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Tallest Building in the West Opens to Great Fanfare

June 29, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The billion-dollar Wilshire Grand Center in downtown Los Angeles celebrated its grand opening last Friday, ushering in a new age and downtown skyline for the city.

Valued at over $1 billion, the Wilshire Grand Center celebrated its grand opening on 23 June, 2017, at Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street in downtown L.A. The day of celebrations included a ribbon cutting and cornerstone signing ceremony featuring featured comments from city and state elected officials as well as Yang Ho Cho, Chairman of Hanjin Group.  Also commenting were Chris Martin, Chairman and CEO of the center’s designers and developers, A.C. Martin; Elie Maalouf, CEO of The Americas InterContinental Hotels Group, and Peter Davoren, Turner Construction President and CEO. 

The celebration concluded with a nighttime light show — accompanied by music — presenting a dazzling spectacle of the building’s signature 73-story-high LED lighting as it illuminated the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. 

The grand opening is a significant occasion for the city and for the project that began construction with a record-breaking concrete mat pour in February 2014. Over the past five years, 11,500 workers spent 5,433,012 hours constructing the skyscraper that features Los Angeles’s first sky lobby, a sky deck, innovative outdoor spaces, exterior plazas and light features that will redefine the skyline and living experience of downtown Los Angeles for generations to come.   

“This is the culmination of a dream and the completion of a promise. I have long dreamed of reinvesting in Los Angeles, my second home. We promised a world-class project and we delivered the crown jewel of Figueroa Street. This is a proud moment,” said Chairman Cho.

 “The Wilshire Grand is designed as a tribute to, and for, the city of Los Angeles,” said Chris Martin, CEO and President of A.C. Martin, the firm responsible for the building’s design. “Seeing this project come to fruition is a momentous occasion and symbol of pride for the entire city, and for all those who work, live and stay in Los Angeles.” 

The Wilshire Grand Center is an eco-friendly building that is built with state-of-the-art construction methods. It’s designed to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake by using the Bucking Restrained Braces (BRB) method that is especially important in a region affected by Pacific Rim earthquakes. It also was designed as an environmentally-friendly building to meet the “Green California” guidelines set forth by the state government. As a result, the building reflects the philosophy of an environmentally-conscious hotel and was acknowledged for its efforts by receiving a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the American Green Building Council, a private environmental organization in the United States. 

The new hotel also provides a different experience that cannot be found in other hotels in the region. The lobby of the hotel is located on the 70th floor, allowing guests the unique experience of checking in while enjoying the skyline and spectacular views of downtown L.A.  The glass doors in the hotel’s ballrooms provide views onto the gardens and add a special touch that isn’t found in other hotels. In addition, guest rooms are equipped with retractable windows, so guests can enjoy the beautiful Los Angeles weather.

 Between the top floor and the lower office levels, the hotel will have 900 luxury rooms. On the building’s lower floors, there are offices, convention space and commercial uses. The Hanjin Group expects the Wilshire Grand Center to become a source of pride for L.A.’s Korean community as well as a new landmark in the city. 

The Wilshire Grand Center is also expected to support Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Accommodations are a key element for hosting the Olympics and it is anticipated that the opening of Wilshire Grand Center will help differentiate L.A. from its competition.

 “The InterContinental® Los Angeles Downtown hotel is a flagship property for the world’s largest luxury hotel brand,” said Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer of The Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group, which will operate the hotel. “The Wilshire Grand, home of the new hotel, is a remarkable building and an iconic landmark for the city, and we are proud to work with Korean Air and Hanjin International Corporation to open this new marquee property.” 

“The Wilshire Grand embodies the transformation of Downtown L.A. — it has created tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and is bringing new energy and opportunity to a growing neighborhood,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I stood with Chairman Cho and this incredible project team when we laid the foundation for this building three years ago, and I’m proud to see it open for business today.”  

“The Wilshire Grand is not just the tallest building West of the Mississippi, but an entertainment destination that is a true testament to downtown Los Angeles’s bright future and vibrant culture,” said City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who represents the downtown area. “I am pleased to join the project team and the entire DTLA community in celebrating the grand opening of a building that shines beautiful light — literally and figuratively — on our entire City.”

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