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Look, Up in the Sky Downtown Gets Bird Brained, as Thousands of Tiny Vaux’s Swifts Roost in the Historic Core

A Supreme Court justice speaks.


High times at a hemp convention.



PROS Pick football games, win prizes.


Getting close to a Downtown Target.


A bike store with an indoor track.


L.A. Opera goes ‘Postino.’



by Ryan VaillancouRt staff wRiteR


s twilight falls over the Historic Core, casting a warm glow on the brick and stone buildings, Jeff Chapman cranes his neck toward the sky and waits for what he promises will be a worthy spectacle. Chapman, who works as the director of the Audubon Center at Debs Park in Highland Park, is standing on the roof level of a parking structure on Broadway just north of Fifth Street. With his brown Audubon cap and the highpowered binoculars dangling from his neck, he looks every bit the part of a bird watcher. But he seems out of place here. It’s about 6:10 p.m., and even if some exotic winged species were to fly across the sky, its call would be drowned out by the squealing brakes of rush hour buses. Then, at 6:19 p.m., Chapman perks up. “There they are,” he says excitedly. The sky above and around the Chester Williams Building, an abandoned brick edifice on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and Broadway, is dotted with a few dozen birds. In minutes, there are hundreds of them. Soon, the sky is full of the tiny creatures, which because of their diminutive size and rapidly flapping wings are often mistaken for bats. “Of course, they’re not bats,” Chapman says. “Bats are going out at night. The swifts are coming in.” Specifically, these are Vaux’s (rhymes with “foxes”) Swifts, a migratory species that travel up and down the West Coast of North and Central America, roosting along the way in groups of up to 10,000 in hollowed-out tree trunks, or as in this case, in abandoned chimney shafts. For at least the past year, the chimney of the 74-year-old Chester Williams Building has become the Vaux’s Swifts most prominent stopover point in Los Angeles, according to birders who track the species from the Pacific Northwest down to Central America. The swifts stop in Los Angeles around mid-April on their way north. They arrive again, usually starting in late August, and stay through early October as they return to warmer climates in Mexico and beyond. While the swifts may surprise new Historic Core residents, they see Swifts, page 26

photo by Gary Leonard

Jeff Chapman of the Audubon Center watches as a flock of Vaux’s Swifts descend into a chimney at Fifth Street and Broadway. The Audubon Center is organizing public viewings of the birds’ nightly roosting.

The Voice of Downtown Los Angeles

2 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


AROUNDTOWN Union Bank Plaza Fetches $208 Million


nion Bank Plaza, the 627,334-square-foot office tower and retail complex at 445 S. Figueroa St., has been sold to Newport Beach-based KBS Real Estate Investment Trust II for $208 million, the company announced last week. The 40-story tower is 96% occupied. Designed by A.C. Martin, the property is named for its anchor tenant, Union Bank, which occupies 55% of the structure. The property consists of a 607,517-square-foot office tower, a two-level, 19,817-squarefoot retail space and a 914-space, four-level parking structure. “As one of Downtown L.A.’s few truly iconic office towers, Union Bank Plaza serves as an ideal addition to the KBS REIT II portfolio,” Bill Milligan, Western Region president for KBS Realty Advisors, said in a statement. Michael Zietsman and David Doupé of the Los Angeles office of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the seller, the Hines Organization, which purchased the property in 2005. KBS Capital Advisors represented KBS REIT II. The sale closed Sept. 15. KBS has been in a buying mode; this year it has acquired office properties in Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, San Diego, Portland, Ore., and Herndon, Va.

Downtown Guide Magazine Arrives Next Week


et ready to grasp everything you need to know about Downtown Los Angeles. On Sept. 27, Los Angeles Downtown News will publish the 76-page Downtown Guide, a glossy annual magazine that focuses on culture and food, on nightlife and events, on hotels and entertainment, along with indepth descriptions and shopping opportunities in Downtown’s 16 diverse districts. Altogether 110,000 copies of the Downtown Guide will be printed. In addition to the 47,000 distributed with Downtown News, they will be available at multiple Downtown News distribution locations, retail locations and visitors centers. The Guide can also be seen online at and, and additional copies can be requested by calling Downtown News at (213) 481-1448.

Open for Culture


he El Pueblo area will get a new attraction next year. Last week, officials with LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes announced that their Mexican cultural center will open on April 15, 2011. The 2.2-acre facility will focus on the Mexican American experience in Los Angeles and Southern California. The $20 million facility will be in the newly renovated VickreyBrunswig Building and Plaza House on Main Street. It will feature 30,000 square foot of public gardens with an outdoor stage and a performance space for up to 1,500 people. There will also be an outdoor kitchen, classrooms and a memorial olive grove to honor the city’s first inhabitants. The interior is being designed by Chu+Gooding Architects while Rios Clementi Hale Studios is handling the exterior. Funding comes from the county and private and corporate donations. The inaugural exhibition will be titled L.A. Starts Here! and will highlight the role of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the founding of Los Angeles from 1781 to the present.

photo by Gary Leonard

Trutanich Decries Office Cuts

The Aloud forum lured a high-profile speaker for the kick-off of its new season. On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer showed up at the Central Library to discuss the judicial system and his book Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View. Breyer, who generally votes with the court’s liberal block, was appointed to the bench by President Clinton in 1994.


Another Chance to Climb

os Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is none too pleased about the financial hand he’s been dealt in his first year in office. Speaking at a luncheon organized by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum on Monday, Sept. 13, Trutanich said that a budget of $117 million under his predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, has been chopped to $85 million. “No one has been promoted in a year,” he said during the event at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, adding that there have not been raises at a time when cuts have taken place across city departments. “We haven’t hired one new body.” Despite the cutbacks, Trutanich painted a rosy performance picture, saying that his office has won 48 of the 50 cases it took to trial (he noted others have been settled). He also pointed to a reserve City Attorney program that has bolstered the ranks. Trutanich professed to be uncertain as to why his office has faced such heavy cuts, saying, “I don’t know why. I don’t know the answer to that question.” However, he warned that with an increasing workload, the positives may not continue. “At some point, it’s going to break,” he said.

Why does this little burger stand attract over a million people a year?


orget elevators: The stairs will be the way to go on Friday, Sept. 24, when the 17th annual Stair Climb to the Top takes place at U.S. Bank Tower. About 2,000 people are expected to step up and raise funds for the community programs of the Stuart M. Ketchum Downtown YMCA by walking the 1,500 steps of the tallest building in the west. The event will start at 2:45 p.m. with a free expo and street fair on Hope Street; music, food and other booths will fill the cul-desac where the public can view live coverage of the climb on a Jumbotron. The climb will start at 3 p.m. with the team competitions, including the High-Rise Hero challenge in which firefighters and police officers in full gear participate. The individual competition will feature climbers trying to break the course record of 9 minutes, 28 seconds. To register contact Alexis Madrid at (213) 639-7451 or see Around Town, page 27

University of Southern California

Bat Envy Empathy takes flight in unusual discussion series. “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” Tuesday, Sept. 21, 5-7 p.m. Doheny Memorial Library, room 240 Admission: Free RSVP requested:

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How woUld it feel to become an ocholocating, bloodsucking creature of the night? Join USC aerospace engineer Geoff Spedding in an unusual discussion starting with a description of the special properties of bat wings. Then segue into a humanistic exploration, inspired by the writings of philosopher Thomas Nagel, of the essence of bat-hood. It’s part of College Commons, which kicks off a year’s worth of uncommon conversations devoted to “Rethinking the Human.” Check out all the quirky titles in this unique series hosted by USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at Refreshments served.

USC your cultural connection


The Art of the Man on the Ladder Sept. 26, 2 – 4 p.m. The Trojan Marching Band hosts a release party for The Man on the Ladder, a new book tracing veteran bandleader Arthur C. Bartner’s 40-year career. Take in a related exhibition of memorabilia with comments by official band artist Robert W. Jensen. Listen to a special performance by the Spirit of Troy. Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Get your copy of the book signed by Dr. Bartner and receive a commemorative lithograph. Ronald Tutor Campus Center (213) 740-6317 Admission: adults $25 children (under 13) $10

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September 20, 2010


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EDITORIALS Another Chance at Meaningful Reform


he progress, or rather the lack thereof in development reform in Los Angeles, has sent serious investment dollars scurrying to neighboring cities for decades. It is with resignation, but not entirely without optimism, that we observe the next chapter in the nearly endless attempts to right the situation. The death of the once promising “12-to2” program has opened the door to a fresh approach. On the one hand, it is disconcerting that a plan with the potential to facilitate development in a notoriously businessdifficult city could not move forward, especially when some of the most powerful players in Los Angeles backed it. The reasoning goes that if this effort cannot produce change, then what possibility is there for meaningful reform, especially when investment has slowed because of larger economic matters? On the other hand, those who believed in the plan’s potential to do good can exhale a sigh of relief that the battle is over. The turf wars with the 12 departments in question were lining up to be legendary. The resistors are people who either believe passionately in the function their department performs or were simply resistant to giving up power and security. That is understandable, but not helpful given the bigger picture. As Los Angeles Downtown News recently reported, the effort to reduce from 12 to two the number of city departments that developers must deal with for a project suffered a quiet death last month. Though no official publicly declared that the directive championed at times by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council President Eric Garcetti (among others) is off the table, the message became clear when the city launched a

new public bidding process intended to lead to development reform. On Aug. 8, the Department of Building and Safety began soliciting bids for a consultant to devise a streamlined system for ushering projects through the pipeline. Exactly where this will go is uncertain. The timeline is aggressive, with a bid submission deadline of Sept. 28; the winner will then have six months to put together a plan. It seems likely that whatever consultant is picked and whatever plan they assemble, it will involve utilizing practices that work in other cities. To begin with, it will be interesting to see whether the contract goes to a local firm familiar with the Byzantine machinations of Los Angeles government, or whether there is a clean wipe of the slate with a firm from New York or elsewhere. The plan is not unprecedented, and there are indicators that real progress could occur. Building and Safety is involved, as is First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner — both played a significant role (along with the Central City Association) in the recently adopted Restaurant and Hospitality Express, a program to streamline the approval of bars and eateries in Los Angeles. In that case, officials hope to cut in half the time it takes to open such establishments. They seem to have persuaded bureaucrats used to saying no to give a different answer, and strategies such as assigning a project manager to restaurant applicants show a heartening ability to think different. Clearly that could serve as a training wheels program for more comprehensive development reform. Some might argue that there is no need for reform, that plenty of development has occurred throughout Los Angeles,

Cleantech Bummer


ike everyone else, we think Los Angeles should be a leader in the “green” and “cleantech” industries. In addition to the environmental benefits, there is the promise of jobs, many of them with solid middle-class pay. That’s why the creation of the Cleantech Manufacturing Center on the eastern edge of Downtown was so exciting when it was announced in fall 2008. Now, the excitement has worn off, and two years later Los Angeles is back at square one

in the effort to find an anchor tenant for the 20-acre site. The city this month launched a public bidding process, and hopes there are companies interested in creating an environmentally friendly manufacturing facility on a plot near Washington Boulevard and 15th Street. It’s a fine concept, but once again, the track record shows plenty of disappointment. The city paid $14 million to acquire the land and spent another $2.2 million to clean up contamination from previous users. At a point

and that Downtown saw a wealth of projects in the past decade with the system in place. They might say that the current hurdles are good, that the difficulties ensure that only worthy projects get built. We disagree, and think it is a situation where a lot happened in spite of the system in place. If City Hall were easier to navigate, then the slowdown that hit a few years back might not have been so severe — there are too many horror stories of easy things made difficult. Downtown specifically is not done with its evolution, and there is room and a need for more projects, big and small. A more navigable system — though one that does not compromise safety — could get things zooming again. As any new plan moves forward, those involved with the old one need to understand exactly what doomed 12-to-2. They must be honest and learn from the past, because if they don’t recognize where the problems arose, they might re-surface in a different way. That means looking at the issues faced and raised by the department heads, but also examining upper-echelon leadership: Perhaps a stronger, more focused presence in the mayor’s office would have made a difference when those who report to the mayor balked. Development reform won’t be easy. It never is. But it is necessary. While 12-to-2 probably should have worked, it didn’t, and it is time to move on. Although there are many questions to be answered about the new path, one thing is certain: Everyone with a stake in the development game, in both the private and public sectors, will be watching.

this seemed a reasonable investment, and last fall city officials proudly touted an agreement to bring Italian rail car maker AnsaldoBreda to the site; the plan called for a $70 million manufacturing facility. Then the deal fell apart. Unfortunately, it happened after the celebratory press releases had been sent out. That happens in business, and when it did, one might have expected the city to shift quickly to Plan B or Plan C. Reports surfaced after the demise of the AnsaldoBreda deal that another contract was close, but nothing ever came to fruition. One has to wonder about the strength of the marketing, leadership and negotiating efforts on the city’s be-

half. Given the failure to make anything happen, some might also question the wisdom of the initial investment. Launching a bidding process is better than nothing, but doing so implies that everything the city has tried to date has fallen apart. It also raises questions as to why this only happens now, as last November city staff said a bid was being readied. The slow pace on the Cleantech Manufacturing Center is a disappointment, especially from a government so vocal about being a leader in environmental technology. This is a major plot of land and a potential economic and jobs generator — we expected more.

