I was on the 34th floor of the AON Center building in Downtown Los Angeles the other day, when I glanced out an office window and caught an awesome glimpse of the new Wilshire Grand Center project going up across the street in the middle of LA skyscrapers. Highlighted by a massive concrete core, with structural steel rising around it, the project site is now flanked by a giant cantilever crane, which arrived last month.
The cantilever platform starts at the 7th floor and the crane is currently on the 19th floor, making its way up the structure as the steel rises. The device, towering above Wilshire Blvd., will help crews gain space in the tight downtown area to erect the future tallest building in the city.
Developed by Korean Air Lines Co., the new, roughly $1 billion hotel and office project will contain 73 stories and will rise to 1,100 ft, with a distinctive architectural spire at the top, making it taller than LA's current tallest building, the US Bank tower.
The roughly 2 million sq-ft development, scheduled for an early 2017 completion, was designed by Los Angeles-based architect AC Martin Partners and is being built by New York-based Turner Construction Co. Structural engineering is being led by Brandow & Johnston Inc., Los Angeles.
The project will be highlighted by a 900-room, luxury hotel above 400,000 sq ft of office space and more than 45,000 sq ft of retail. An 1,100-stall parking garage will occupy seven levels below grade.
The signature spire atop the structure will stand next to a tactical approach helicopter pad and will be a source of pride for project architects. In fact, Chris Martin, CEO of AC Martin Partners, told me in 2013 that this tower, with its iconic spire, is a "big deal because my grandfather did L.A. City Hall in the 1920s, and that is the only other building in the city that really has an architectural top." He said all the buildings in L.A. have flat, truncated tops, "so this is going to stand out—and we want it to."
Current work on the project includes concrete core and structural steel erection, along with the installation of required buckling restraint braces beginning at the 27th floor, says project spokesperson Sean Rossall.
The project also recently celebrated the one-year anniversary since it set a Guinness World Record for concrete pours when about 2,000 truckloads laid down more than 21,200 cu-yds of concrete that weighed about 84 million pounds - making it the largest uninterrupted pour of slurry on record, according to project officials.
The project is located on the site of the former Wilshire Grand hotel, which closed in 2011.