South Park, an area that was largely uninhabitable two decades ago, is undergoing a renaissance.
In the latest example of the neighborhood’s transformation, a mixed-use complex is preparing to rise to 66 stories near the bustling L.A. Live complex.
Dubbed the Figueroa Centre, the massive development would span 1 million square feet at 911 – 927 South Figueroa Street. It would include a 220-room hotel, 200 condominiums, retail, meeting and event space, a school, and restaurants.
Details about the sprawling mixed-use development were scant until recently, when the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council published architectural plans for the site.
Renderings from architect CallisonRTKL portray a sky-high glassy building with a large podium at ground level. The nine-story podium would feature a multi-level atrium, shops, a ballroom, restaurants and parking, according to the architectural plans.
The hotel portion, spanning 17 floors, would rise above the podium, while 35 stories of condominiums would dominate the upper floors.
Overall, the project would be 975 feet tall, making it the third-tallest building in L.A. if completed today.
Daun St. Amand, senior vice president at CRTKL, said the firm strived to create a “timeless, elegant design” with the Figueroa Centre. The project’s height was a response to its wide scope, he added.
First hatched six years ago by developer Regalian LLC, the project is now in the entitlements phase, St. Amand said.
Two years ago, Regalian, based in Glendale, filed plans for the project. Regalian is controlled by Justin Leong, who appears to be tied to the founder of Genting Group, a massive Malaysian conglomerate that operates casinos, resorts and energy businesses. The Real Deal was unable to confirm the exact relationship.
The project has received support from the Central City Association and Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. To proceed further, it would still need approvals from the Planning Commission and City Council.
Patricia Berman, chair of the Downtown neighborhood council, said Figueroa Centre was especially attractive because it would provide a school in the area. The Metro Charter Elementary School moved to Lincoln Heights last year, creating a void in Downtown.
“Even if it is a smaller, or private school, it would be very helpful to Downtown because we have so very little right now,” she said.
Figueroa Centre is one of the many upscale developments taking shape in South Park. Pending final approvals from City Council, City Century’s $1 billion Olympia project is set to rise just a few blocks away from the Figueroa Centre, bringing 1,000 hotel rooms and more than 870 apartments. Metropolis, meanwhile, is slated to open its highly anticipated third tower later this year.
While there have been an influx of apartment units on the market, the inventory of upscale condominiums still lags compared to demand, said Yvonne Arias, founder of the Property Lab, which is based in the L.A. Live complex.
“There aren’t many areas in L.A. that allow high rises,” Arias said.
Once the $1 billion Oceanwide project picks up again, and the Figueroa Centre is completed, South Park will be transformed into “a little Beverly Hills of Downtown Los Angeles,” Arias said.
But challenges remain. Oceanwide, the stalled project perched in the middle of Downtown, has proven to be a sore spot among Downtown residents.
During a neighborhood council meeting on Tuesday evening, Berman said residents brought up the half-built project several times.
“The one thing that we talked about all evening is, ‘Whatever you do, please finish it. Don’t start it and leave it half-finished.’”