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Competition to Redesign Downtown LA's Hated Pershing Square Launches Tomorrow

About a year ago, a new nonprofit, Pershing Square Renew, was created to help finally do something about Downtown's concrete-y and much-hated Pershing Square. Already, there's been some progress at the park in the form of two new playgrounds, but all the major changes have yet to be decided. But today the LA City Council voted to let Pershing Square Renew launch an international design contest to reimagine the space—which has been around since the 1860s with several makeovers over the years—and to oversee project management and fundraising for the endeavor, according to a release from Councilmember Jose Huizar, who reps the area and helped create PSR.

The competition will be officially announced tomorrow and will "[cost] the city nothing," Huizar told City News Service. (Meaning nothing from the city's operations budget; some money from "city special funds" will likely be used.) Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners (which is building a big retail/residential project across the street) both kicked in $1 million toward redevelopment last year, and the developers of LA-Live-adjacent megaproject Metropolis contributed $250,000.

Pershing was left with the unpopular look it has today after a remodel in the early 1990s by architect Ricardo Legorreta; that's when it got its purple bell tower structure, red spheres, and that fountain. PSR has already held a few public workshops to try and divine what it is that people do and don't want to see at the park (live music and other cultural events were big favorites), and respondents to the design competition will likely be taking those things into consideration.
· City Council approves competition to redesign Pershing Square [MyNewsLA]
· Big Improvements Finally Coming to Awful Pershing Square [Curbed LA]
· The First Steps in Pershing Square's Less-Concretey Makeover [Curbed LA]
· 38 Photos of Pershing Square From 1866 to Today [Curbed LA]

Pershing Square

532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA