In the past couple months I've written about four different projects around California that are being built by or for Korean-based companies. Together these projects total more than $1.5 billion.

The largest of the projects is the $1billion Wilshire Grand, which will take the crown of tallest building in Downtown Los Angeles when it opens in late 2016. Developed Korean Air Lines Co, the new hotel and office project will stand 1,100 ft-tall, with 73 stories and a distinctive architectural spire at the top.

"The Wilshire Grand Hotel and office development will change the corner of Wilshire and Figueroa with an iconic building that will redefine the downtown skyline," said Korean Air Chairman Yang-Ho Cho at a recent press conference.

Spanning roughly two million sq-ft, the project was designed by Los Angeles-based Architect AC Martin Partners and is being built by Turner Construction Co. Structural engineering is being led by Thornton Tomasetti, along with Brandow & Johnston, Inc.

The project features a 900-room, luxury hotel above 400,000 sq-ft of office space and more than 45,000 sq-ft of retail. There will also be an 1,100-stall parking garage seven levels below grade and a signature spire atop the structure.

From Korean airplanes to Korean automobiles, another big project is the new $150 million headquarters building for Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley, CA, 35 miles south of Los Angeles.

The facility includes a 504,000-sq-ft Gensler-designed headquarters building, being constructed by Hyundai AMCO; and a 502,589-sq-ft parking structure, designed by International Parking Design and being erected by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

The four-story HQ building, which is targeting LEED Gold, is currently about 40 % complete. It will be highlighted by a glass facade and a Hyundai vehicle showroom visible from the freeway.

“This represents Hyundai’s vision for the future... and reflects our commitment to invest in and benefit the communities in which we operate around the world," said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik in a press release.

When the headquarters complex is complete it will more than double the size of the Korean automaker’s previous 20-yr-old headquarters in Fountain Valley and will house 1,300 workers, including 500 new local positions.

And then there is tech giant Samsung, which is investing in construction in Northern California's Silicon Valley like some sort of Apple, Google or Facebook. Two of the biggest projects underway for the company are the $300 million R&D headquarters for Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. (SSI) in San Jose; and the $100 million build-to-suit R&D center for Samsung Information Systems America (SISA) Inc. in Mountain View.

The 1.1 million sq-ft San Jose project, located on the current site of its semiconductor and display panel businesses, was designed by NBBJ. When complete in the fourth quarter of 2014, the project will boast a 10-story tower, an amenity pavilion and parking garage. The new campus will be built around a central plaza, overlooking a golf course and will be constructed to LEED Gold standards.

In Mountain View, about 10 miles north of San Jose, SISA's new R&D center is being developed by San Francisco-based TMG Partners. Designed by San Francisco-based Studios Architecture, this 385,000-sq-ft project includes two, six-story research and development buildings and two, five-story parking structures with 550 spaces each.

The new 8.9-acre campus is aiming for LEED Platinum and will utilize sustainable features such as natural daylighting, sunshading, photovoltaic panels, high-efficient glass, and a 5-zone thermodynamic heating and cooling system that reduces and eliminates reheat energy and increases system efficiency.

The project also offers 41 percent of its site for park-like open spaces, is within 2,000 ft of light rail, will offer bicycle storage and changing rooms, and will create a new shuttle system to and from the campus to Downtown Mountain View and the local Caltrain Station.


To be built Milpitas, CA-based Devcon Construction, the project is scheduled to break ground this summer and be complete at the end of 2014.