Urban Scrawl by Doug Davis Los Angeles Downtown News 1264 W. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026 phone: 213-481-1448 • fax: 213-250-4617 web: • email: facebook: L.A. Downtown News

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Editor & PublishEr: Sue Laris GENErAl MANAGEr: Dawn Eastin ExEcutivE Editor: Jon Regardie citY Editor: Richard Guzmán stAFF writEr: Ryan Vaillancourt coNtributiNG Editors: David Friedman, Kathryn Maese coNtributiNG writErs: Jay Berman, Jeff Favre, Michael X. Ferraro, Kristin Friedrich, Howard Leff, Rod Riggs, Marc Porter Zasada Art dirEctor: Brian Allison AssistANt Art dirEctor: Yumi Kanegawa ProductioN ANd GrAPhics: Alexis Rawlins PhotoGrAPhEr: Gary Leonard AccouNtiNG: Ashley Schmidt AdvErtisiNG dirEctor: Steve Nakutin sAlEs AssistANt: Annette Cruz clAssiFiEd AdvErtisiNG MANAGEr: Catherine Holloway AccouNt ExEcutivEs: Catherine Holloway, Brenda Stevens, Billy Wright circulAtioN: Norma Rodas distributioN MANAGEr: Salvador Ingles distributioN AssistANts: Lorenzo Castillo, Gustavo Bonilla The Los Angeles Downtown News is the must-read newspaper for Downtown Los Angeles and is distributed every Monday throughout the offices and residences of Downtown Los Angeles.

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September 20, 2010

Downtown News 5


The Readers React Website Comments on Regional Connector Stations, Skateboarding, Ciudad’s Closure and More

Regarding the article “The Station Equation,” about proposed stops for the Downtown Regional Connector and the possible elimination of a station at Fifth and Flower streets, by Ryan Vaillancourt, published online Sept. 10 he segment would actually have five stations over two miles, since you have to count Metro Center. This is comparable to San Francisco’s Market Street Subway, which is also two miles long with five stations. I’d say those stations are spaced just about right. The “two blocks” in this case are actually three blocks (don’t forget Wilshire), and they are long blocks. A third of a mile is a good distance for stations in Downtown L.A. —posted by Joel C, Sept. 12, 12:20 a.m.



his station should not be eliminated. It is a very dense office building location. You also have hotels and the library right there. I hope they don’t make the shortsighted decision to nix it. I am all for the all-underground option but I would go so far as to have a partial underground option just to keep the Fifth and Flower station. It’s that important! —posted by Bill Need, Sept. 12, 10:14 a.m.

Regarding the item “Adios Ciudad, Hello Border Grill,” published online Sept. 14 freaked out after reading the title of the story and started crying about the ceviche. But I’m relieved they are adding it to their Border Grill menu! Phew, that was a close one. —posted by Tiffany Gonzalez, Sept. 14, 1:39 p.m.





think they should eliminate the stop at Fifth and Flower. All that extra cost for just a two-and-a-half block walk from Seventh and Flower? I travel to and from those points quite frequently and, even with my arthritis, find it an easy walk. —posted by Linden, Sept. 13, 10:03 a.m.

erhaps they could initially install the station box and then finish the station when funds become available. That’s what they did with the BART Embarcadero station. —posted by Steven, Sept. 13, 10:58 a.m.


reminder: The system is being designed now for the capacity it will need for the next 50 years. The Seventh and Metro station will be maxed out as soon as the Expo Line, Gold Line extensions and Red Line come online. The proposed Harbor subdivision line from LAX/South Bay cannot connect to Downtown because of capacity constraints. The Blue Line will eventually need to connect to Union Station via Alameda or the L.A. River corridor. The Fifth and Flower station is critical to provide easy access for Financial District growth. The walk to Second and Flower is not pedestrian friendly from the Financial District. It is dark and under the street overpasses — even dangerous at night if you are alone. There is minimal and very difficult pedestrian access to connect Second and Flower and Second and Spring. Bunker Hill, the Second Street tunnel and major elevation obstacles separate the stations. Second


here else are they supposed to go? Most people in Downtown L.A. know that the area is cluttered with high-rise buildings and minimal park areas, so for kids living in the region this is their only way to “hone their skills.” But of course, aging of public property is seen as more important than a person’s progress in a chosen sport/ profession. Hopefully one day these kids won’t be seen as criminals and their actions will be worth more than a citation. —posted by Joyce Arely, Sept. 12, 8:36 p.m.

oo bad; Ciudad was really special and different. —posted by David Klappholz, Sept. 14, 1:55 p.m.


ull circle! Ciudad opened where Sonora Cafe used to be, so it’s back to Mexican food again now. —posted by Tessa Lucero, Sept. 14, 2:16 p.m.


ooray. Illegal doesn’t mean wrong. I say as long as they aren’t endangering pedestrians, then have fun. They are going up against concrete and steel, not marble and gold, so the “worried about damages” folks can lay off. —posted by Mark, Sept. 14, 3:17 p.m.

Regarding the item “Skateboarders Hone Skills in Downtown Playground,” with photos by Gary Leonard of skateboarders at the Caltrans headquarters, published online Sept. 9 y posting this article you are tacitly approving this illegal behavior. And although these guys didn’t cause damage, the next person who comes along might. And that doesn’t even begin to speak to the liability issues related to potential injury on the property. Acknowledging that this behavior is against the rules doesn’t alleviate your responsibility in encouraging this behavior. —posted by Rob Greer, Sept. 10, 11:05 a.m.

Regarding the article “A New View Through Glass,” by Jim Farber, published online Sept. 10 really enjoyed Jim Farber’s feature. It includes details that I haven’t seen in other stories, such as the history of how Tennessee Williams came to write The Glass Menagerie. Also, it was enlightening to read about the experiences of actors Patch Darragh and Ben McKenzie during their rehearsals and performances of the play. Just one thing amiss: Ben McKenzie’s uncle who wrote The Kentucky Cycle, is Robert, not Richard Schenkkan. —posted by S. Oliver, Sept. 11, 3:07 a.m.




reat story. It is nice to see these guys do these tricks. —posted by Samantha, Sept. 10, 2:57 p.m.



Two important rail projects have reached a key milestone: draft environmental reports for both have been released for a 45-day public comment period.

oo. People worry about the damage dog urine does to the public environment. This is just as bad. The finish gets worn off the rails and walls and everything ages much faster. We should be encouraging a higher level of respect for public space. —posted by Downtown Vibe, Sept. 10, 3:08 p.m.

S K R O W E H T IN Long B each


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or tran connect

The project would create a two-mile transit link through downtown LA between the Metro Gold, Blue and Expo lines. > Connections with the Metro Blue and Expo lines at 7th Street /Metro Center Station and with the Metro Gold Line at Alameda Street. > The reports look at three light rail alternatives – a combination of underground and at-grade segments; entirely underground except for an at-grade crossing at 1st and Alameda; fully underground with four new stations and traveling under the 1st and Alameda intersection. > The project team has designated fully underground as its Locally Preferred Alternative — the version proposed for further study. For more information visit:

Five alternative routes for extending the Metro Red or Purple lines are being considered, all basically traveling under Wilshire Boulevard west to Santa Monica. > Alternatives include extending the line to either Westwood/UCLA or the VA Hospital; extending the line all the way to Santa Monica; and adding a segment between Hollywood and Beverly Hills via West Hollywood. > Metro’s long-range plan calls for the subway to reach Fairfax Avenue by 2019, Century City by 2026 and Westwood by 2036. > Estimated travel time between Union Station in downtown LA to the Westwood/UCLA station would be 25 minutes. For more information visit:

update-wsc-ii-11-001 ©2010 lcmta


os Angeles Downtown News posts comments to stories on our website. Here are some of the most recent responses. Additional comments appear on Further responses are welcome.


and Broadway is perfectly situated for major transit oriented development adjacent to The Grand project and the Civic Center Park when completed. —posted by Russell Brown, Sept. 16, 12:20 a.m.

6 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


Eat Pray Smoke High Hopes at a Downtown Pot Convention


orn stars to the left of me. Pot smokers to the right. If only Mick Jagger had played the Convention Center the weekend of Sept. 11-12, Downtown’s massive meeting hall could have boasted the holy trinity of sex, drugs and rock ’n roll. As it was, we had to settle for the first two. Still, historians will note that this rather decadent confluence marked the largest gathering of strippers and casual drug users in Downtown since the 2000 Democratic National Convention. So how did this all come together? Simply put, some practical joker/ event planner in the Convention Center’s executive suites brilliantly booked both the AdultCon Adult Entertainment Show and the HempCon Medical Marijuana Show during the same weekend. Howard Leff Apparently, the SatanCon Beast Worship and Blasphemy Expo had OF ONE a conflicting engagement. But there’s always 2012. Obviously, I would love to begin describing in explicit detail the wonderfully exotic things that took place inside the porn star/stripper room. However, neither the editor of this fine paper nor the myriad startled people I approached on Flower Street would cough up the obscene $40 for my admission fee. Luckily, a more manageable $15 greased my way inside the less flashy (and fleshy) HempCon — a gathering spot and rally for medical marijuana users, growers and advocates. Adding a dose of urgency is the fact that California voters are just six weeks away from deciding the fate of Proposition 19, a statewide ballot measure that would legalize lots of nifty potrelated activities. Like, for example, a fun little game called 420 Football, which had a sizable crowd milling about its HempCon booth.


(For the uninitiated, 420 refers to April 20, the date pot smokers celebrate as National Weed Day for various and equally obscure reasons, depending on whom you ask.) That’s where I found “Henry Hemp,” a cheerful young man sporting a green foam pot plant headdress, who described the game as a combination of football and smoking. (I believe Henry is the league commissioner, or at least a senior vice president of marketing.) In his version you gain 20 yards by inhaling and holding your breath for 20 seconds. An extra point is awarded when you correctly “eyeball” a gram of pot without actually weighing it. You get the idea. I’m guessing the post-game buffet consists mainly of M&Ms and Doritos. While the 420 Football creators advocated actually smoking marijuana, many exhibitors offered other techniques. Over at the fanciful-named Magic-Flight booth, I discovered people are getting into vaporizers, which enable you to imbibe without the toxic effects of actually smoking. This is quite possibly the only way to get high while curing your nagging chest cold at the same time. Of course, if you’re vehemently against inhaling, you can always have your pot and eat it too. Yes, these so-called “edibles” have been around since your elderly Jefferson Airplaneera parents ate their garden-variety pot brownies at Altamont. But that’s so yesteryear. This century, you can saddle up next to the delightful chefs who manned the Auntie Dolores Medical Cannabis Edibles booth, where the baked goods included pot-laced chocolate espresso, chocolate peanut butter and gingerbread muffins that will no doubt make you all the rage at your next Ladies Book Club & Tea. If you’re into edibles but don’t want to pack on those extra pot pounds, you could have slid over to the “Lollipipe” area, which offered strawberry, apple and other fruit-flavored candy pipes you can safely eat after you’re done. No, they won’t melt when you hold a lighter to them. Yes, that’s a good question. HempCon was not exclusively about consuming. After all, before these substances magically arrive at your local medical

photo by Howard Leff

A man calling himself Henry Hemp, and pushing a product known as 420 Football, was among those running booths during the Convention Center’s HempCon.

marijuana dispensary, somebody actually has to move some dirt and grow something. That’s where the folks over at the SuperCloset booth came in. They’ll help you get your homemade farm off to a successful start. I’ll spare you the scientific details of what it takes to make this complicated process happen. Instead I’d suggest you begin your scholarly research with the universally recognized, de facto authority on the subject of growing pot plants: season one of the hit Showtime series “Weeds,” available on DVD. If nothing else, a visit to HempCon might have offered a gentle push into the Yes on 19 camp. I came to realize that even when you jam thousands of marijuana enthusiasts (as opposed to, say, tequila drinkers) into one crowded space, everyone’s cordial, relaxed, well behaved and, to use an already tired but apt description, chill. And why not? After a lifetime of being judged and criticized by others, these are perhaps the last people on Earth looking to turn around and judge you. Honestly, when you’re busy gathering the equipment to light up a blueberry flavored candy pipe filled with hash, who’s in the mood for a fight?

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Stanford University Professor, Dr. Fred Luskin, leads his internationally renowned hands-on forgiveness forum, “Forgive For Good,” at First Church. 10am

Sunday, September 26

Introducing a Series to Break You Free

Traditional Worship • Progressive Values • Inspiring Community

New York City Clergyman, Rev. Lyndon Harris, known for his work with 9/11 victims, delivers amazing stories of compassion and forgiveness. 11am

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8 Downtown News

September 20, 2010

Downtown May Be Close To Hitting Target

photo by Gary Leonard


Brookfield Properties has been looking for an anchor tenant at 7+Fig since Macy’s left in early 2009. More space is about to open up, and Downtown real estate sources say it is in anticipation of the arrival of a Target.

