New Wilshire Grand Will Be the West Coast’s Tallest Tower

01.26.2015 | Blog

The Wilshire Grand is comin’ for you, US Bank Tower–today developer Korean Air is unveiling its final plans for the *73-story tower (which is already under construction; demolition on the old Wilshire Grand began last fall) and turns out it’ll be 1,100 feet tall including its spire; the US Bank is a puny 1,018 feet. That will make Wilshire Grand the tallest building on the West Coast. Our world is tilting off its axis just a little today. Furthermore, it’ll be LA’s first tower since 1974 built without a flat top. AC Martin Partners designed the building, which “will be capped by an iconic sail-shaped architectural feature that will be illuminated with LED lighting at night,” according to blogger Brigham Yen. (This lighting was the source of an enormous amount of contention during the project’s approval process; supposedly it can’t possibly be used for advertising.) The development started life as an office/hotel project two towers–one 45 stories and the other 65–but was rejiggered last year into a single tower with 900 hotel rooms, 400,000 square feet of office space, groundfloor retail, and a top-floor “sky lobby” reached by “one of the fastest dual high-speed elevators in the world.”

The Wilshire Grand will also be a gamechanger in the skyline department–it’s Downtown’s first modern tower to be built without a rooftop helipad, meaning it won’t have to have a flat roof. (It’ll have a smaller helipad on the sail part.) Downtown’s unfortunate shaved-off look is the result of a 1974 fire safety ordinance, but according to Yen, “The change was allowed by the LA Fire Department due to new advances in building technology involving the structure’s elevator shafts to be reinforced within a concrete core, which actually elevates the fire safety standard making the building even safer in emergency situations.”

by Adrian Glick Kudler