Over nearly five decades, the hotel at the corner of Figueroa Street and Wilshire Boulevard stood as a downtown Los Angeles landmark despite several name changes that accompanied changes in ownership. By the time demolition of the building began in 2012, it had regained its original 1952 name—Wilshire Grand Hotel, but it was no longer the Los Angeles icon that it had once been.
Seeking to revive the iconic status of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, Korean Air, which owns the property, drew up plans to demolish the old building and build the tallest building on the West Coast, rising 1,100 feet into the sky upon completion. After demolition of the old Wilshire Grand was completed, construction of the ambitious new project began in February 2014.
On March 8, 2016, more than two years after construction began, construction workers, architects, and engineers gathered to celebrate the topping out ceremony: the completion of the 892 foot central concrete core of the building. Made of 32,000 cubic yards of concrete and 50 million pounds of rebar, the building of the core was an incredible feet.
The ceremony was a momentous event that represented the hope of everyone involved that the Wilshire Grand Center would not only transform the Los Angeles skyline, but transform and revitalize Los Angeles’ downtown area.
Over the next year, the building’s tower will rise another 200 feet, and the interior will be made ready to house 67,000 square feet of retail, 677,000 square feet of office space, and 900 hotel rooms comprising the InterContinental Hotel.
The developers of the property are likely hoping that the cache that comes with being “the tallest” will attract retail and office tenants as well. Based on several other “tallest” West Coast towers currently under construction, it seems that the demand for skyscrapers with breathtaking views is strong.
The 4/C tower in Seattle is another mixed use project incorporating housing, hotels, offices, and retail that is expected to reach 1,111 feet upon completion. The Salesforce tower in San Francisco, which was also vying for the “tallest on the West Coast” title, is set to fall just short of the title at 1,070 feet.