Comments Off on Construction activity in DTLA remains robust amid pandemic

COVID-19 hammered the nation’s economy in 2020, but downtown Los Angeles still saw significant construction activity and the 10 largest projects underway have a combined value of more than $3 billion, according to a year-end report from the Downtown Center Business Improvement District.

“Downtown over the last 20 years, and in particular over the past two years, has become a world-class city center,” said Nick Griffin, the organization’s executive director. “It was originally more of an office center, but the residential community has grown significantly.”

Four major apartment communities came online in 2020, adding more than 1,400 units to the city’s mix. They include:

Amp Lofts, 695 S. Santa Fe Ave – 320 units

THEA at Metropolis, 1000 W. 8th St., 685 units

1133 Hope, 1133 Hope St., 208 units

HWH Luxury Living, 354 S. Spring St., 188 apartments

Griffin said the uptick in residential construction began with the adaptive reuse of older office buildings.

“That spurred the first wave and then it built from there,” he said. “It’s led to a great deal of demand and the real estate community has responded to that. There are lots of surface parking lots and under-utilized industrial buildings and warehouses.”

The prospect of downtown living appeals to a broad range of people, from young single or married professionals without children to retired executives looking to downsize and be near the city’s core.

Scores of other residential communities, mixed-use developments, hotel projects and office developments either broke ground or were under construction in 2020.

Developments already under construction in 2020 included The Grand, a Frank Gehry-designed, $1 billion mixed-use development on Bunker Hill in the Financial District, citizenM Hotel, an 11-story hotel, being built with prefabricated modular units in the Financial District, and 755 S. Figueroa, a 64-story apartment tower with 784 units, also in the Financial District.

The Grand is scheduled to be completed in 2022. It will include 176,000 square feet of retail and a 20-story, 309-room hotel with 12,000 square feet of meeting rooms and ballrooms. Another 27,000 square feet will accommodate restaurants, lounges and other amenities.

A groundbreaking was also held for Fig+Pico, a mixed-use development adjacent to Los Angeles Convention Center. The Lightstone Group project will include a 37-story tower with two hotels, 727 guestrooms and 8,600 square feet of restaurant and retail space.

Eighth Figueroa, a 42-story tower with 438 apartments and 7,500 square feet of retail space in the city’s Financial District, also broke ground in 2020.

Downtown L.A. also saw some notable investment sales last year, including Silverstein Properties’ purchase of the US Bank Tower for $430 million, the sale of 915 Wilshire for $196 million to German investors and Avalon Bay Communities’ purchase of the Showa Marine cold storage site in the Arts District, which is entitled for 475 live/work units and roughly 50,000 square feet of retail.

Three major projects are set to open in 2021, including an Apple store at the historic Tower Theater at 8th and Broadway, Halo, a food hall with several prominent tenants, including Trejo’s Tacos and Shake Shack, and The Yard, which involved the renovation of The Water Court outdoor plaza/performance venue, and the Angels Flight terminus.

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