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Grand Grand Ave. Plans to Be Brought More in Line With Reality

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Hey, remember that Grand Avenue megadevelopment that was supposed to have transformed the area around Disney Hall by now? Yeah, it's still delayed. But the LA Times reports that developer Related Cos. is finally revamping the plan to get a little more realistic: "Bill Witte, president of Related California, said that the firm was working to adjust its plans to better reflect market conditions, and that its 'dimensions, scope and scale' could be adjusted. He did not reveal specific details but suggested the new plans would be aimed at getting the project off the ground." The megaplan was proposed a decade ago, but Related has asked for extension after extension while it tries to get financing together post-recession. The current deadline to start work is February 2013 and plans are supposed to include a couple of Frank Gehry-designed condo towers, hundreds of high-end condos, a boutique hotel, and "acres of retail space for upscale restaurants, shops and art galleries." Witte "would not comment on the fate of Gehry's two translucent, glass-curtained towers that promised to alter the downtown skyline."

Downtown-watchers tell the LAT that the old plan's outdated and relies on a ten year old notion that Downtown could gentrify into a tony Bev Hills-type area (condos were expected to go for as much as $1,200 per square foot), rather than the young hipster zone it's actually become.

Related should present new plans to the joint powers authority overseeing the project sometime this year. Meanwhile, the city's already gotten some good stuff out of the Grand Avenue plans (and Related)--the huge Civic Park running between City Hall and Grand is expected to open this summer (Related contributed about $50 million to that project) and Eli Broad's Broad Museum is well under construction.
· Stalled Grand Avenue development may get a second look [LAT]
· Grand Ave. Archives [Curbed LA]