The formerly-controversial redevelopment of the Century Plaza Hotel site is another one making a reappearance in the late summer rush--the City Planning commission has just approved plans for the overhaul, reports the LA Business Journal (sub. req.). Developer Next Century originally intended to demolish the 1966 Century Plaza, which was designed by World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki, and put up two condo/office towers. But preservationists rallied and Next Cen eventually settled on what seemed like a no-brainer: a reno of the hotel and the addition of two condo towers behind it (they ditched the office plans). The towers will each be 46 stories designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; the top five floors of the hotel (a Hyatt) will be converted into 63 condos for a total of 353 units at the site. Next Century will also add "nearly 105,000 square feet of shops and restaurants," mostly in separate structures at the back of the site, as well as about two acres of green space. The hotel's back pool will be moved onto the roof (another pool is also planned for one of the towers).
The developers are also making the mid-century hotel a little bit more pedestrian-friendly--they'll fill in the sunken front plaza and add two restaurants on top to bring the action closer to the street, and they'll convert the hotel's lobby into a breezeway.
According to the LABJ, no one spoke against the project at the planning commission meeting. Nearby homeowners actually spoke in support (!!); they like that the office space is gone and have apparently "also received a separate community benefits agreement," which they won't divulge details of.
The Century Plaza is expected to get City Council approval this fall, but probably won't break ground until 2014. Work will take "at least five to six years."
· Making It Big [LABJ, sub. req.]
· New Century Plaza Hotel Plan Trying For Century City Walkability [Curbed LA]