City approves plans to redevelop hotel in downtown Los Angeles

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The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to approve plans for a massive redevelopment of the Wilshire Grand Hotel. After two years of planning, a 13-1 vote approved plans for a groundbreaking development in downtown Los Angeles. The estimated $1.2 billion project will include a 45-story reconstruction of the Wilshire Grand Hotel with an accompanying 65-story office building.

image “I’m really amazed at how anyone could be opposed to this,” Councilman Dennis Zine said. “How anyone in their right mind would be opposed to this project that’s going to bring jobs, economy and help downtown Los Angeles.”

The agreement is between the city and two private companies, Thomas Properties and Korean Air. Council member Jan Perry says the project will bring in $22 million a year for the city’s general fund in 2015. Developers say it will bring in more than 7,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. The head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Maria Elena Durazo, is in full support.

“We ask you to not only support it, but to hold it up as an example that we want all employers and all developers to follow,” Durazo said.

The city council’s plans were met with some skepticism. Digital signage and LED lighting would cover the two huge buildings from top to bottom. Barbara Broide of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight said the signs could create a safety hazard to motorists on the 110 Freeway.

“You have abdicated your responsibility to protect our safety from these signs that are designed to catch the attention of all who pass,” Broide said.

The vast majority of the audience in city hall, however, was excited about the redevelopment.

“I just spoke to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and they both support this project,” said Kevin Norton, member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The existing Wilshire Grand Hotel is set to be demolished in December as part of the approved agreement.