Built in 1989 and for now still the tallest building in the West, the US Bank Tower in Downtown LA's Financial District was floundering as recently as 2013, when the 72-story building was about half empty. But new owners OUE and the significant renovations they have underway now have increased interest in the tower, which will soon have dual observation decks on its sixty-ninth floor (for two times the tourist-trapping ability), as well as a luxurious new event space and a restaurant up top. And building occupancy? It's up to 75 percent, an OUE senior vice president tells the Downtown News. And there are more wild additions on the way that'll help position the building as more than just an office tower.
"We're fixing the infrastructure. We're upgrading our signage. We want to add some energy to the Maguire Gardens amenity," the senior VP says. The two observation decks will be the tallest in California, and formally be known as Skyspace. The seventieth floor, one level up, will hold a bar and a private event space; renderings have shown the two floors connected by a staircase. Up on the seventy-first floor, there will be a restaurant called 71Above. The seventy-second floor is rented up, but the rep says "We're considering new ideas for the 72nd floor when the current office tenant rolls over. This is just the start."
The estimated $100 million in improvements aren't restricted to the top floors, though. The building's lobby and façade along Fifth Street will be transformed (more glass to open it up to the sidewalk a bit), as will the building's entrance at Hope Place. Reports from when the project was first officially announced also mentioned that a huge 126-by-17 foot video screen will be put up in the lobby.
Meanwhile, the fifty-fourth floor "will host an array of interactive tech exhibits, including a virtual 360-degree 'topography wall' with Los Angeles points of interest and an 'infinity mirror' that seems to peer into the building's core." Shuttling both tenants and visitors to these new sections of the building will be revamped elevators equipped with "destination dispatch," which will translate into a more efficient ride.
The Gensler-designed overhaul of the building is expected to be done around the middle of 2016.
The US Bank Tower isn't the only building on the block getting refurbished. Just next door, the new owners of the 1920s-era One Bunker Hill are going to be making some changes as well, taking off the glass coverings on outdoor patios so they can once again become outdoor space and generally seeking to highlight the structure's Art Deco roots.
· U.S. Bank Tower's Big Comeback [LADN]
· First Look at Sky-Scraping Observation Deck Coming to the US Bank Building [Curbed LA]