Tenants Get Notice to Leave 7+Fig; Construction Could Ready Mall for the Retailer by RichaRd Guzmán city editoR


or about a year, Downtown stakeholders have been eagerly anticipating a formal announcement that Minneapolis-based Target will bring a store to the 7+Fig shopping mall. While the retail giant and the shopping center’s owner are remaining tight-lipped, a flurry of activity and numerous Downtown sources indicate that a deal could come to fruition soon. The owners or managers of four spaces at the outdoor mall have told Los Angeles Downtown News that they have received letters from the landlord informing them that they will have to vacate the premises in preparation for a renovation project. Jose Velez, the owner of Paradise Florist, said he received a letter from Brookfield Properties two weeks age telling him to vacate his shop by January for an upcoming two-year construction project on the property. He said he was told that the construction is for the upcoming Target, and that only a handful of current tenants will stay at the mall while the renovations take place. “Everyone got the letter, so what can you do?” he said. “We have to be out by January.” Velez’s comment was echoed by staff at Imported Italian Fashions, a men’s suit store at the mall. Store manager Elena Bravo said they received a letter from Brookfield telling

them they must be out by January. Already, some “Closing Out” signs have been hung on racks at the store. “We have until after the holidays and that’s it,” she said. “We’re already looking for a new place to go because Target is coming.” Brookfield Properties provided a copy of the letter, signed by company General Manager David A. Foley, to Downtown News. In addition to referencing the need to vacate space for construction, the company said it has reached out to the Downtown Center Business Improvement District to help current tenants identify “potential retail opportunities” in the Central Business District. A statement from Brookfield to Downtown News further spelled out the impending activity. “Brookfield Properties will be spearheading some renovations at 7+Fig. While plans are still developing and details are not available yet, we can say that construction will commence in the first quarter of 2011,” the statement read. The statement went on to say that during construction, it will be impossible for some tenants to maintain their current business locations. However, it said that other occupants — it named California Pizza Kitchen, Starbucks, Morton’s Steakhouse, Adoro Mexican Grille and Gold’s Gym — will remain open during the construction.

Brookfield also indicated that it anticipates the weekly farmer’s market will continue to run, subject to construction activity. “While we cannot disclose or discuss any pending leases for 7+Fig, we look forward to sharing details soon,” the statement read. Empty Spaces The current activity and speculation comes from two major vacancies in the shopping center. In early 2009, Macy’s vacated a prime 125,000-square-foot-space in the mall. An 80,000-square-foot spot once occupied by Bullock’s is also empty. In late 2009, Downtown News reported that Brookfield was in advanced negotiations with Target. At the time, Brookfield officials cited their policy of not discussing any negotiations or commenting about potential tenants. Although Target officials also would not confirm reports of a deal at the time, a company representative said Target’s typical retail footprint is about 128,000 square feet. Sergio Gharibian, the owner of the 7+Fig Newstand, said he too received a letter asking him to be out by January. He said the letter did not mention Target, but he has heard that the retailer is coming soon. Other mall merchants, as well as multiple Downtown real estate sources, also said they have heard that a deal with Target is close, and most said that the renovations are part of

readying the space. Bert Dezzutti, senior vice president of Brookfield Properties, would not comment for this story, though he previously told Downtown News that plans for a future major upgrade would be tied to the future tenant of the Macy’s spot, although renovations would take place regardless of who occupies the space. In an email last week to Downtown News, Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Target, said the company does not confirm any details about new stores until within a year of a scheduled opening. While some merchants are beginning to look at a new future, not everyone at the mall is saying goodbye. Jeffrey Kleinman, owner of Dr. Jeffrey Kleinman & Associates Optometrist, said he never received a letter from Brookfield telling him he has to leave. “We’ve heard talk about [a Target] before, but no one has said anything about us moving,” he said to a reporter, before calling Brookfield Properties and leaving a message to ask about the situation. Meanwhile, Velez, who has been at the mall for 14 years, said he isn’t bitter about having to move. He thinks his flower shop would suffer more if he had to stay at the mall while major construction takes place. Contact Richard Guzmán at

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Downtown News 9

Downtown developmenT

More Buildings, More Buzz, More Questions The Latest Information on 76 Downtown Projects BARN LOFTS

by Richard Guzmán, Jon Regardie and Ryan Vaillancourt

BROWNSTONE LOFTS Pre-sales have begun and project completion is expected by November, according to representatives of the Brownstone Lofts. The three-story adaptive reuse project at 1168 W. Bellevue Ave. is being developed by Brownstone LLC. The 1928 building will house 55 studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging from $375,000-$1.4 million. So far 18 condos have been reserved. The project includes a pool and concierge service for tenants. No budget has been released. At

photo by Gary Leonard


Peklar Pilavjian of developer Alameda and Fourth, LLC said completion of a $30 million adaptive reuse project in the Arts District is scheduled for mid-2011. The project at Fourth and Alameda streets is transforming a five-story, 1923 structure into 53 artist-in-residence lofts, with units ranging from 6502,400 square feet. Phase two plans are still in the preliminary stage and there is no timeline for that portion of the project, Pilavjian said. Those plans call for a new residential structure on the side of the lot fronting Alameda Street.

MEGATOYS RESIDENCES The plans have gone through the entitlement process and developer Charlie Woo is looking for financing to construct a six-story, 320-unit project on the site of the 49,000-squarefoot Megatoys warehouse and an adjacent parking lot, said Veronica Becerra, a project representative. The 2.9-acre effort would include for-sale residences, nearly 16,000 square feet of retail space and 766 parking spaces. No budget information has been released.

SHY BARRY TOWER II Developer Barry Shy has said that construction on a six-story parking garage at 601 S. Main St. will start this year, and that construction would last about two years. Shy plans eventually to build a 40-story, 700-unit condominium tower on the same parcel. Shy has said he will not start that project until the economy improves.



655 HOPE The Seck Group, developer of the 17-story adaptive reuse project at 655 S. Hope St., has yet to meet the pre-sale requirement needed to close on pending sales. The $17 million project has 80 condominiums, from 600-1,268 square feet, on 11 residential levels. The structure offers three floors of parking, a gym and a roof deck with a bar. A spokesman for 655 Hope would not discuss what the project’s pre-sale requirement is, but said that the developer has taken deposits on more than 20 units and expects to start closing escrows by early November. At

rise on two South Park parking lots at 1340-1360 S. Figueroa St. and 1355-1365 S. Flower St. Plans call for 35 levels of housing with 273 residences over an eight-floor podium and two subterranean levels. The project would also hold 11,673 square feet of space for two restaurants, a 9,325-square-foot spa and 379 parking spaces. No timeline or budget has been announced.

photo by Gary Leonard


According to the most recent information available, the adaptive reuse project at 940 E. Second St. in the Arts District is still on hold due to issues with its lender. Developer Mark Borman did not respond to recent requests for comment, but had previously said he expects to be able to complete the project. The transformation of the former Spreckels Brothers sugar beet warehouse is nearly complete. The project turned the structure into a 58,000-square-foot complex with 38 market-rate, three-story townhouses ranging from 1,300-2,600 square feet. Each unit contains two and a half bathrooms, two bedrooms and a roof deck, and the project holds 69 parking spaces.

photo by Gary Leonard


he construction crane may be an endangered species in the current economy, but in Downtown Los Angeles, it is not extinct. For that matter, neither is the construction crew, and though the number of hard hat workers has decreased from several years ago, there remains an ample amount of building activity going on in Downtown. In fact, the level of activity appears poised to increase. In the four months since Los Angeles Downtown News’ last Development issue, several important projects have taken significant steps forward. The Broad Collection received its final government approvals in August and the Grand Avenue Civic Park broke ground the month before that. A public bidding process has been launched for the Cleantech Manufacturing Center. Progress on the 30/10 transportation plan could lead to movement on the Regional Connector. Then again, it’s not all positive news. Projects that have yet to break ground continue to face difficulties securing construction loans, and in South Park the massive Concerto condominium tower is stymied by a bitter fight between the developer and a lender. In other words, the recession continues to pack a punch. Still, the community appears to be primed for continued growth, if for no other reason than projects launched years ago are now coming online, creating an audience for more services and momentum for additional development. In just the past few months Downtown saw, amongst other projects, the arrival of a dog park in the Arts District, a renovated outdoor mall in Little Tokyo, and separate housing complexes serving low-income residents, the market-rate sector and college students. What follows is the latest on 76 Downtown projects.

Astani Enterprises, developer of a 30-story tower at Ninth and Figueroa streets, remains mired in a bankruptcy case that is delaying sales, owner Sonny Astani said. Construction is nearly complete on the structure that encompasses phase two of the development (a seven-story annex was the first phase). Astani’s construction lender, Corus Bank, went bankrupt in 2009, and its assets were purchased by the FDIC and Starwood Capital Group, a New York-based investor. Starwood continues to manage the loan portfolio, but is resisting Astani’s attempt to continue with sales at the Concerto tower. Astani said he has taken deposits for 30 units in the lower portion of the building, which is complete; despite having a certificate of occupancy, he has not been allowed to close sales. He hopes the legal case will lead to move-ins before the end of the year. The sleek black edifice includes 271 studio to three-bedroom residences. There remains no timeline for the third Concerto component, which would add another 281 market-rate condominiums in a second 30-story tower on the same block. That phase is approved and entitled, but Astani said it would not break ground until the market improves. The entire project includes 27,500 square feet of retail space, 1,000 subterranean parking spots, a pedestrian paseo connecting Figueroa and Flower streets and a one-acre park. A sales and design center is at 900 S. Figueroa St. At

LIBESKIND TOWER Amanda Ice, a spokeswoman for project architect Studio Daniel Libeskind, said that developer Human Technologies LLC is still trying to secure a construction loan for the 43-story tower. The project, which is fully entitled, would

Meruelo Maddux, the Downtown landowner and developer embroiled in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, submitted applications this year to build a 21-story residential tower on a plot at 11th Street and Grand Avenue. The surface of a former parking lot at the site, on the northwest corner of the intersection, was removed in June, and the company is allowing another developer to store a crane there, said Andrew Murray, Meruelo Maddux CFO. Preliminary plans call for the building to include just 19 units, all at about 4,000 square feet, which the company says would fill a niche in family housing Downtown. The architect on the project is listed as Manuel Funes, Meruelo Maddux’s in-house architect, who also designed the 35-story tower developed by the company at 705 W. Ninth St. (that building was sold to Watermarke Properties). While the project’s timeline depends on the company’s reorganization efforts and securing a construction loan, Murray said he envisions action at the site in 2011.

1027 WILSHIRE Central City Development Group continues to work with the Amidi Real Estate Group on plans to create a 376-unit live/work complex at 1027 Wilshire Blvd. in City West. The low-rise structure would include 6,500 square feet of retail and 5,000 square feet of office space, said Hamid Behdad of the CCDG. No budget or timeline information has been announced. Previously the developers had looked at building see Projects, page 10

10 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


BRISTOL HOTEL Developer Izek Shomof said a renovation of the Bristol Hotel is complete, but that the project cannot open until the city is finished with its inspections; Shomof said he hopes that can happen by the end of the month. Shomof purchased the 1906 edifice for $2.5 million in 2009. The transformation of the 104-year-old structure at 423 W. Eighth St. turned the former residential hotel into an affordable housing complex. Shomof said he will seek to enroll the property, which will offer 107 efficiency units, in the Section 8 federal rent subsidy program. The ground floor is slated to hold a cafe and a D-Town Burger Bar. The project was privately funded and Shomof has not disclosed the budget.


The nonprofit developer Skid Row Housing Trust is planning a 102-unit permanent supportive housing project at the southeast corner of Sixth and Maple streets. SRHT is working to secure financing for the effort, though as with most of the company’s projects, the Star would be funded by a mix of private and public dollars. It would involve reinforcing the current structure and adding new residential units above the existing shell. The budget and construction timeline are uncertain, but a groundbreaking is expected early next year, said Molly Rysman, director of external affairs for SRHT.


THE FORD photo by Gary Leonard

Continued from page 9 a 52-story condominium project on the site, but changed course because of the shift in the economy. Behdad said the entitlement and approval process is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.

people. All the apartments measure about 350 square feet and include kitchenettes, private bathrooms and come furnished. At

photo by Gary Leonard


at Fifth and San Pedro streets, said Joseph Corcoran, the nonprofit developer’s director of planning and housing development. Plans are in the early stage, but SRO expects to secure funding by November 2011 and begin construction around the following February. At

BROCKMAN BUILDING The 12-story, 80-unit building at Seventh Street and Grand Avenue remains unopened and under the care of a courtappointed bankruptcy trustee. Lender Bank of America received approval in May to proceed with final construction work inside the building, and that is ongoing, said trustee Amy Goldman of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. Though largely complete, the Brockman still does not have a certificate of occupancy, and it remains unclear what Bank of America will do with the property. There remains no timeline for when the building at 530 W. Seventh St., originally constructed as condominiums, might open. Developer the West Millennium Group has been out of the project since defaulting on a $35 million loan and filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in March 2009. The ground-floor Italian restaurant and market Bottega Louie is unaffected.

photo by Gary Leonard


Nonprofit developer Skid Row Housing Trust broke ground in June on a $22.3 million affordable housing development at 458 S. Main St. The project will include a solar energy system on the roof and is expected to be the first permanent supportive housing effort in Los Angeles built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification standards. Designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, the New Genesis will provide 106 residences, mostly for homeless individuals. It is funded by a mix of local, state and federal sources. Twenty-five percent of the apartments will be set aside for working individuals earning less than $37,260 per year. Ninety-eight of the residences will be efficiency apartments, and eight will be one-bedroom, loft-style spaces. Completion is expected in March 2012, said Molly Rysman, director of external affairs for SRHT.

