Underwhelmed by conceptual plans for a key component of the Grand Avenue Project, Los Angeles city and county officials gave the developer three months to come up with a better idea for building a $650-million landmark across the street from Walt Disney Concert Hall.
They rescinded their decision to reject the conceptual plans last week, and granted developer Related Companies an extension to craft a new proposal.
"We are as hopeful as anyone that this project will get moving, and is going to be the first class kind of development that we'd like to see along Grand Ave," county Supervisor Gloria Molina said.
"I feel that site is the best corner in all of L.A. County and so we want the highest quality project," added county Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka. "I'm confident that with Related's renewed commitment to working with us, we will get there."
Related vice president Bea Hsu expressed relief that officials who make up the Grand Avenue Project Joint Powers Authority did not decide to start over with another developer.
"We're really glad to be back in a position to be carrying the project forward," she said. "We've made a very large investment ($120 million) in Grand Avenue -- delivered the park, facilitated the museum, constructing an apartment tower. The Authority rejected the conceptual plans unveiled by Related last week. Molina described it as "boxy" and "fort-like," adding it "doesn't have any architectural creativity whatsoever."
She and Fujioka felt the result would not stack up well against the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum, whose unique honeycomb exterior is under construction.
However, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad advised against replacing Related.
"Starting over with another developer will delay the project many years and undoubtedly produce a lesser project."
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