Standing Ovation

34-story tower coming to L.A.'s historic theater district

(Courtesy SCG America)

American subsidiary of Shanghai Construction Group, SCG America (SCGA) is working to erect a 34-story high-rise along Downtown Los Angeles’s up-and-coming Broadway Theatre District.

The project, among the first works of new construction along the stately, urban corridor that’s home to L.A.’s mostly-vacant historic theaters and playhouses, will contain 450 condominium units and 7,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Preliminary renderings for the project, dubbed Broadway@4th by the developer, show a mid-rise, twelve-story podium topped by a 22-story tower that is stepped back from the building’s primary facades. The twelve-story podium features a rounded corner, large, punched openings, vertically-oriented pilasters, and is built up to the property line, with storefronts clad in large expanses of plate glass.

Courtesy SCG America / HansonLA

Courtesy SCG America

The structure is notable because it’s among one of the first new structures to be designed and constructed in the so-called “Broadway Design Overlay District,” a special zoning designation applied to the eight-block stretch of Broadway between 2nd Street and Olympic Boulevard. The “Broadway Theater District” as the neighborhood is known, is made up of richly decorated, mixed use, early skyscraper structures from the Adler & Sullivan era. The structures, generally rising no more than ten or twelve stories in height, constitute one of the most intact collections of buildings remaining from Los Angeles’s original downtown fabric.

Since the post-World War II era, the neighborhood lived through a prolonged nadir, being used primarily as the city’s jewelry district, with storefronts occupied by the sounds and smells of diamond cutting and gold plating, while office and residential floors above lay mostly unused. In recent years, that has existence has begun to change course as the L.A. downtown’s gentrification builds momentum. In 2013, Millennial-focused clothing and home accessories juggernaut Urban Outfitters renovated and occupied the district’s Rialto Theatre, setting off a sea change in real estate values along the corridor. It was announced earlier this year that Apple would be opening a storefront in the Tower Theatre next door to Urban Outfitters on a street now crowded with highbrow retail destinations.

The tower is scheduled to break ground in October of this year and is expected to finish construction by 2020.

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