PANAMA APARTMENTS SRO Housing Corp. plans to convert the rear portion of the 87 emergency shelter units at the Panama Hotel into 41 efficiency apartments for permanent housing, with groundbreaking slated for late this month, said Joseph Corcoran, SRO Housing’s director of planning and housing development. Construction on the project at 403 E. Fifth St. would take one year, he said. At

photo by Gary Leonard


Meta Housing, a West Los Angeles-based for-profit developer of affordable housing, is still working on obtaining financing to convert two structures at 808 N. Spring St. into a 134-apartment complex, said Tim Soule, the project manager. The property includes a nine-story edifice built in 1918 as a storage facility for nearby train depots. The company has been in escrow to purchase the property from the Kor Group since 2009 for $12 million. The deal is slated to close once Meta completes funding applications. The estimated project cost is $51.3 million.

DA VINCI There remains no construction timeline for G.H. Palmer Associates’ proposed 627-apartment complex in City West. The development is currently in the planning stage. Da Vinci would rise at Fremont and Temple streets on a 193,000-square-foot site that Palmer bought in 2004 for about $9 million. The 578,172-square-foot complex would put five floors of housing above three levels of parking with 8,158 square feet of street-front retail. The Da Vinci site includes a parcel on Temple Street that abuts the nightclub Vertigo’s. At

GATEWAYS APARTMENTS SRO Housing Corp. is applying for funds to build a 108-unit affordable housing project on a 22,000-square-foot vacant lot

Developer SRO Housing Corp. is transforming the Ford Hotel at 1000 E. Seventh St. into 151 studio apartments. Lead and asbestos abatement is about 12% complete, and structural and seismic upgrades are underway, said Joseph Corcoran, the nonprofit developer’s director of planning and housing development. When acquired by SRO, the hotel had 295 units and 132 people lived in the dilapidated building. The $25 million project will create 90 units for chronically homeless individuals, Corcoran said, with each one holding a kitchenette and bathroom. The remaining apartments will be for low-income residents earning up to 50% of the Area Median Income (approximately $60,000). Construction is expected to take 15 months. Tenants of the building were relocated to other SRO Housing properties during construction. At


Construction continues on developer G.H. Palmer Associates’ 335-apartment complex at Bixel and St. Paul streets, company owner Geoff Palmer said. The City West project follows the same Italian villa-inspired design as Palmer’s other Downtown developments, including the adjacent Piero I. Piero II is slated to include a pedestrian bridge over St. Paul Street that will connect a rooftop swimming pool deck to the first phase of the Piero. The $70 million development is tentatively slated for completion in 2012. At

RENATO APARTMENTS Construction on nonprofit developer SRO Housing Corp.’s Renato Apartments, a 96-unit complex for the chronically homeless, is complete, said Joseph Corcoran, the company’s director of planning and housing development. The project, which replaces the Leo Hotel, includes two levels of subterranean parking with 64 spaces. The $25 million effort at 531 S. San Julian St. is expected to be finished by Oct. 15. Fiftyeight units are reserved for chronically homeless, mentally ill

Although plans for a $165 million development died over the summer due to financing problems, the city has started to look again for a developer to activate the 1.9-acre site on Broadway between College and Spring streets. The city recently purchased the land for $9.9 million, and is preparing a bidding process that will begin next month, said Lillian Burkenheim, the CRA project manager responsible for the Blossom Plaza site. She said a new developer for the property that currently holds the closed Little Joe’s restaurant could be chosen by the winter. Previous plans called for a mixeduse development with 262 residential units, 20% of them dedicated to affordable housing. The design by Nakada & Associates envisioned two towers with 43,000 square feet of retail space, a 372-car garage and a 17,500-square-foot plaza to be used for community events. Entitlements for those plans have been secured.

L.A. CENTRAL According to the most recent information available, the New York-based Moinian Group is still looking for a construction loan to finance a mixed-use project at Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street across from L.A. Live. The long-stalled effort gained a reprieve in March after its lender agreed to extend the developer’s financing; the Moinian Group had

Downtown News 11

Development for $44 million. The city is negotiating the sale of the land to Kaji & Associates, the managing partner of Nikkei Center LLC. The sale was expected to close before the end of the year. Jon Kaji of Kaji & Associates, the managing partner in the project, did not return recent calls, but in July the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee approved an initial Environmental Impact Report for the site. City Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller said that any developer building a project on the land would still have to complete a full EIR and obtain entitlements. The city-owned site, known as Mangrove, is part of a 10-acre plot that also contains a fire station and an emergency operations center. The $300 million development would include 400 apartments, with 110 reserved for seniors and low-income residents; 80,000 square feet of largely Japanese-themed retail; an office tower; nearly 1,300 parking spaces; and public gardens.

tower with 126 market-rate apartments and 98 affordable residences, and a retail pavilion. Related West Coast President Bill Witte said in August that he plans to seek a two-year extension of the current February 2011 deadline to begin construction. One parcel set aside for a later phase of the project was repositioned as the site of the Broad Collection, a contemporary art museum funded by philanthropist Eli Broad.

VIBIANA photo by Gary Leonard

photo by Gary Leonard

September 20, 2010

SANTEE VILLAGE been facing foreclosure on the property since the previous November, when it defaulted on a Wachovia loan for $55 million used to purchase the four-acre site. Moinian bought the current parking lot for $80 million from L.A. Live developer Anschutz Entertainment Group in 2006. Wells Fargo, which took over Wachovia, agreed to withdraw its effort to pursue foreclosure and instead gave Moinian flexibility to pay its debt, said Oskar Brecher, Moinian’s director of development, in March. While that decision granted some relief to Moinian, it did not necessarily move the $1 billion project closer to groundbreaking. The company is still looking for financing to build what will likely be a scaled-down version of the project that the city has entitled. The initial plan called for 53- and 37-story towers housing 860 condominiums, plus 250,000 square feet of retail space, a grocery store, restaurants and a boutique hotel with 222 rooms.

NIKKEI CENTER According to the most recent information available, Nikkei Center LLC is still working on an agreement with the city to purchase a five-acre parcel at First and Alameda streets

Marla Vidal, community manager for Santee Village, said one of the four completed for-sale buildings in the Fashion District complex still has yet to open, and there is no timeline for a debut. Santee Village houses 445 residences and 66,000 square feet of retail space. Bank of America took over ownership after original developer MJW Investments backed out of the condo portion of the project, leaving the buildings (and a $67.5 million loan from Bank of America) in the hands of its secondary lender, the Connecticut-based Patriot Group. Last year The Patriot Group subsidiary Santee Village Partners LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to court documents, but never followed through with a reorganization plan, leading to the bank takeover.

THE GRAND Most of The Grand, a $3 billion, Frank Gehry-designed project that would rise on Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill, remains stalled. Developer Related Cos. has been unable to obtain the construction financing needed for the 1.3 million-squarefoot first phase of the project. Although the development’s 16-acre, $56 million Civic Park broke ground in July, there remains no timeline for the rest of the mega-project, which includes a 48-story Mandarin Oriental Hotel & Residences with 295 hotel rooms and 266 condominiums, a 19-story

Negotiations are still underway for a restaurant to open in the rectory of the former Archdiocese cathedral, said Anika Warden Ingalls, sales manager for Vibiana. Grace restaurant, which closed its Beverly Boulevard location in June in anticipation of a move Downtown, is slated for the space. According to the restaurant’s website, Grace at Vibiana is scheduled to open in early 2011. It will take up the first three floors of the rectory building and will include a bar and lounge with a rooftop terrace that will overlook the first level courtyard. Developers Gilmore Associates and Weintraub Financial Services recently completed a second round of see Projects, page 12

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September 20, 2010

Development Complex at 322 Lucas Ave. in City West. The district’s next step is to solicit bids from charter groups to help fund and eventually run the school. At



EXPOSITION LIGHT RAIL The Exposition Light Rail’s La Cienega station is scheduled to open next summer, while a 2012 debut is expected for the Venice/Robertson station, said Gabriella Collins, a spokeswoman for the Exposition Construction Authority. Crews are now working on all stations along the route and are also taking on street reconstruction throughout the alignment and at major intersections. The $862 million project will connect Downtown to Culver City. The eightmile route will share two stops with the Blue Line and will add nine new stations. Management of the project is a joint venture of FCI Construction, Inc., Fluor Corp. and Parsons Corp. At

photo by Gary Leonard

Continued from page 11 renovations at the events venue. The upgrades included a garden redesign, mechanical system improvements and a new finishing kitchen. The 130-year-old landmark now hosts community gatherings, performances, fundraisers, weddings and red carpet events. The partners have also discussed, but are not yet moving forward on, a high-rise for the property immediately south of the former cathedral. At and

WILSHIRE GRAND/ KOREAN AIR PROJECT The team behind a $1 billion, two-building project at the northwest corner of Seventh and Figueroa streets is seeking a tax break for a hotel in the development. Korean Air, the owner of the Wilshire Grand hotel, and Thomas Properties Group, which is working as the developer on the deal, have said they intend to raze the 1952 building and erect a 45-story tower holding a 560-room, four-star hotel along with 100 residences, and a 65-floor office tower. Officials have begun the effort to secure a bed tax waiver similar to the one granted to the developers of the Convention Center hotel and the proposed Grand Avenue plan hotel. A TPG official said that the project will not pencil out without the waiver, and warned that if it is not granted, Korean Air could sell or even close the 900-room hotel at 930 Wilshire Blvd.

FEDERAL BUILDING Work on a $90 million seismic upgrade of the Federal Building at 300 N. Los Angeles St. is ongoing and is scheduled to be complete in fall 2011, said Gene Gibson, regional public affairs officer for the General Services Administration. Work that has been done on the structure includes new fire safety systems, replacement of original ceiling and lighting systems, signage, security systems, elevator work and environmental remediation. The project grew in scope when it secured $19.5 million in Recovery Act funds that will make it more energy efficient. A community-oriented effort to revitalize the heart of Chinatown is ongoing, as some 40 property owners have applied for up to $3 million in city grants to renovate their buildings. The Community Redevelopment Agency is leading the program to revitalize Central and West plazas and Bamboo Lane. The grants, through the CRA’s façade improvement program, would cover property owners’ efforts to add new paint, install Chinese architectural features and create neon lighting. Dozens of the proposed façade improvements are nearing finalization of design plans for the upgrades. The CRA is also helping to coordinate a monthly craft vendor fair starting Oct. 9. Other long-term proposals

CIVIC CENTRAL REGION HIGH SCHOOL NO. 12 In early 2009, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board approved a plan to find a charter organization to develop and operate a new Downtown high school. The proposed 500seat facility would rise next to the Miguel Contreras Learning



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FEDERAL COURTHOUSE City leaders are waiting for a report from the Chief Legislative Analyst’s office to determine if an exchange involving the Federal Courthouse and the nearly vacated Parker Center would be in the city’s interest, said Eva Kandarpa, a spokeswoman for Ninth District Councilwoman Jan Perry. In July the City Council approved a motion by Perry to consider a property exchange between the city and the federal government. The 3.6-acre federal site, at the southwest corner of First Street and Broadway, is set aside for a 41-room court-


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house, though the project has been stalled since the projected cost ballooned to more than $1 billion — Congress had appropriated $314 million for the building. The site previously held a state office building, though that was razed and now there is just a fenced-off hole. Meanwhile, Gene Gibson, regional public affairs officer for the General Services Administration, said the GSA can’t address the issue of a property switch, and said that no one has approached the agency about the subject. She said the GSA has been working with the courts over the past year to revisit the project.

HALL OF JUSTICE The County Board of Supervisors is expected to receive a report in November detailing how the edifice at 211 W. Temple St. would be rehabilitated, along with projections on cost and financing. If the plans are approved, the project would move forward, with an aim to open the building in mid-2014. A June report from county CEO William Fujioka found that renovating the 14-story 1926 landmark could cost $216.4 million, a significant drop from the estimated $285 million price tag a few years ago. The report stated that rehabilitation could take up to three and a half years. The 1925 Civic Center structure is empty and gutted, but once housed the Sheriff’s Department, a jail, the Coroner’s office and the District Attorney’s office. It was vacated after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

photo by Gary Leonard


In July, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the entire Los Angeles River as “traditional navigable waters.” The following month, First District City Councilman Ed Reyes introduced a motion to establish a non-motorized boating program along the parts of the river that fall in city boundaries. A report on the feasibility of the program to allow for activities such as kayaking is due by November, said Reyes spokeswoman Monica Valencia. Meanwhile the Elysian Valley Bikeway is scheduled to open by October, she said. It will extend the

Downtown News 13

Development existing 4.5-mile Glendale Narrows bikeway from Fletcher Drive to Barclay Street. In March, Reyes, along with other local leaders and representatives of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, went to Washington, D.C. to lobby for federal dollars for the project, and the city is still waiting to hear back about any funds it may receive, Valencia said. The overall effort could cost $2 billion and take decades, though full funding has not been secured. The Army Corps of Engineers is also working on a feasibility study for ecosystem restoration that is expected to be complete within two years. Of the five “Opportunity Sites” the revitalization features, three are in and around Downtown Los Angeles: the state park at Taylor Yard, the Chinatown area and the Industrial District. An updated River Improvement Overlay Plan is available for viewing on the city Planning Department’s website. At

LOS ANGELES STATE HISTORIC PARK The California State Parks Department plans to unveil a new proposal for the development of the full 32-acre park adjacent to Chinatown in October, although no other details are being released yet, said Sean Woods, a project spokesman. Previous efforts, which stalled due to the state budget crisis, included creating a space for cultural events and an open meadow for recreation as well as kiosks highlighting the agricultural and cultural history of the city. Meanwhile, there is now a food stand at the park that serves breakfast, lunch and curbside coffee. Hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. At lashp or

LOS ANGELES TRADE-TECHNICAL COLLEGE L.A. Trade-Tech’s multi-phase, $613 million upgrade continues. Currently underway at the campus at 400 W. Washington Blvd. is a restoration of the 102,295-square-foot A Building, which is budgeted at $65 million and is expected to be complete next year. The college opened its five-story South Campus project, which fronts Grand Avenue between Washington Boulevard and 23rd Street, in January; the firm MDA Johnson Favaro handled the designs. The buildings are separated by a mini plaza that marks the campus’ new entrance, where a steel pegasus sculpture was installed in early September. Anil Verma Associates, a Los Angeles-based architecture and engineering firm, is the project manager. Trade-Tech is in the preliminary planning phase for a new track and field, a sports and wellness center and a construction technology building.

METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER Although the $80 million Metropolitan Detention Center was completed last year, the LAPD Jails Division has still not moved in. The facility built to replace the smaller

Parker Center jail requires more staffing — 164 employees compared to the 83 needed at the old jail — a situation complicated by the city’s budget troubles. The department is assessing the possibility of redistributing Jails Division staff across the city in order to open the MDC, said Capt. Clayton Farrell. Meanwhile, there is some activity in the building, as the LAPD Property Division, which maintains evidence and other material, is moving in to the new building. Still, there is no timeline to open the 160,000-square-foot project on Los Angeles Street.

REGIONAL CONNECTOR image courtesy Metro

September 20, 2010

PARKER CENTER REPLACEMENT The city is considering a property swap with the federal government that would give it ownership of a 3.5-acre parcel bounded by Broadway and First, Second and Hill streets in exchange for the Parker Center site. Parker Center, the LAPD’s 54-year-old former headquarters, has been mostly evacuated, following the department’s 2009 move into the Police Administration Building. The LAPD Jails Division is still housed in the aging edifice. The city was looking at authorizing an Environmental Impact Report that would study five options for the site, including adaptive reuse of the building, partial demolition and renovation, and demolition and replacement with a temporary parking lot. But now, the focus has shifted to the possible swap with the federal government, which planned to build a courthouse on the empty 3.6-acre parcel. City leaders are waiting for a report from the Chief Legislative Analyst’s office to determine if the exchange would be in the city’s interest, said Eva Kandarpa, spokeswoman for Ninth District Councilwoman Jan Perry.

Metro released a draft environmental impact report on Sept. 3 for the Regional Connector, a two-mile transit link that would connect the Gold, Blue and under-construction Expo lines. In the report, Metro staff stated a preference for an all-underground route that has won widespread community support. The $1.44 billion underground alternative would come with four new stations, though one at Fifth and Flower streets could be eliminated due to budget constraints. Other options include an aboveground route (estimated at $1.03 billion) and a partially underground alignment ($1.2 billion). The Metro board is expected to select a route this fall, at which point a final EIR would begin. The study will take a year and, once finished, design and engineering would take another two years. Completion is tentatively pegged for 2018. see Projects, page 14





Annual Dinner

Los Angeles Trade Tech College Foundation presents

Celebrate Education: A Pegasus Experience at the New South Campus of  Los Angeles Trade Tech College 2115 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Thursday, October 28, 2010 6:00 pm Registration, Silent Auction & Reception 7:00 pm Dinner & Program

$10 Valet Parking (Immediately south of Grand & Washington on Grand Ave)

2010 Honorees

Tim Leiweke  William Fujioka President & CEO,  CEO,  Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) County of Los Angeles   Dr. Chrysostomos L. Nikias David Sickler President,  Regional Director, University of Southern California Building Trades Council of California   HACER Alumnus, Fine Artist,  Pegasus Creator

2010 Corporate Honoree Bank of America

Introducing the new Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District Dr. Daniel LaVista  

Master of Ceremonies Fritz Coleman NBC4

Black Tie

For additional information, please contact Dr. Rhea Chung at or

14 Downtown News

Continued from page 13

rendering courtesy Bureau of Engineering


designed by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will rise on top of the garage. Approximately 50,000 square feet of space in the building will go to artwork on display in sun-lit galleries, with about 40,000 square feet set aside for archive and storage space. Designs will not be publicly released until October, Broad said. Broad will pay $7.7 million to lease the land south of the entrance of REDCAT for 99 years, with the money going to affordable housing in the Grand Avenue project by the Related Cos. The site had originally been set aside for retail in that project, but plans changed as the development stalled amid the recession. Broad’s museum will hold about 300 works at a time, and pieces from his 2,000-artwork collection will be rotated in.

BROADWAY STREETCAR Officials with the city Bureau of Engineering continue to work on plans to replace the ailing, 78-year-old Sixth Street Viaduct, which spans the Los Angeles River between Downtown and Boyle Heights. A chemical reaction is breaking down the bridge, though officials have said there is no imminent danger of collapse. Since 2007, Bureau of Engineering staff have been looking at repairing, or more likely replacing the structure; they had expected to finish an environmental study on the bridge by this fall, but the report, which includes an analysis of several retrofit or replacement options, is now expected to take another six months. The environmental portion of the study is finished, but the California Department of Transportation’s legal team needs more time to evaluate the report, said CalTrans spokeswoman Judy Gish. Current projections indicate that a new bridge won’t come until 2017 at the earliest. The project is estimated to cost $359 million. The city has identified a new cable-supported structure as a preferred design, which 14th District City Councilman José Huizar supports, though the nonprofit Friends of the Los Angeles River has called for an international design competition to generate other options. FOLAR’s proposal has won backing from the American Institute of Architects, the Urban Land Institute and the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council.



On Sept. 30, 14th District City Councilman José Huizar will hold a fundraiser for the $100 million Broadway streetcar effort with businessmen Tim Leiweke, Rick Caruso and Eli Broad. The event comes in the wake of Huizar’s announcement last month that the streetcar will not meet the originally planned 2014 opening. The decision came after the project missed out on a $25 million federal grant. So far about $10 million has been acquired for the effort through Community Redevelopment Agency funds. The streetcar would connect L.A. Live and Bunker Hill, with a principal spine on Broadway. Jessica Wethington McClean, executive director of Bringing Back Broadway, said that after the government denial, federal officials indicated they want the project to have a local matching funds program in place, and for the streetcar’s environmental process to be further along. Huizar said the majority of the funds will come from an assessment district, with landowners along the streetcar’s route helping pay for it.

BROADWAY REVITALIZATION Fourteenth District City Councilman José Huizar continues to work on his 10-year Bringing Back Broadway initiative, which aims to revitalize the street between Second Street and Olympic Boulevard. A streetscape plan, intended to improve the thoroughfare’s appearance, is underway, with $7 million in sidewalk reconstruction completed in 2009 and another $4 million worth of infrastructure improvements slated for this year. The City Council has also adopted the Broadway Entertainment Overlay Zone and Design Guide, which is aimed at encouraging commercial, entertainment and cultural uses on Broadway. Additionally, some work has occurred on shoring up underground spaces below the sidewalks. Despite those efforts, Huizar said progress has been slow on an attempt to create a city ordinance allowing for a greater mix of uses in spaces above street level. Huizar has said activating that space, which totals more than 1 million square feet, could be vital to Broadway’s turnaround. At

photo by Gary Leonard


space, pathways, an event lawn, additional trees and a small dog run. Monuments on the site have either been moved to another location or protected from construction. About 100 trees have also been removed, and will be replanted later.

MOCA EXPANSION While there is still no timeline or budget information available, a plan to build a three-story, 90,000-square-foot building on a current parking lot adjacent to MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo continues, said Lyn Winter, a spokeswoman for the museum. The project would create 6,000 square feet of educational program space, 18,000 square feet of exhibition/storage space and 66,000 square feet of pure storage space. According to Planning Department records, in 2009 MOCA requested a five-year period after approval to begin construction, which would take about 18 months.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM Exposition Park’s Natural History Museum opened its restored 1913 building on July 11 with The Age of Mammals exhibit. It is the first part of a $107 million transformation that will bring three new permanent exhibits to the rehabbed museum. The 8,800-square-foot Age of Mammals occupies a renovated wing of the building. Another new exhibit, Dinosaur Mysteries, will arrive in 2011, with a third wing focusing on environmental history debuting in 2012. Also part of the transformation is a 3.5-acre project that will create a new “front yard” for the facility. Called the North Campus, the project will include interactive outdoor exhibits and create 11 “zones,” with monikers such as Urban Edge, Transition Garden and Car Park. It is set to open next July. The North Campus itself will cost $30 million; $10 million comes from the county, and the rest will be raised from private donors.

NINTH AND HILL PARK rendering by Liquid Light Studios


September 20, 2010


The proponents of a park at Ninth and Hill streets are in the midst of an aggressive effort to transform a current .7-acre parking lot into green space. A website features a virtual walk-through of the proposed park and a film telling the story behind the park effort. The group has applied for $5 million in state Proposition 84 funds, and group representative Rick Morris said 14th District City Councilman José Huizar is helping them access about $1 million in Quimby funds for site acquisition. Plans call for the park to include a stage, a children’s play area and other amenities. Numerous public meetings have been held on the proposed green space, and fundraising efforts are underway, said Morris. At

SPRING STREET PARK Design concepts have been completed and a groundbreaking is scheduled for the fall of 2011 for an approximately one-acre park on Spring Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, said Eva Kandarpa, a spokeswoman for Ninth District Councilwoman Jan Perry. The park is expected to open by late summer 2012, she said. The city purchased the parcel from developer Downtown Properties for approximately $5 million. The space between Downtown Properties’ Rowan and El Dorado buildings is currently a parking lot.

Husband and wife team John and Christina Kim are nearly done restoring the Belasco Theater. The Kims, who have a long-term lease on the property owned by Mehdi Bolour, have spent about $10 million to repair the old theater and reposition it as an event space. It still needs final city inspections, which could come as soon as November, project spokeswoman Sharon Dominguez said. The project next to the Mayan Theatre includes a restoration of the original theater, a separate ballroom, a downstairs lounge that will function as a jazz club, two restaurant spaces and a ground-floor wine bar to be called 10 Fifty (the theater is at 1050 S. Hill St.). The Kims will manage and operate all the venues. The couple is shooting for a November opening to coincide with the theater’s original opening in November 1926.

BROAD COLLECTION On Aug. 23, philanthropist Eli Broad confirmed longtime speculation when he announced that his $100 million Broad Collection contemporary art museum will rise on Grand Avenue directly south of Walt Disney Concert Hall; he had also been considering a site in Santa Monica. Construction on a three-story parking garage for 284 cars will begin in October and go from lower Grand Avenue to upper Grand Avenue. The 120,000-square-foot museum, which is being

BUSINESS 7+FIG RENOVATION On July 15, the water stopped running at the Arthur J. Will fountain behind the county Hall of Administration, and work officially began on the $56 million Grand Avenue Civic Park. The project, slated to be complete in the summer of 2012, was funded by the up-front payment Grand Avenue plan developer Related Cos. made to the county. The design by Rios Clementi Hale Studios will eliminate the large circular parking ramps at the north end of the site (across from the Music Center) and the L-shaped entrance points near Broadway. The new 12-acre facility will feature terraced green

There is still no timeline for the completion of the second phase of the renovation of the outdoor shopping center at Seventh and Figueroa streets, said Bert Dezzuti, senior vice president of owner Brookfield Properties. However, some tenants at the mall said they recently received a letter from Brookfield telling them to vacate their shops by January due to upcoming two-year construction work on the property. Dezzuti would not comment on the letter and said only that the company would announce plans for the renovation shortly. The next round of upgrades is tied to the future tenant of the vacant Macy’s, although renovations would take

September 20, 2010

BYD HEADQUARTERS Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, announced plans in April to bring its headquarters to the Figueroa Corridor. The company is currently building out its future home at 1800 S. Figueroa St., and is on pace to finish construction in February 2011, said Micheal Austin, a company spokesman. The new facility will function as a showroom for the firm’s electric cars and other sustainable technologies, including solar energy creation and storage systems, and a center for research and development offices. The property is owned by the Shammas Group.

CECIL HOTEL/STAY The Lanting Hotel Group is still attempting to secure a beer and wine license for a restaurant called Tuck at the 600-room Cecil Hotel at 636 S. Main St. The project has been delayed by protests from local organizations over the outlet’s application for a beer and wine license, said company president Bill Lanting. A lawsuit between the hotel owner and the city over the building’s designation as a residential hotel continues and any further improvements to the property are on hold until the legal issues are resolved, Lanting said. The building also contains the youth hostel Stay.

rendering courtesy of the Community Redevelopment Agency


Good Samaritan Hospital is working on securing city and state approvals for a medical office building that will break ground this fall, according to hospital officials. The project is scheduled to take about two years. The 190,000-square-foot structure at Wilshire Boulevard and Witmer Street in City West will include a first-floor women’s health/ imaging center, a pharmacy and cancer treatment services. The building would also include an outpatient surgical facility on the second floor and five levels of physicians’ offices. The cost is estimated between $70 million and $80 million. Architecture firm Ware Malcomb is overseeing the design, while Millie and Severson is handling construction.

