The Los Angeles architect is finishing up designs for the Grand, a $1 billion residential, retail, and entertainment complex right across the street from his famous concert hall.
The parking garage, not-so-affectionately known as “the Tinker Toy garage” is a dead zone in the Bunker Hill neighborhood, which was itself bulldozed and made anew in a midcentury urban renewal scheme. The 24-hour, live-work-play district envisioned by civic leaders never materialized in full.
According to developer the Related Companies, construction is expected to begin in the fall. The Los Angeles Times reported Related was slated to build the project in 2004, but concerns about the project’s feasibility (a nice way of saying the design was too expensive), along with the 2008 recession, stalled work. This time, the developer is partnering with a real estate subsidiary of China Communications Construction Group, one of China’s largest companies, to fund the project.
Gehry told the paper he can “live within the constraints” of the budget. With its stylistic similarity to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the architect believes the Grand will stand out from other L.A. mixed-use developments he regards as uninspiring.
He added that terraces and a big plaza between the Grand and the concert hall will draw visitors and residents into the space. And there will be plenty of people: the grand will feature a 39-story tower with 113 condos and 323 apartments, as well as a 314-key, 20-story Equinox hotel. One-fifth of the apartments are set aside as affordable housing.
Just like the concert hall, the Grand’s metal walls will be fitted with projection-friendly cladding so images can be screened on its surfaces.
“You’ll see a lightness in the building,” Gehry told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s in the way we are relating to Disney hall. We are not building heavy stuff.”