Photo Courtesy of AC Martin Partners
The 73-story tower would be the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles.

The New Hollywood Star

At 73 stories and 1,100 ft tall, the planned $1-billion Wilshire Grand is set to take the crown for the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles. Developed by Korean Air Lines Co., the project features a 900-room hotel, office, retail and seven levels of below-grade parking. Design of the roughly 2-million-sq-ft building was revealed earlier this month by Los Angeles architect AC Martin Partners.

The building also would be the city's first modern high-rise not to have a flat roof, a requirement fire officials waived because of an improved building-core design, says the architect. The proposed project would be built on the site of the shuttered Wilshire Grand hotel, which Turner Construction Co. began demolishing in September. Set for completion in 2016, the new tower will employ a lateral system with a concrete-core shear wall and, to help with building drift, a series of outrigger columns and braces. Brandow & Johnston, Los Angeles, is leading structural engineering.

Buried Hanford Tank Shows Signs of Recent Sludge Leaks

Evidence of additional leaking in an underground nuclear-waste storage tank at the U.S. Energy Dept.'s Hanford site in Washington state is raising new contamination concerns. The tank, which once held 447,000 gallons of radioactive waste from years of nuclear and plutonium production at the former weapons manufacturing site, may have leaked as much as 300 gallons of sludges a year recently, says Gov. Jay Inslee (D).

In a statement, DOE confirms that liquid levels in the single-shell tank T-111 have dropped. Put into service in 1945, the tank was labeled an "assumed leaker" in 1979 and had all its easily pumped liquid removed in 1995. The last known leak of one of Hanford's 177 tanks was mitigated in 2005. Well monitoring has not shown any "significant changes in concentrations of chemicals or radionuclides in the soil," says Inslee, but the only planned solution, he adds, is completion of Hanford's $12-billion-plus waste vitrification plant, now billions over budget and behind schedule. Says Inslee, "We can't just leave 149 single-shell tanks with high-level radioactive liquid and sludge sitting in the ground for decades after their design life."

Three States Get 'Sandy' Funds

The Federal Highway Administration has allocated $250 million to New York, $128 million to New Jersey and $5 million to Connecticut to reimburse them for costs of road and bridge repairs undertaken in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The $383 million for Sandy work is part of a $1-billion aid distribution FHWA made on Feb. 15 to 36 states and three territories. The other $634 million reimbursed states and territories for repairs after disasters that occurred as far back as 2002. The funds are part of the $2 billion FHWA received in a $50.5-billion disaster-relief appropriations bill enacted on Jan. 29.

Miami Airport Mixed-Use Project Could Get Approval This Spring

Miami International Airport will move ahead with a 33-acre mixed-use development called "Airport City at MIA," officials announced on Feb. 13. A team led by Odebrecht USA will finance, construct, operate and maintain the $512-million project under a 40-year lease with a 10-year extension option, says firm CEO Gilberto Neves. The contract is set to gain final county approval this spring.