It's hard to believe the Wilshire La Brea project is almost a year away from completion. Per the developer's web site, the building consists of 6 stories, 478 apartments, 997 parking space and 40,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space. The long torturous history of the building, like every other project in LA, has seen it morph and shrink at the behest of neighbors and concerned citizens, worried that the project would be out of place with the scale of development along Wilshire Boulevard. The project first hit our radar in 2007 with a tiny rendering boasting a height of 13 stories and 645 apartments (it had apparently started its life as a 22-story building). Later that year, things got crazy when new renderings hit our inbox showing a modern, glassy facade designed by Thomas P. Cox Architects. By early 2009, the project was facing bad press after the LA Conservancy took up the cause of the doomed Columbia Savings Bank, which they described as an example of "postwar bank design as well as the innovative integration of art and architecture."
In July of that year, new renderings were released showing how months of meetings with stakeholders had completely changed the building, resulting in 482 apartments and 6 stories and a new art-decoish design. But despite the big changes and an approval from LA's Planning Commission, neighborhood people still hated it. Renee Weitzer in Councilman Tom LaBonge's office addressed the NIMBYism succinctly: "The sky's the limit? It went from 22 stories to six; if you can't allow a six-story building on Wilshire, where can you allow it?" Finally, the NIMBYs breathed their last gasp of opposition in a December 2009 letter to the LA Times where they decried the "Manhattanization" of their neighborhood. This is not what Manhattan looks like, folks.
· All about Wilshire LaBrea [Curbed LA]