A design and development team headed by the Korea-based Hanjin Group has unveiled the final plans for the construction of the tallest building west of the Mississippi River in downtown Los Angeles’ burgeoning Financial District.
The new, 73-floor, 1,100 foot Wilshire Grand Tower will surpass LA’s current tallest skyscraper – the 1,018 foot US Bank Tower – and be capped by an iconic sail-shaped architectural feature that will be illuminated with LED lighting at night, a common sight in Asia’s flagship cities like Shanghai.
The Hanjin Group – parent to both Korean Air and the Hanjin Shipping Co. – is partnering on the project with AC Martin, one of Los Angeles’ most prolific architectural design firms.
The new tower will include a 900-room, 4-star hotel occupying the upper floors with a unique “sky lobby” on the 70th floor where hotel guests will arrive in less than a minute in “one of the fastest dual high-speed elevators in the world,” according to ACMartin CEO, Chris Martin.
From there, hotel guests will be able to access their rooms by taking elevators down from the lobby. In addition, the tower will include 400,000 square feet of office space below the hotel floors.
On the ground level, which is where the bulk of people will interact with the structure, 45,000 square feet of commercial retail space will be available, while, across the street, a “pedestrian friendly, beautifully landscaped plaza [will] provide open space and promote community among hotel guests, business owners, downtown residents and civic leaders,” according to the Wilshire Grand website.
A Smaller Than Usual Helipad
The biggest game changing feature of all will be the addition of a small, inconspicuous helipad on the building’s ‘sail’ that will allow helicopters to land in an emergency.
Because of local fire codes, all high-rise buildings constructed in Los Angeles after 1974 have flat roofs accommodating large helipads – a design standard that’s given the city its uniquely curious ‘stumpy’ skyline that lacks the defining landmark towers so common in major cities around the world.
The modified helipad was allowed by authorities because of advances in building technology involving the structure’s elevator shafts being constructed within a reinforced concrete core.
Called “hardened elevators,” the lift technology actually exceeds all existing fire safety standards making the building even safer in emergency situations, thus allowing people to use the faster elevators, not the stairs, to reach safety in the event of an emergency.
The new building will be at the corner of 7th and Figueroa Streets on the site of the old 15-story Wilshire Grand Hotel, which is currently being demolished.
Completion of the Wilshire Grand Tower is scheduled for March 2017.