Is Downtown L.A. Embracing New Urbanism?

May 11, 2017

Is Downtown L.A. Embracing New Urbanism?

May 8, 2017 | by Michael Abergel | Commercial Property Executive

row of apartment buildings near coronado beach, san diego

As a construction boom transforms the city, California’s capital of car culture is embracing the principles of density, walkability and verticality.

Los Angeles is the second-largest U.S. city by population, yet for decades its downtown lacked the look and feel of a “real” city. The sine qua non of urban life—density, walkability, night life, verticality—were conspicuously absent. A series of major developments began to breathe life into downtown L.A. as far back as the 1980s skyscraper boom, but it’s the projects currently underway that will accelerate the downtown’s urbanization and cement its big-city cred.

The city’s downtown is in the midst of its largest construction boom in nearly a century, owing to an influx of foreign investment and its emergence as a hot spot for tech and creative firms. Recent and current construction includes towers that will significantly alter L.A.’s skyline, Wilshire Grand Center, which became the tallest building west of the Mississippi last September when it topped out at 1,100 feet above street level. Korean Air and Hanjin Development Corp’s $1.1 billion project will encompass 400,000 sf of office space and a 900-key hotel, the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, when it opens later this year.

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