Related signs on for LA’s Grand Avenue

Related has announced that it has signed an agreement with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group expressing intent to manage the hotel component at the prestigious Grand Avenue development in downtown Los Angeles.The hotel will occupy the first 20 floors of a 48-story tower designed by Frank Gehry that will feature luxury for-sale residences on the upper floors. The 275-room hotel, expected to open in Summer 2010, will introduce a world-renowned hotel to downtown that will attract new and diverse visitors to the city center.

“This marks a major milestone for Grand Avenue in our mission to create downtown Los Angeles’ premier destination,” said Stephen M. Ross, Chairman and CEO of Related. “Mandarin Oriental is legendary for its service and unsurpassed in hotel management and we intend to set a new standard for this region.” He noted that Mandarin Oriental is highly sought after, but is extremely selective in its choice of venues. Related and the AAA Five-Diamond Mandarin Oriental New York at Related’s Time Warner Center have together sold out The Residences at Mandarin Oriental New York which defined Five Star Living.

“This is great news for Grand Avenue and for downtown Los Angeles,” said Eli Broad, chairman of the Grand Avenue Committee that has overseen the management of the redevelopment project for the past five years. “We are pleased with the prospect of having a hotelier of the stature of the Mandarin Oriental in what will be the most stunning high-rise in Los Angeles in the center of a burgeoning cultural district.”

The hotel will create 400 to 500 new jobs for Los Angeles in addition to attracting visitors that will shop, dine and enjoy an evening’s entertainment at one of downtown’s many venues. The hotel will occupy the lower floors of an iconic 48-story tower designed by Frank Gehry. A dramatic soaring entrance lobby will take full advantage of its location directly opposite Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Set among 250,000 square feet of specialty retail and world-class restaurants, the tower will be the architectural centerpiece of Grand Avenue and will house luxury residential units on its upper floors above the hotel, which will feature dramatic and sweeping views.

Set on a full city block of four acres directly across the street from the city’s signature Disney Hall, the first phase of Grand Avenue is slated to start construction late this year. Its mix of retail, restaurants and public amenities as well as the hotel and residential condominiums will create a destination that is pedestrian-friendly and attractive to residents and visitors.

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Gehry’s design for this large urban site is influenced by its context. It weaves landscaped public spaces into the neighborhood with both street-front and multi-level retail, plazas, terraces and walkways with expansive view corridors and pedestrian connections to downtown’s cultural center, the new civic park and adjoining Grand Avenue, First, Second, and Olive Streets. The form and scale of the buildings respect Disney Hall and will create a striking landmark for the Grand Avenue neighborhood.

A broad spectrum of retail is planned in Grand Avenue phase one including a 50,000-square-foot specialty food market, a major bookstore, a food hall, a 35,000-square-foot premier health club, a 25,000-square-foot event facility, signature retailers and specialty apparel shops. A collection of local, regional and nationally recognized restaurants will play a major role in establishing the ambiance and appeal of this new downtown destination.

“We have received an enthusiastic response from a significant number of impressive retailers and restaurateurs, and are in serious discussions with many who have strong interest in locating at Grand Avenue,” noted Kenneth A. Himmel, president and CEO, Related Urban Development. “We anticipate announcing additional commitments in the near future.”

The entire nine-acre Grand Avenue mixed-use redevelopment comprises 450,000 square feet of retail, the 275-room hotel and up to 2,600 residences, providing a new and dynamic community for downtown as well as a Southern California destination that will engage the region’s more than 17 million residents and 24 million annual visitors.
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