The giant Grand Avenue Project was pulled back from the brink of death yet again this week, as the governing Grand Avenue Authority voted to extend the agreement with developer Related Cos. through January 20. In a decade of work, Related has managed only to start construction on one apartment tower and to pay for the County-run Grand Park (part of the development deal); the project is supposed to have massive amounts of retail, apartments/condos, and hotel rooms spread over several blocks surrounding Disney Hall. Earlier this year Related said they were going to switch up the plans (originally designed mostly by Frank Gehry, who designed Disney) so that the project would be easier to build and more appropriate for a gentrified/fying Downtown (Grand Ave. was first proposed back when it was just crickets and homeless people after dark). Last week, the GAA rejected the latest designs for Parcel Q, the first piece of the megaproject, located across Grand Avenue from Disney, "as uninspired and overly commercial," as the LA Times reports. Related emphasizes that the designs seen above, by local megafirm Gensler with contributions from New York-based starchitect Robert AM Stern, are just a conceptual master plan; the architectural details are really only placeholders.
The new deal will at least let Related go back to the drawing board, and apparently Gehry "sounds reasonably confident that the developer will soon put his firm, Gehry Partners, back atop the design team." Interesting!
Obviously it's still totally unclear what Related will build, but the latest plans had 380 apartments, 50 condos, 250 hotel rooms, 171,000 square feet of retail, and no space for a health club or event facility as originally planned. Anyway, see you all on January 19 for the next Grand Avenue almost-crisis!
· Grand Avenue project: Uncertainty could be a good thing [LAT]
· Huge Grand Avenue Development Might Be On Its Death Bed [Curbed LA]