The terrible developer (Geoff Palmer) behind Downtown's terribly named (Broadway Palace), but not-so-terrible-looking mixed-use development on southern Broadway has filed new plans that still include a pedestrian skybridge spanning Olympic Boulevard, so that tenants will never have to experience the horror of a bustling, active street life. Palmer is known for his Renaissance Collection of short but enormous fauxtalian apartment fortresses, generally built on the edge of the neighborhood and next to freeways, but the Broadway Palace, which already started construction a few months back, is something new for him—it's still huge (686 apartments split between a six- and a 10-story building), but it's right in the middle of the action, near the Ace Hotel on the Fashion District/South Park border, and designed to blend in with its surroundings. So why does it need a skybridge that'll keep residents from actually experiencing those surroundings?
Palmer's Da Vinci apartments on the other side of Downtown, by two freeways and on a relatively untrafficked stretch of Temple, also have a skybridge, but even there the addition was controversial. LA's Planning Commission originally denied Palmer's request for the bridge, but the skybridge returned a few months later in response to a push by Councilmember Jose Huizar. The Da Vinci plans went up in flames, literally, when the under-construction building caught fire in early December. That spectacular fire has rendered that bridge argument moot, at least for now, as only one of the project's two buildings will open anytime soon.
Critics argue that the skybridges are bad for the pedestrian environment surrounding the buildings and are not aesthetically pleasing. The proposed Da Vinci bridge would have spanned a section of Temple that has very little foot traffic, which the developers argued was a matter of safety, allowing residents to avoid any possible interaction with people who choose not to live in Palmer's overpriced monstrosities. The area around the Broadway Palace, however, already has a very healthy pedestrian environment and will only improve as Broadway continues its impressive comeback. Palmer also apparently doesn't see any connection between his ever-present skybridges and difficulties leasing out the street-level retail space in his mixed-use developments such as the Orsini (which also suffers from a horrible, fortress-like design).
Will the Broadway Palace pedestrian bridge encounter any pushback, like with the Da Vinci? Or will the Department of City Planning grant Palmer his bridge wish? And what about that skybridge that's already a block away?
· Fauxtalian Fortress Developer Geoff Palmer Planning Non-Horrific Apartments For Southern Broadway [Curbed LA]
· Guess Who Wants Another Pedestrian Bridge? [Building LA]
· 7 Awful Stories About the Man Destroying Downtown LA [Curbed LA]