CORPORATION BUILDING A group of investors that owns the 14-story Corporation Building at 724 S. Spring St. is transforming the commercial structure, which for years housed garment manufacturers, into creative office space. Units ranging from about 400-4,000 square feet are being leased for $1-$1.50 per square foot. The building is about 45% occupied, said Jay Lopez, who is handling leasing. Current tenants include artists, architects and other creative users. At

LUXE CITY CENTER HOTEL The Luxe Hotels company’s renovation and rebranding of the former Holiday Inn on Figueroa Street, across from L.A. Live, is nearly complete. The project, in partnership with longtime property owner Emerick Hotel Corporation, has turned the Holiday Inn’s 200 rooms into 180 larger rooms, including 15 suites. The room renovations are complete, thought work continues on the rehab of the lobby, two restaurant spaces and the building’s exterior and signage. Those elements are slated for an early November completion, Kelly said. Sand Design is handling designs. The project has an estimated budget of $10 million. At

OMNI HOTEL RENOVATION Work on a $12 million renovation of the hotel at 251 S. Olive St. will start in mid-2011 and take place in several phases, said Chaya Donne, director of marketing for the Bunker Hill facility. No completion date has been announced for the project. The hotel will remain open throughout the process; work will include upgrading the guest rooms as well as public and meeting spaces. The 17-story hotel has 453 rooms.

STANFORD REGENCY PLAZA According to the most recent information available, an $80 million, 400,000-squarefoot complex for wholesale garment businesses remains on hold as developer the KI Group is entangled in a lawsuit with the project’s lender. The development was 90% complete when the KI Group sued the lender. Plans call for 132 showrooms that will sell for $1 million-$3 million. The project at 810 E. Pico Blvd. is being designed by the firm MAI. The project had been slated to open in fall 2009.

The city is again working to find an anchor tenant for the Cleantech Manufacturing Center. The Community Redevelopment Agency launched a public bidding process on Sept. 9 for a firm to develop the 20-acre site. The agency has been trying to bring an environmentally friendly technology company to the land east of Santa Fe Avenue


photo by Gary Leonard

photo by Gary Leonard

near the intersection of 15th Street and Washington Boulevard since September 2008. AnsaldoBreda, an Italian rail car manufacturer, had been slated to develop the plot before it pulled out of a deal last year. The city purchased the property from the state for $14 million in 2008 and spent $2.2 million to clean up the contaminated plot. The city is looking for industrial users and traditional development teams to submit conceptual proposals, qualifications, business and financing plans for the site, with construction set to begin in 2013. The city wants a developer to create at least 100 new jobs in the first five years, with a total of at least 250 jobs after that. Bids are due Dec. 3. At place regardless of who fills the space. The department store occupied 125,000 square feet of space. Brookfield Properties is not discussing plans for that space, but numerous Downtown real estate sources said that negotiations are underway between Brookfield and Minneapolis-based Target. The mall has already undergone some upgrades including repainting the old 1980s color motif. An 80,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Bullock’s department store is also vacant.

Downtown News 15


HOPE STREET FAMILY CENTER Mike Czarcinski, managing director of the 1,354-room establishment. Work on that phase includes the lobby, public spaces and meeting rooms. It should be complete by January. An upgrade of 700 rooms was completed this year. The remaining rooms in the hotel at 404 S. Figueroa St. will be renovated in 2011. The hotel will remain open throughout the work.

NONPROFIT/COMMUNITY BUDOKAN LOS ANGELES The Little Tokyo Service Center is still waiting for the city to present a ground lease that will allow the nonprofit to move forward with its proposed recreation center, said LTSC Executive Director Bill Watanabe. The facility is slated to rise on a city-owned parcel on Los Angeles Street between Second and Third streets in Little Tokyo. Formerly known as the Little Tokyo Recreation Center, the project has officially been dubbed Budokan Los Angeles. The city has long expressed interest in erecting a parking facility on the site, then letting the LTSC build the Budokan above it. But it remains unclear whether the parking garage would be a public or private operation, Watanabe said. The LTSC has begun to reach out to potential donors and is also looking for public funds to help pay for the $15 million project, Watanabe said. Preliminary designs by architecture firm Takase and Associates call for an approximately 30,000-square-foot gymnasium that would house four courts for basketball, volleyball or martial arts, plus a rooftop outdoor space. Watanabe said his group hopes to have the ground lease by the end of the year. At

The California Hospital Medical Center is finalizing negotiations with the Community Redevelopment Agency to construct a $15.7 million recreation and childcare facility at the southeast corner of Venice Boulevard and Hope Street. The project has been delayed multiple times but is now slated for a January 2011 groundbreaking, said hospital development associate Amy Parsons. The Hope Street Family Center, designed by the nonprofit Abode Communities, calls for a four-story, 26,000-square-foot structure housing administrative offices, classrooms and an outdoor basketball court. Financing California Hospital Medical Center has raised for the project includes $3 million in state Prop 40 funds and an $8 million loan from the CRA. At

PROJECT HOME Construction continues on the Downtown Women’s Center’s Project Home, a housing development at 434 S. San Pedro St. The 67,000-square-foot industrial space is being turned into 71 apartments for low-income women and is on pace to finish in October, with move-ins expected in December, said Joe Altepeter, the organization’s site director. Project Home will allow the DWC to help more than 3,500 homeless women and serve 75,000 meals annually, an increase from the current level of aiding 2,000 women and serving 45,000 meals a year at its 325 S. Los Angeles St. location. While initial plans called for the DWC to vacate the Los Angeles Street locale to make way for the nearby Medallion development, that project has been scaled back and will not require the DWC’s displacement, Altepeter said. Thus, once Project Home is complete, the DWC intends to rensee Projects, page 16

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16 Downtown News

Continued from page 15 ovate its current building and use it as well. The Community Redevelopment Agency has allocated $3.5 million for Project Home. Another $8 million is coming from state funds and the nonprofit is 85% finished with a capital campaign to raise $35 million for the project. At


ORSINI III The third component of developer G.H. Palmer Associates’ Orsini apartment complex was completed in June and is open, company owner Geoff Palmer said. Orsini III is a six-story, 210-unit project at Figueroa Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue; it sits across the street from Palmer’s existing Orsini I and Orsini II. The $43 million effort features studio, one- and twobedroom units, a three-level podium with 13,000 square feet of commercial space and a 477-car garage. At

photo by Gary Leonard


September 20, 2010


Work continues on the $73 million Downtown L.A. YWCA Job Corps Urban Campus, and the project at 1020 S. Olive St. is on schedule to open in mid-2012, according to YWCA officials. The 155,000-square-foot building is slated to house the YWCA Job Corps Center and will consolidate the program’s housing and  service facilities that are currently scattered throughout six Downtown sites. The Job Corps program provides job training and transitional housing for homeless, emancipated and at-risk youth. The seven-story edifice will include classrooms, 200 residential rooms that will house 400 Job Corps trainees, and a medical center.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY COMMUNITY SCHOOLS Move-ins began in August for a $40 million, 65-unit adaptive reuse project in the Historic Core. Bill Stevenson of developer Downtown Properties said more than 50% of the building at 416 S. Spring St. has been sold, and he expects the rest of the project to sell by the end of the year. Prices range from $250,000-$800,000 for one- and two-bedroom condos in the 75,000-square-foot building. While sales have gone well, Stevenson said the project, which originally had a budget of $27 million, was an economic disaster, and that the company would only be able to pay off the bank after all the units sell, without making a profit. He blamed problems with the city and delays with retrofitting the concrete and rebar in the 1913 building for the hike in cost. The structure contains an ornate two-level lobby that features about 2,000 Batchelder tiles. The lobby will be turned into a restaurant, while a bar will open in the basement. At

JAPANESE VILLAGE PLAZA RENOVATION The three-year renovation of the Japanese Village Plaza outdoor shopping center was unveiled on Aug. 14, just in time for the 70th annual Nisei Festival. The upgrade by mall owners American Commercial Equities features new walkways and landscaping, new lighting, the replacement of some storefronts and signage, refurbished roofs, a new fountain and a stage for community events. The highlight of the upgrade was the replacement of the 30-year-old fire tower fronting First Street. The original tower was made of wood and had become infested by termites. The new structure is metal and painted red, like the original.

A grand opening ceremony for the 76-unit Charles Cobb Apartments took place in June. The project at 521 S. San Pedro St. in Skid Row is a permanent supportive housing residence; it holds many of the people who are enrolled in Los Angeles County’s Project 50 program. The $13.1 million effort was developed by Skid Row Housing Trust. Units come furnished and some of them have balconies. The building also contains a “green roof” with white stone terraces and water-saving succulent gardens.




The long-awaited Medallion development began move-ins in August, said project developer Saeed Farkhondepour. The massive effort, which fronts Main, Los Angeles and Fourth streets, contains 96 apartments and two distinct retail elements. Rents in the apartments range from $1,350-$2,400 for 617-square-foot studios up to 1,048-square-foot twobedroom units. The 85,000 square feet of retail is divided into several buildings; stores fronting Main will seek to fit with the character of the Old Bank District and house restaurants, cafes and possibly a grocery store. The buildings along Los Angeles Street would be smaller spaces catering to Toy District merchants. Altogether there are 200 retails spaces. The project also holds an open area for concerts and community gatherings. At

The long, difficult development of the residential tower at 705 W. Ninth St. in South Park came to an end in May, when leasing began at the renamed Watermarke Tower. The project was launched by Downtown landowner and developer Meruelo Maddux Properties, which spent about $150 million on the 35-story edifice that was originally slated to hold condominiums. Meruelo Maddux, which has been embroiled in financial troubles, sold the building to Corona-based Watermarke Properties for $110 million. The 214 units were brought online as apartments, with rents of about $3 per square foot for residences from 862-1,546 square feet. The aqua-colored building holds one- and two-bedroom units; all of the latter feature balconies. The property boasts a cardio workout room, an Infinity pool and a 357-space parking garage.

photo by Gary Leonard

photo by Gary Leonard


Downtown Management completed the 143-unit Spring Arcade Building at 541 S. Spring St. in June. Apartments in the 1926 Beaux Arts structure range from 590-1,600 square feet and rent for $1,100-$2,900, said Greg Martin of Downtown Management. The building has a retail mall that connects Broadway and Spring Street and includes dozens of budget apparel, video and electronics stores. The developer has retained an architect to design a future renovation of the commercial space, but there is no timeline for that. Units feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and a soft-loft look, with central air. The building also holds a subterranean parking facility. At

Downtown Management completed the conversion of the Jewelry Trades Building to 63 apartments in June. Units in the edifice at 220 W. Fifth St. range from 580-1,200 square feet, and rents are $1,100-$3,700, said Greg Martin of Downtown Management. The transformation preserved some of the 1912 structure’s original details, including the wide, tiled corridors. Apartments feature wood floors, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Parking is available through the landlord at the Spring Arcade Building. At

BLACKSTONE TOWER The conversion of a 1916 department store into 82 luxury apartments began move-ins over the summer. According to online rental site, units in the six-story project at 901 S. Broadway, by developer Allen Gross, rent from $1,600 for studios up to $3,200 for two-bedroom apartments.


The 421-unit student housing complex University Gateway opened in June, and by late August was 75% occupied, said John Hrovat, a principal with Urban Partners, the developer of the $200 million project at 3335 S. Figueroa St. The eightstory complex can hold about 1,600 students, with a bed in a two-bedroom apartment starting at $899 and going for as much as $3,000 for single occupancy in a one-bedroom unit. University Gateway was designed and built by Clark Construction. All units come fully furnished, including flatscreen televisions. There is also an Internet-ready laundry room, roof decks, a gym, study rooms and a 24-hour concierge. The development was announced in 2005 but was delayed for years due to legal battles with another area student housing developer. The project includes 81,500 square feet of ground-floor retail, half of which will be taken up by the university for office space. The rest will hold restaurants, a bank and a CVS pharmacy said Hrovat. At


A 6,000-square-foot dog park opened in the Arts District at Fourth and Molino streets on Sept. 11. Development of the park was spearheaded by the Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association, which arranged to clean the vacant lot, build new fencing and spread decomposed granite on the site. Help also came from LAPD Senior Lead Officer Jack Richter. The long-neglected property is owned by the Honda family, the owner of Little Tokyo’s Honda Plaza, which agreed to let LARABA take over the park in exchange for the nonprofit paying the land’s taxes and buying an insurance plan.

The $578 million schools complex in the former Ambassador Hotel west of Downtown is open. On Sept. 13, a 1,000-seat school for fourth through eighth graders and a 2,474-seat high school debuted on the Wilshire Boulevard complex. A one-third acre park honoring Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was killed in the hotel, also opened that day. The campus includes two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a soccer field, and extensive athletic facilities. In September 2009, the first phase of the project, a 1,050-seat school for kindergarten through third graders, opened on the 24-acre site. The Hensel Phelps Construction Company built all three schools. At

photo by Gary Leonard

photo by Gary Leonard


September 20, 2010


Downtown News 17

September 20, 2010


a special advertising supplement The rooftop garden at South Park Lofts.

