Most of us drive by skyscrapers in major cities without ever thinking about how they stand up. In Los Angeles and most other major cities, they have to stand up to the politics, the winds, the storms, the earthquakes, and an occasional change of developer, owner and/or General Contractor, especially in landmark $1 billion projects.
On the new Wilshire Grand Center in LA, almost all of those factors came into play over the years before construction even began. What started with a handshake in true Texas style between two USC graduates is now becoming the tallest tower west of the Mississippi River, but that journey has been quite turbulent at times.
Last week, we posted a commentary on the outstanding writing of Thomas Curwen at the LA Times on the chronology of the Big pour, the record setting 18-foot deep concrete and steel mat placed five stories below street level that will support the new Wilshire Grand Center, scheduled for completion in 2016. Before the old hotel could be torn down and the city block excavated, lots of turbulence had already occurred. Curwen tells several stories in the second article that are intertwined into an interesting plot that made me wonder whether and how the building would come alive.
The original project, designed by Chris Martin’s firm A.C. Martin, planned to tear down the existing hotel and to build two towers: a hotel and an office tower. The original developer selected by the owner Yang Ho Cho, CEO of KAL, for the project was Thomas Properties. Read more » about There Is More To The Story Than The Tower