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Hearst Castles
Two of three by Morphosis at LA downtown development

On November 6, Los Angeles City Council upheld the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the redevelopment of the 1913 Herald Examiner building on the southern end of downtown. The move effectively pushed forward the long-delayed scheme, which is being developed by Hearst Communications and—very significantly—includes construction of two nearby condominium towers by Morphosis.

The original EIR had been adopted in October 2006, but was appealed by Conquest Student Housing, a company that provides student housing at nearby USC. The November 6 council measure denied that appeal. The Mission Revival-style Herald Examiner building, at 1111 South Broadway, has been closed since 1989, when the Hearst-owned newspaper folded. According to the EIR, the renovated building will include 40,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of retail space. Preservation architect Brenda Levin, who has helped refurbish City Hall, the Wiltern Theater, and Grand Central Market, among other buildings, will oversee the building’s rehab.

Morphosis’ new towers, located on 1108 South Hill Street and 1201 South Main Street, will include a 24-story, 268-unit building on the site of the old Herald Examiner Press Building and a 37-story, 319-unit building, which will be built at the site of a former parking lot. Hearst would not release renderings, but according to the EIR both buildings will draw on the heavy structural grid of the Herald Examiner building for inspiration. For example the Hill Street building will have a concrete wall structural system, continuous concrete balconies, and exterior materials that could include terra cotta, red cement fiberboard, pre-finished sheet metal, or glass fiber reinforced concrete. The towers are expected to be completed by 2009 and 2010.

The project is also set to include a 50-foot-wide landscaped courtyard between the Herald Examiner Building and the new Hill Street building, and streetscape improvements including tree plantings, new sidewalks, and a possible new landscape median along Broadway. 

Sam Lubell