In the Heart of Little Tokyo Hikari and Sakura Crossing Blend Tradition and Contemporary Living

Cultural Connection The Towers Deliver a Rich Downtown Experience


Sakura Crossing apartments highlight sophisticated, modern design.


esigned by noted residential developer Related, Hikari and Sakura Crossing are the newest and most exciting homes to enhance Downtown’s historic Little Tokyo district. FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

The stunning 128-unit Hikari features contemporary studio, one- and two-bedroom residences designed with oversized windows for views and light, sleek granite kitchens, sumptuous baths, media outlets, and washers and dryers. Hikari is more than a place of residence. It is a place of wonder, where residents can swim in a glistening blue pool, sunbathe on a private terrace, socialize in a fabulous lounge, exercise in a state-ofthe-art fitness center, and even conduct business in a fully-equipped business center. There is also convenient 24-hour underground parking with direct building access. Little Tokyo is Downtown’s hottest place to live. Absolutely everything can be found in this diverse neighborhood, which is just a short walk to surrounding districts bursting with music, restaurants, art, shopping, sports and nightlife.

Sakura Crossing Sakura Crossing is bold and contemporary. Its forms, colors and materials were inspired by neighborhood warehouses and Toy District buildings. The architecture of Sakura Crossing also references its immediate surroundings, especially the revered Noguchi garden directly across San Pedro Street. Modern, yet respectful of both its neighbors and the past, Sakura Crossing is a welcome new addition to the streetscape of Downtown L.A. Designed by Studio Gaia, this extraordinary collection of contemporary architect-designed homes ranges from spacious sun-filled studios to light and airy one- and two-bedroom apartments. Each showcases a gourmet kitchen with sleek, white contemporary cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and polished Caesarstone counters and honed hardwood floors. Ceramic tiled baths are equipped with oversized medicine cabinets, abundant mirrors and opulent Caesarstone vanities. Notable features include a stackable washer/dryer, designer carpeting in all bedrooms, and customized and/or walk-in closets. Many residences include private outdoor terraces. Luxury amenities include a rooftop

Hikari offers stunning, contemporary homes in one of Downtown’s hottest districts.

lounge with landscaped sundecks for sunbathing, entertaining and private barbecue dining, a rooftop screening room with oversized outdoor private terrace, a courtyard terrace with outdoor fireplace, pool and Jacuzzi, and outdoor barbecue dining*, state-of-the-art fitness center**, and a professionally designed business center with Internet access*. For added convenience, there is 24hour underground parking with direct building access** and an on-site ATM. (*Additional charge; **additional charge for some services.) Both Hikari and Sakura Crossing were envisioned as an oasis by Related, the nation’s most acclaimed developer of luxurious metropolitan homes. Over the past quarter-century, Related has dramatically redefined the American skyline through its contribution of important new architectural landmarks in such cities as New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. The Hikari leasing office is open MondaySaturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call (213) 6258500. The Sakura Crossing leasing office is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call (213) 625-9200.

owntown Los Angeles: Here, the living experience goes unmatched anywhere in the West. A lifestyle richly embellished with art, music and the cultural events that make headlines. Downtown breeds success, housing promiFROM OUR ADVERTISERS

nent firms in impressive architectural sculptures composed of glass, steel and stone. Yet historical elements of yesterday also remain — artifacts of this city’s rich past. From the faithful climb of the renowned cars of Angels Flight to the fantastic urban spectacle of California Plaza, daily life in the Towers’ neighborhood remains unsurpassed. Extraordinary fountains, garden alcove retreats, gourmet dining and first-run entertainment provide the perfect setting for a lifetime of enjoyment. Downtown holds all the essentials to fulfill the most demanding lifestyles. During the day, you are moments from the business district, minimizing or even eliminating a commute. Evenings become immersed in a flood of nightlife, movies and culture beneath the brilliant lights of the city. Day and night, the Towers place residents among all the excitement Downtown offers. Promenade Towers greets guests via a twostory lobby embellished with a tranquil indoor waterscape. Four impressive towers embrace a breathtaking pool, spa and fitness center in an oasis of flowing fountains and immaculate landscaping — a true departure from the ordinary. Promenade Towers’ individual design includes apartments with balconies, contemporary solarisee The Towers, page 20

photo by Gary Leonard

18 Downtown News

September 20, 2010

Downtown News 19

Downtown Residential

A New Lifestyle At TenTen Wilshire The Place Where Living, Working and Playing Is Just a Suitcase Away


enTen Wilshire is the ideal place for business-minded individuals to live, work and play. Whether you are a travel manager, relocation specialist, working professional or entrepreneur, TenTen Wilshire provides the perfect blend of amenities and necessities to make your FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

decision an easy one. You have heard the phrase “Live, Work and Play” countless times, but not until now have all three been addressed in a single lifestyle solution. Located on Los Angeles’ world fa-

Downtown, it’s not just big business anymore! Call Now Fo r

It’s our business to make you comfortable... at home, downtown. Corporate and long term residency is accommodated in high style at the Towers Apartments. Contemporary singles, studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartment homes Move-In provide fortunate residents with a courteous full service lobby attendant, heated pool, spa, complete fitness center, sauna and recreation room with kitchen. Beautiful views extend from the Towers’ lofty homes in the sky. Mountain vistas and slender skyscrapers provide an incredible back drop to complement your decor. Far below are a host of businesses ready to support your pampered downtown lifestyle. With spectacular cultural events nearby, even the most demanding tastes are satisfied. Downtown, it’s not just big business anymore. Visit the Towers Apartments today.

Spec ial s

Grand Tower

255 South Grand Avenue Leasing Information 213 229 9777

mous Wilshire Boulevard, TenTen Wilshire offers 227 luxury suites in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. At TenTen Wilshire, all suites are designated live/work, so conducting business from home in a professional manner just became possible. The suites at TenTen Wilshire come equipped with every imaginable amenity including 24/7 valet parking, drop-off service within two miles, free basic utilities, wired and wireless high speed Internet, premium cable TV, local phone calls, iPod ready sound systems, high definition LCD TVs, full kitchens with stainless steel appliances and extensive kitchenware sets, and individual thermostats for optimum cooling and heating. TenTen Wilshire recently received the award for “Best Rooftop in Downtown Los Angeles.” Inspired by luxury resorts, the world-class rooftop features a full gym, pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, locker rooms, a movie/ screening room, lounge, fire pits, barbecue areas, sundecks, custom outdoor billiard and foosball tables, all while being surrounded by endless panoramic views. It is also a great venue for the complimentary happy hour five days a week, ideal for meeting people and networking. Stop by on Thursday’s from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for a wine and cheese mixer. It is easy to see why TenTen Wilshire is the complete lifestyle solution business professionals need. In an area lined by the most extensive freeway system in the world, including the 110, 10, 101 and 5 freeways, Downtown Los Angeles, home to major legal, financial and telecommunications companies, is also a center for the entertainment, textile, jewelry and fashion industries. Just two blocks from TenTen Wilshire is the 7th Street/ Metro Center, which offers easy access to Metro, Los Angeles’ subway system instantly connecting commuters to Long Beach, Hollywood, Pasadena, LAX and more. Union Station, the access point to Metrolink, Los Angeles’ commuter rail system, is also nearby. With neighbors like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Exposition Park and the Staples Center, additional entertainment and recreational activities are available year round. L.A. Live, a 4 million-square-foot sports and entertainment district, offers many exciting venues and restaurants as well. With flexible lease terms, TenTen Wilshire is the perfect option, whatever your needs may be. TenTen Wilshire, a new lifestyle solution for professionals wanting to live, work and play… no matter how long or short the stay. For more information about TenTen Wilshire contact (877) 338-1010 or visit TenTen Wilshire is at 1010 Wilshire Blvd.

Community Amenities: ~ 24 Hr. Manned Lobby ~ Concierge ~ Pool / Spa / Saunas ~ Fitness Center ~ Gas BBQ Grills ~ Recreation Room

Apartment Amenities: ~ Refrigerator, Stove, Microwave & Dishwasher (most units) ~ Central Air Conditioning & Heating ~ Balconies (most units)

On-site: ~ Dry Cleaners / Dental Office / Restaurants

Promenade Towers 123 South Figueroa Street Leasing Information 213 617 3777 Community Amenities: ~ 24 Hr. Manned Lobby ~ Pool / Saunas ~ Fitness Center ~ Covered Parking

Apartment Amenities: ~ Refrigerator, Stove & Dishwasher ~ Central Air & Heating ~ Solariums and/or Balconies

On-Site: ~ Convenience Store / Coffee House / Yogurt Shop / Beauty Salon

museum Tower 225 South Olive Street Leasing Information 213 626 1500 Community Amenities: ~ 24 Hr. Manned Lobby ~ Concierge ~ Pool / Spa / Saunas ~ Fitness Center ~ Gas BBQ Grills ~ Recreation Room

Apartment Amenities: ~ Refrigerator, Stove, Microwave & Dish washer (most units) ~ Central Air & Heating ~ Balconies (most units)

8 7 7 - 2 65 - 714 6




20 Downtown News

In the Heart of The Financial District Enjoy Life and Relax at The Roosevelt Residences


uxury, location and convenience have always set The Roosevelt Residences apart from other projects in Downtown L.A. Now is the chance to experience everything Downtown has to offer. FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

Centrally located at the corner of Seventh and Flower streets, in the heart of the Financial District, The Roosevelt stands even more exuberant today than it did when built in 1927. Located within walking distance to L.A. Live, Ralphs, the Theater District, Staples Center, the Convention Center, Bunker Hill, the Arts District, and the top restaurants and bars in Downtown, residents can take advantage of everything the city has to offer. Seventh Street is also fast becoming a main retail and entertainment row for Downtown, allowing for a safe, clean and booming urban environment. The Roosevelt’s location above the 7th & Metro subway station offers easy access to the entire MTA transportation system, transporting residents to Universal Studios, Hollywood and Highland, Long Beach, Pasadena, Union Station, the Amtrak lines, and everything in between. Ideally located near FIDM, USC, Loyola Law School and the Colburn Schools, The Roosevelt Residences has something for everyone. Enjoy life, and relax at home. The Roosevelt Residences offer unparalleled amenities. Relax at the serene and beautiful rooftop pool, watch a movie with friends at the resident lounge, stay in shape at the 1,500-square-foot, state-of-the-

art fitness center, get a base-tan before going on vacation in the stand-up tanning machine, treat your muscles to the hydrotherapy machine, wind down with a professional massage in the massage room, and lessen daily stress by refusing to look for parking and let the building’s valet parking staff take care of your car. Life is hard enough — and you work too hard not to enjoy your free time. Live at The Roosevelt Residences and take advantage of the luxury, convenience and location. The Roosevelt homes are beautifully appointed with Sub-Zero refrigerators, Bosh and Kohler appliances and fixtures, hardwood floors and spa-style soaking tubs. Units are now leasing from $1,900 per month. Pick your home today. The leasing showroom is open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. At 727 W. Seventh St., (213) 623-3100, or\rsvlt.



g In


i n e Op

September 20, 2010

Downtown Residential

be o t Oc

The Towers Continued from page 18 ums and angular rooms as exciting as the property’s unique exterior styling. Grand Tower’s sensuous granite exterior distinguishes this landmark development as the address that reflects success. The 24-hour manned lobby provides impressive passage to spacious apartment homes with balconies and a rooftop pool, spa and fitness center with beautiful mountain and city views. Adjacent to the renowned California Plaza, entertainment can be found virtually at your doorstep. Museum Tower neighbors the beautiful Museum of Contemporary Art. This fine collection of apartment homes features expansive floor-toceiling windows. Exhibit your most precious belongings amidst the outstanding backdrop of the city skyline. A controlled access lobby, pool, spa and fitness center provide the upscale amenities Downtown residents desire. Double Assurance of Quality: For more than 50 years, Shapell Industries and Goldrich & Kest Industries have established themselves among America’s most successful and most honored residential developers. Today, their nationwide reputation for providing exceptional housing is earned through a consistent dedication to quality craftsmanship and design. As a result, many of their joint ventures have been cited as model developments. Marina Park in San Diego, Town Square in Santa Ana and The

Promenade and Promenade West in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles have all achieved unparalleled success in these prominent urban centers. Together, they bring to the Towers Apartments a vast combination of experience, talent and integrity. Each has proven its dedication for a total of more than 90 years. It is that strong combination of experience, innovation and commitment to quality that makes Shapell Industries and Goldrich & Kest Industries a team you can rely on for excellence. For leasing information at the Promenade Towers, 123 S. Figueroa St., call (213) 617-3777. For leasing information at the Grand Tower, 255 S. Grand Ave., call (213) 229-9777. For leasing information at the Museum Tower, 225 S. Olive St., call (213) 6261500, or visit

You now have a choice for association property management in Los Angeles. HIGH-RISE



We specialize in high-rise and mid-rise residential condominium buildings. Our trained people make the difference. And with an office downtown, we provide Los Angeles residents with the personalized, local service they expect. MERIT Property Management.

A new collection of 32 very special mid-century modern residences. Located in the heart of Eagle Rock near Downtown. Three floor plans: townhouses, flats and lofts. FHA approved. 3.5% down.

Contact Gregg Evangelho 213-213-0886 865 South Figueroa, Suite 3500 Los Angeles, CA 90017 Visit us.

