This morning's gigantic, freeway-side fire was incredibly well-documented through social media, but it's hard to tell from the smoldering rubble what exactly it was that went up in flames. The project, from prolific Downtown fortress developer Geoff Palmer, was a mixed-user called the Da Vinci, and, like a lot of Palmer's other developments, it was massive, visually unexciting, and contentious. Here's everything you need to know about the plans, the controversies, and the future of the site:
What was on fire?
The Da Vinci Apartments was a double-building project slated to take up three corners of the intersection of Temple and Fremont, practically on top of the intersection of the 110 and the 101. Building A's site is on the western corner of the intersection; Building B's site is on the eastern and northern corners of the intersection. The seven-story mixed-use development was going to be in the vaguely Italian style of Palmer's other Renaissance Collection projects, like the Orsini and the Medici.
The project includes 526 apartments, 14,000 square feet of groundfloor retail, and 1,000 new parking spaces; it takes up 1.3 million square feet and a full city block. Let's not forget about that deeply controversial skybridge that the city and Palmer went back and forth over. This past May, the city approved the bridge, which will cross Temple and connect the two buildings, keeping future tenants from having to interact with the people down on the street-level.
What was destroyed and what wasn't?
The ginormous fireball did not entirely consume the Da Vinci. Half the project—the building immediately next to the 110 freeway, Building B—was totally destroyed, but the adjacent Building A, next to the 101 Freeway, was not damaged. It's scheduled to open on time, at the end of January 2015, according to a statement from Palmer seen on LAist and to a banner ad on the Da Vinci's website.
There's no question Palmer wants to rebuild what was lost in the fire. In a statement to the City News Service, he explained that although Building B is "temporarily lost," Building A will be open in late January "to those families looking forward to occupying their new homes." Early estimates have damages to the project pegged at $10 million.
· Terrible Fauxtalian Fortress Lost in Spectacular Downtown Fire [Curbed LA]
· Developer Not Deterred By The Burned-Out Husk That Is The Da Vinci Apartments [LAist]
· Geoff Palmer Building Big Fauxtalian Mixed-User in Bunker Hill [Curbed LA]
· Da Vinci [Curbed LA]