rate and the "currently hot Downtown hotel market."
· Major Changes for Wilshire Grand Project: Two-Tower Effort Now Envisioned As One [Downtown News]
· Wilshire Grand Approved, and Hey, Here's a Video Simulation! [Curbed LA]