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Foreign Investors Contribute to L.A.'s Skyline

The redevelopment of Downtown L.A. continues to push ahead with overseas investment.

Investors and developers are rushing in to capitalize on the redevelopment of Downtown Los Angeles. Gateway cities like Los Angeles have always benefited from foreign investment. In this cycle, the influx of foreign capital is not only continuing the momentum of Downtown LA’s revitalization, it is also redefining its skyline.

Distinct East Asian Design in DTLA

South Korea’s Hanjin Group (which also owns Korean Air) has started construction on the Wilshire Grand Tower in LA’s financial district. The $1billion development will be mixed-use, containing a 73-story hotel and office buildings with 5 stories of underground parking. Upon completion in 2017, the development will be more than a 1000ft tall, overtaking the US Bank Tower for the title of tallest building West of Mississippi. This super skyscraper’s LED-lit, sail-shaped design will stand out among the otherwise flat-roofed buildings of DTLA. (The Wilshire Grand Tower was granted exception to the City's fire ordinance requiring a rooftop helipad thanks to its high-tech building design and safety technologies that "exceed the city's fire code".)

Tall buildings are challenging in seismically-active California, and the Wilshire Grand Tower is an impressive feat from a structural engineering perspective. The building is founded on the largest concrete pour in the history of man (at 21,200 cubic yards it’s in the Guinness book of records.) The structural engineering firms that worked on this project—California-based Brandow & Johnson, Inc. and Thornton Tomasetti (the company behind Malaysia’s Petronas towers and the NY Times building)—addressed seismic safety by designing the lateral loands to be borne by the reinforced concrete elevator column.

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