Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Convention Center Hotel Design Unveiled! South Park Remains Architecture Free Zone!

The good news is that Downtown Los Angeles gets both a convention center hotel and its first 5 star hotel.

The bad news is that the project is yet another bland, corporate architectural firm designed box. While London and New York - not to mention most US cities - are hiring world class architects for many of the projects, other than Frank Gehry on Grand Avenue and a handful of other projects, downtown - and South Park and LA Live in particular - are becoming architectural black holes.

L.A. Convention Center to Get Major Hotel Tower

The complex would give downtown the magnet for business conferences it has lacked for years.

By Annette Haddad and Kimi Yoshino Times Staff Writers June 13, 2006

The remaking of downtown Los Angeles will gain a crucial missing piece today when developers unveil plans for a 1,000-room hotel complex — including a five-star Ritz-Carlton and a four-star Marriott Marquis — for the Convention Center.

Rising 54 stories, the $750-million project would be one of the largest buildings in Los Angeles at 2 million square feet. The proposed 124-room Ritz-Carlton would be the first five-star hotel downtown and, with the largest ballroom in the city, the planned 876-room Marriott Marquis would fill a void as a business meeting hub at the Convention Center.

The hotels are to be topped by 216 luxury condominiums. The project, scheduled to open in 2010, would anchor L.A. Live, the 27-acre sports-entertainment complex considered the linchpin of downtown's redevelopment.

It has taken two decades to land a major convention hotel, but the agreement by Marriott International Inc. with local developers to operate two luxury inns in the same glitzy Las Vegas-style high-rise raises hopes for reestablishing the city center as a top tourist and convention magnet.

"All of this is really a wonderful story about the emergence — and reemergence — of downtown Los Angeles as a strong economic center and a strong weight to the region's economy," said Stuart Gabriel, a USC professor and director of its Lusk Center for Real Estate.

The complex — with its upper stories to be sheathed in glass — is being jointly developed by KB Home, which is building the condos, and AEG, which is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, the developer of Staples Center.

It is being designed by San Francisco-based architecture firm Gensler.

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