The Walt Disney Company announced plans this week to open new 14-acre Star Wars-themed extensions to both Disneyland and Disney World theme parks by 2019. Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced the new timeline via a quarterly earnings call. Disney has also released a series of artists renderings for the theme parks, showing stylized views of a mountainous, forested planet with many of the images depicting the Millennium Falcon spaceship. The theme park worlds are being designed in the manner of a remote, intergalactic trading post, according to the company. The parks will be set on a “never-before-seen planet—a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space—where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life,” by a representative on the Disney Parks blog. Disney began construction on Disneyland’s Star Wars-themed expansion in April of 2016. The project, announced with a $1 billion budget, has also spurred a slew of upscale developments in the Anaheim Resort District (ARD), a 1,100-acre, purpose-built hotel and entertainment area in downtown Anaheim. The area sits between the city’s convention center and the Disney theme parks and caters to both groups with increasingly high-end accommodations. Controversy has erupted in the area in recent months as luxury hotel developers have rushed to build new high-end units—using taxpayer subsidies—in anticipation of the new Star Wars theme park. Taken together, an expected 2,380 luxury hotel rooms are on the way across a variety of developments. Disney is planning to build its own 700-room hotel to overlook the new Star Wars theme park. A pair of 580-room developments by Wincome Group is also on the way. One, a 580-room complex, will be located adjacent to Disney’s California Adventure park while the second hotel will sit across from the convention center. That second project will contain an additional 40,000 square feet of meeting space. JW Marriott hotels also has a 466-room hotel planned for the area. The Wincome and Disney developments alone will receive a combined $550 billion in taxpayer subsidies; subsidy estimates on the Marriott property are not readily available. The subsidies come in the form of tax breaks, which could allow the hotel operators to keep as much as 90 percent of the taxes collected on site, sending only 10 percent back to the municipality. There are fears that the new developments would cannibalize business—and tax revenue—from existing hotels that do not have access to the subsidies. The new Star Wars lands will take over space formerly occupied by portions of Disney’s existing Frontierland and Critter Country grounds and will replace several attractions, including Big Thunder Ranch. Upon completion, the new Star Wars areas will be the largest single-theme expansions each of the respective parks has undergone.
Posts tagged with "Anaheim":
This week Los Angeles–based architects Johnson Fain revealed their plans for the first phase of upcoming renovations to Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, California. The building, completed in 1980 and part of a larger religious campus that contains notable structures by Richard Meier and Partners as well as Richard Neutra, will begin renovations this year. The iconic structure’s continuous glass panel exterior will be preserved during the renovation. A bulk of the new work will pertain to the building’s interior spaces, which are being reconfigured and expanded in order to accommodate a larger congregation. Plans revealed for the renovations include the reorientation of the worship spaces, with the existing, “antiphonal” arrangement with two singing groups on either side of the main stage being converted into a traditional Catholic altar configuration. In this arrangement, the choir will be located behind the altar with the altar itself pushed forward into the nave of the church. A new organ will be located further behind the choir, creating a new focal point for the cathedral. The new altar will also receive specially-calibrated devices the firm calls “quatrefoils” that will make for a more efficient distribution of light and forced air in the worship space. The proposed renovations come after several years of uncertainty for the church. The structure was purchased by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in 2011, after the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the church’s original congregation, declared bankruptcy. The building was subsequently rechristened as “Christ Cathedral” and has been awaiting renovation ever since. Neutra’s Arboretum building, a massive drive-in church located adjacent to the Crystal Cathedral structure, was renovated in 2014. During the public unveiling of the new plans in the cathedral, which took place during a day-long, 40th anniversary for the complex, the architects handed out virtual reality headsets to attendees and played the animation below.
Over the last ten years, Anaheim, California has seen steady growth in multi-family housing and mixed-use development that has—perhaps—begun to change the city’s reputation. The area was wiped almost totally clean in 1970s “urban renewal” efforts. With this influx of new residents and the addition of trend-conscious destination-amenities, like foodie market halls and “anti-malls,” Orange County developers have made strides in rebuilding and rebranding the municipality. However, a recently approved collection of publicly-subsidized, multi-billion dollar developments in the city's downtown—and near the Disneyland theme parks—are complicating downtown Anaheim's emerging narrative as a center for conscious consumerism. These developments include the construction of Disney’s new $1.5 billion Star Wars theme park, a $190 million expansion to the city’s convention center, and an increase in the luxury hotel supply that will cost $1.92 billion. Taken together, these projects will total a roughly $3.5 billion investment in the coming years. Moreover, they could shift the market in the so-called Anaheim Resort District (ARD), a 1,100-acre purpose-built hotel and entertainment development adjacent to downtown Anaheim aimed at convention-goers and theme park attendees, toward luxury tourism. In July, Anaheim approved three proposed luxury hotel developments for the area, aiming to bring an additional 1,914 new luxury rooms into operation within a few years. These projects include two developments by the Wincome Group: a 580-room hotel adjacent to Disney’s California Adventure park that will feature 50,000 square feet of meeting space and a 580-room hotel across from the convention center that will contain 40,000 square feet of meeting space. The third development involves a 700-room hotel by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts overlooking the Star Wars-themed Disney expansion. A press release for the Wincome project states that “design details of the properties are still to be announced” but preliminary renderings released by the development teams so far feature an assortment of architectural styles, including classical revival and contemporary. Disney’s development team has only released an artist's renderings of interior and poolside spaces. These developments are being built in addition to a previously-approved, 466-room JW Marriott hotel, also in the ARD, that is expected to begin construction next year. When combined, all four projects are due to add 2,380 luxury suites to the ARD and will encompass a building boom for luxury, “four diamond”-rated accommodations. Disney currently operates the only luxury hotel properties in the area on its theme park grounds, making the four additional hotel sites highly contested, especially considering that Wincome and Disney alone will receive a combined $550 billion in taxpayer subsidies to build their high-end hotels. The contentious use of these subsidies, which would send up to 90 percent of the taxes collected for each hotel bed back toward the operators (with the remainder going to the city), is amplified by the fact that the city still hasn’t finished paying off the initial round of public funding that led to the “four diamond” hotels Disney built in the late 1990s. Developers behind these new projects consider the subsidies necessary for their investments to pan out while city officials foresee a potential glut of luxury beds on the market. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait was quoted in the Orange Count Register as calling the tax plan “financially devastating” for the city. Opponents also contend the increase in luxury units will cannibalize revenue from currently-operating, non-subsidized hotel projects. Complicating things further, a concurrent, $2.34-billion project in the nearby “Platinum Triangle” district, a collection of office, retail, convention, and sports facilities that include the Anaheim Angels Stadium directly adjacent to the ARD, is also making its way toward final approval. The new areas are modeled on the L.A. Live development beside the Los Angeles Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles; they will include a medley of pedestrian-oriented amenities, including hundreds of condominiums and apartments as well as over a half million square feet of shopping, office, and leisure areas. The Anaheim Angels recently came out against the development, citing the project's lack of Environmental Impact Report and its potentially adverse impact on the team’s own shopping and commercial expansion planned for another stadium-adjacent site. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Anaheim Angels attorney Allan Abshez wrote in a letter to the city that the project would “cannibalize the Angels’ existing food, beverage and retail operations at Angel Stadium” adding further that this disruption would “fundamentally undermine the Angels’ negotiations to remain in Anaheim over the long term.” Because the Angels’ stadium is publically-owned and the city is unwilling to fund needed renovations for the stadium, the team intends to embark on their own building spree to raise revenue for renovations. With plans for a new $300 million streetcar linking the HOK-designed ARTIC transit hub to Downtown Anaheim and Disneyland moving toward approval and an estimated 28,000 new residents expected to move into the Platinum Triangle area over the next decade, it’s clear to see that no matter what happens, Anaheim is decidedly changing. The question is not how successful that transformation will be, but whether Anaheim will get a return on its investment in the long haul.
HOK’s ARTIC, Anaheim's high speed rail train station which AN featured today, is as much a story about technology and engineering as it is about high design. Slated to achieve a LEED Platinum rating, ARTIC is the product of an integrated, multidisciplinary BIM design process where key decisions about technology and engineering were brought into the design process from the beginning to achieve a high-tech, high-performance, and high-efficiency building. The building’s curved diagrid geometry, rationalized using CATIA, is like a contemporary reboot of the glass and steel structures that defined iconic terminals like Philadelphia’s Broad Street Station and New York City’s original Penn Station. The parabolic shell design was also utilized for its structural efficiency and for its environmental properties. For efficiency, the design team decided to go with ultra-lightweight ETFE pillows (1/100th the weight of glass). This allowed for significant reductions in foundation size and structural member dimensions. ARTIC is currently the largest ETFE-clad building in North America, with over 200,000 square feet of the high-tech material covering most of the building’s long-span shell. The ETFE system also helps to regulate heat gain and maximize daylighting while maintaining an environment that utilizes a mixed mode natural ventilation system. The building’s shape and translucent ETFE envelope work in concert with a radiant heating and cooling slab system in the public areas (optimized HVAC is used in office and retail spaces) to produce a microclimate through convection currents. This makes it possible for the building to be naturally ventilated most of the time. Heat rises and escapes through operable louvers at the top portions of the north and south curtain walls.
On Monday, the city of Anaheim cut the ribbon on one of the most important transit stations in California history: ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. The multi-modal building, designed by HOK with engineering by Thornton Tomasetti and Buro Happold, contains facilities for regional rail, bus, automobile, and even bicycles, not to mention shops and restaurants. And if all goes according to plan, it will eventually be the southern terminus for the state's High Speed Rail system. The wide-open, multi-level structure, which looks out at Anaheim's Honda Center and the surrounding mountains, is topped with a glowing, diamond-gridded ETFE roof and fronted by two of the largest self-supporting curtain walls in the world. Check back for a full critique of the LEED Platinum project in AN's next West issue. But for now enjoy some early shots from the opening day. We're impressed that it still looks a lot like the renderings.
Anaheim's Crystal Cathedral, designed by Philip Johnson in 1980, and containing more than 10,000 panes of mirrored glass, is one of Orange County's rare architectural treasures. Today the Roman Catholic Diocese, which purchased the church last year, announced that Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale will be leading its $29 million renovation. The exterior of the building will be essentially unchanged outside of cleaning and replacing damaged glass, but the interior will be heavily remodeled to upgrade access, sight lines, finishes, and environmental comfort. The renovation will also add significant new elements to adapt to the church's new Catholic focus (it had once been an evangelical church), including a new altar, a baptismal font, and new cathedral doors. "It's an open palette inside," said Diocese spokesperson Ryan Lilyengren, who likened the iconic exterior to a shell. The 34-acre campus, which includes seven buildings (including structures by Richard Meier and Richard Neutra), will also be master planned to support a larger array of events and, as Rios Clementi Hale principal Mark Rios put it, "unite the campus and make a place that welcomes the community." Twenty four teams applied for the renovation, a list that was pared down to four before this final decision. One of the nation's first "megachurches," the 2,750-seat church will host masses every day, according to Lilyengren. The church will close to the public at the end of October (services will be held in the interim in Neutra's adjacent arboretum), and renovation should be complete by 2015 or 2016.