OXYLOFTS.COM • 323.440.3411 4547 N. Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90041

Your home. Our life’s work.

September 20, 2010

Bauhaus Meets Bohemian In Eagle Rock Oxy-Lofts Blends the Best of City and Suburban Living


he Eagle Rock neighborhood in Los Angeles does it again. Just when you thought the thriving creative community couldn’t get more desirable, the trendy neighborhood will be home to the latest luxury living in the city — Oxy-Lofts. FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

Situated in the heart of Eagle Rock along Eagle Rock Boulevard, Oxy-Lofts are modern and sleek residences perfect for Downtown professionals, artists, families and students. The project is expected to open in October. “We wanted to create a living space that would be modern and comfortable,” said Oxy-Lofts developer Paul Pagnone. “We know that Eagle Rock is one of the most interesting and creative centers in the entire city, and we kept this in mind with all of the design features. I think our tagline says it all, ‘Bauhaus meets Bohemian.’” Not only is the building sleek and modern, but the common area also incorporates an artistic landscape, complete with desert plants and water features. “It was very important to include the local artists in our design,” said Pagnone. “We wanted these residences to be part of the community. This building is all about Eagle Rock.” Oxy-Lofts was designed by renowned architect Jay Vanos, a SCI-Arc alum and teacher. Each of the 32 residences includes hardwood floors, stainless steel

Downtown News 21

Downtown Residential

appliances, and an abundance of windows and natural light. Oxy-Lofts consists of three floor plans: townhomes, flats and lofts ranging from 995 to 1,260 square feet. Oxy-Lofts features single and two-story open floor plans. Every unit has a large, private balcony for outside enjoyment and creative living space. Many units feature spectacular city and mountain views. Worried about price? Don’t be. Oxy-Lofts start in the $400,000s. “We didn’t cut any corners; we incorporated great design with no wasted features or space. We concentrated on the elements residents care about and made sure that everyone who enters this building will get a sense of cosmopolitan living in the L.A.’s greatest neighborhood: Eagle Rock.” HOA dues are approximately $300 per month. Oxy-Lofts is in the heart of Eagle Rock near Downtown L.A. and Pasadena. At 4547 N. Eagle Rock Blvd. Call (323) 440-3411 or visit

High-Rise Living In Downtown Los Angeles MERIT Property Management Brings Fresh Ideas With 30 Years of Experience


n today’s environment, highrise and mid-rise associations have complex compliance mandates they must follow, delinquencies and foreclosures they must FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

contend with, budgets to balance and trends to follow — all with the goal of maintaining property values and a quality of life for residents. “As a high-rise and mid-rise property management company doing business in Los Angeles, we

are introducing a new way of thinking and managing associations in Downtown environments,” said Business Unit Leader, Los Angeles Urban Division, Gregg Evangelho. “With 30 years in property management, we have seen many changes. We look for current trends and look for how to meet the changing expectations of homeowners and board members.” Convenience leads as one of the top trends for Downtown living. see Merit, page 22

Gregg Evangelho, Los Angeles business unit leader, at MERIT’s recent L.A. symposium where more than 120 Downtown residents enjoyed a reception and presentations. He is pictured here with LeBarre Oskane representatives Jeff Leane and Zach Miller.

> dive in today

> now leasing. Cooperating Brokers Welcome Valet parking. Fitness Center. Rooftop pool. Metro station. Resident’s Lounge. Zen garden.

call> 213.623.3100 visit> >showroom open: m-F 10-6, s-s 11-5 727 W. Seventh St., Downtown Los Angeles

22 Downtown News

September 20, 2010

Downtown Residential

Merit Continued from page 21 In response, MERITConnect was developed as a proprietary innovative tool to provide community board members quick, online reliable access to work orders and maintenance logs. As one person aptly stated, you can be in your bunny slippers at home while having access to your association information. In addition, MERITConnect provides residents with dayto-day convenience: When visitors arrive, residents receive interactive personalized messages by email or phone. Need to know when a package arrives? Need your car brought to the front entrance? Concierge services, amenity reservations, valet, package tracking and visitor monitoring are all delivered smoothly to meet today’s expectations for convenience. “They ensure that all of the working parts operate as efficiently and smoothly as possible,” said Elizabeth Mahoney, a board member in a MERIT managed high-rise. Another important trend is the need for quality and followup, which is more challenging in the urban environment. “Owners don’t really see all the complexities involved with managing a high-rise,” Mahoney said. A five-star “white glove building review” ensures quality control through audits from physical maintenance to customer service. “We walk every inch of the building, from the roof to the basement,” Evangelho said. “Nothing goes unnoticed. Whether there is a nick on the wall or spot on the carpet, we analyze, evaluate and create new systems to stay on top of any potential problems because we are aware of our client’s high expectations.” “From soup to nuts, MERIT understands the changing dynamics of homeowner association management and our specific needs… they have training, resources and they select very good people,” Mahoney noted. “Our experience has been a fabulous one. “As residents, we come home and just have a nice experience,” concluded Mahoney. For more information please visit, email Gregg Evangelho at or call (888) 448 9356.

Re-purposed 1920s Building Wows Buyers Alta Lofts in Lincoln Heights Is a Unique Find


lta Lofts in Lincoln Heights offers a unique residential opportunity that today’s buyers are embracing. Alta Lofts is a 1920s adaptive re-use building that blends its original architectural detailing with modern design and true, authentic loft-living spaces. Alta FROM OUR ADVERTISERS

Lofts is further enhanced by historically low interest rates, FHA financing, a state tax credit of up to $10,000 and unbeatable pricing. “Buyers are discovering the distinctiveness and amazing value at Alta,” said Don Mercado, Alta Lofts sales manager. “With its superb location that’s close to everything, plus hard-to-find authentic lofts, there’s nothing else that compares to Alta Lofts.” Offering a great starting price from the $200,000s, low HOA fees, and FHA financing with only 3.5% down, firsttime buyers are taking advantage of this affordable opportunity to attain the benefits of homeownership. Moreover, Alta Lofts buyers may qualify for the state tax credit for new homes of up to $10,000; however, time is of the essence as more than $80 million of the state’s $100 million tax credit allotment has already been reserved or distributed. Alta Lofts showcases raw, industrial-style lofts. It artfully weaves the building’s original 1920s structure with contemporary design and features for today’s diverse lifestyles. There are 104 flats and two-story lofts with up to 1,700 square feet with one and two bedrooms. The four historic floors feature hard lofts with original oversized windows, exposed ducts, columns, and no drywall. The original windows have been retrofitted with double panes. The fifth and sixth floors offer all-new modern, openstyle lofts that reflect the look and feel of the original building. Lofts feature high ceilings, concrete or wood floors, ex-


posed walls and ceilings (in many units), central heat and air, plus laundry hook-ups. Upscale kitchens boast granite countertops and GE Energy-Star stainless steel appliances. Amenities include a large, first-floor courtyard and secured parking for residents and guests. A new social room and workout area will be completed in September. There is an open-air fifth floor deck as well as ground floor commercial space. Alta Lofts is adjacent to Silverlake, Los Feliz, Glendale, Echo Park and Pasadena, and is minutes from Downtown L.A. The sales office and models are open daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Alta Lofts is priced from the high $200,000s to the $500,000s. Alta Lofts is located at 200 N. San Fernando Road in Lincoln Heights. Call (323) 223-3100 or visit Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

TWO HOT! 2 Great New Luxury Rentals in LA’s Hottest Neighborhood. Sakura Crossing and Hikari have it all — SUNBATHE, ENTERTAIN AND BBQ Luxurious Rooftop Lounge with Three Sundecks


FALL SPECIALS LOFT 605 838 sq. ft., balcony and sectional roll-up door WAS $271,400 NOW $247,000

Rooftop Screening Room with Outdoor Private Terrace

LOFT 611 918 sq. ft., balcony, downtown view and sectional roll-up door WAS $293,800 NOW $267,400

LOUNGE, SWIM AND GET COZY Lushly Landscaped Courtyard Terrace with Outdoor Fireplace, Pool and Jacuzzi, and Outdoor BBQ Dining

WORK AND WORKOUT AT HOME Professionally Designed Business Center Ultra Private Fitness Center

The wait is over – the unique living spaces at ALTA Lofts are now selling. Right now you can even qualify for low down payment FHA financing, making ALTA Lofts one of the most affordable choices in town.

METROPOLITAN HOME Custom Gourmet Kitchens with Stainless Steel Appliances and Designer Baths, and Washers and Dryers in Every Home

In Lincoln Heights near cafes, shops, the Brewery Arts Complex, the Gold Line and Downtown.

STEPS TO EVERYTHING Fabulous Downtown Location In the Heart of Little Tokyo


Tour 2 fully decorated models. 1 & 2 bedroom lofts Flats and 2-story units

From the high $200,000s - the high $500,000s


Named one of the top 10 real estate deals*


200 N. San Fernando Rd. | Los Angeles | Sales office unit #101


323.223.3100 | LIVEALTA.COM 3% broker cooperation 375 East Second Street

*, 3/23/10. See sales representative for details.10LHA208

10LHA208 • Alta Ad • 5” x 7.625” • Downtown News • 9/20/10 • bw


235 South San Pedro Street

September 20, 2010

Downtown News 23 photo by Gary Leonard

The Comeback of Homeboy Industries

Father Gregory Boyle talks with a former gang member at Homeboy Industries. A $1.3 million contract approved by the county last week is helping the organization stay afloat.

County Contract Contributes to Nearly $5 Million Recovery by RichaRd Guzmán city editoR


fter letting most of its workforce go in May because of budget woes, Homeboy Industries is getting back on its feet. Last week the pioneering anti-gang organization received a financial boost when the County Board of Supervisors approved a $1.3 million contract. It is part of a recovery effort that has put nearly $5 million in Homeboy’s coffers. “We’re very grateful to the county,” said Father Gregory Boyle last week in his office in Homeboy’s Bruno Street headquarters in Chinatown. The contract will allow Homeboy Industries to hire 20 job trainees and provide programs such as tattoo removal, counseling, job training and case management for 665 people on probation. As part of the agreement, Homeboy must submit a quarterly financial report to the county. “This agreement with Homeboy is intended to support programs that will assist at-risk youth with former gang affiliations in becoming more productive members of society through job training and other counseling related activities,” said Ryan Alsop, assistant chief executive officer for the county, in an email to Los Angeles Downtown News. In May, Boyle shocked Los Angeles when

he announced that the oft-profiled Homeboy industries was cutting 300 jobs and needed $5 million to stay afloat. Although Homeboy has now raised $4.8 million through donations and the county contract, it has also slashed its annual budget from about $10 million to $7.2 million. So far about 100 people have been hired back, said Homeboy Industries Chief Operating Officer Veronica Vargas. “It’s wonderful to feel supported by the county,” Vargas said. “We know they went out of their way to find this funding.” Homeboy Industries was founded by Boyle in 1988 as a gang prevention program while he was a pastor in Boyle Heights. He moved the organization to an $8.5 million facility in Downtown in 2007. Homeboy serves more than 12,000 people a year, offering job training, counseling, educational programs, legal assistance and tattoo removal. It also operates a bakery, a silkscreening businesses and the Homegirl Cafe. Boyle said a drop in donations, plus the recession and decreased funding from government sources, all had a hand in the financial woes. He also admitted some shortsightedness when making the move from Boyle Heights to the Downtown facility. “We were woefully under-funded when we moved to this place and we quadrupled the number of clients that showed up, and then

we met the recession,” he said. “We should have had a capital campaign of $20 million; we had $12 million to build this place and carry on the work.” Boyle said the organization will operate with approximately 200 employees for the foreseeable future to stay within budget. He said services will continue as usual. “Our services haven’t been interrupted for a second, even if they were run by volunteers,” he said. Back to Work Homeboy security guard Vance Webster was among those laid off in May. Still, he kept coming to work. On a recent weekday morning, Webster stood in the lobby as more than two dozen people waited. Some were heavily tattooed; others had recent scars where tattoos had once been. “This place doesn’t just help us, it doesn’t just help a few former gang members, it helps the whole community,” Webster said. After serving time in prison, Webster was getting his life back together with the help of Homeboy Industries. He said he learned valuable lessons about how to stay out of trouble. So after losing his job, he continued to come in every day out of appreciation. “I was laid off like everyone else. The day

we got the news we cried and everything, but come Monday morning we were back at work as volunteers,” he said. Although Webster began receiving a paycheck again a month later, he said the things he learned at Homeboy helped him stay afloat while he was unemployed. He pointed in particular to the financial management classes; he had a month’s pay in his bank account, allowing him to get by until being rehired. “After that, I don’t know what I would have done,” he said. Now, Boyle said he will continue to raise funds to keep Homeboy going. “The good news is that when the troubles were announced, people could have said this is a sinking ship, but no one has said that,” he said. “Everyone has rallied and understands the value of what we offer.” That said, he notes that Homeboy Industries is not back to where it once was. “We’re grateful this has happened,” Boyle said. “But the $1.3 million represents roughly two months and a week of what it costs to run this place. We’re grateful for that, but it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods and there’s no more need.” Contact Richard Guzmán at

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24 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


On the Right Track New Downtown Bike Shop Lures Riders With an Indoor Testing Facility by RichaRd Guzmán city editoR


hen 12-year-old Junior Robinson ambled into D.T.L.A. Bikes, a new cycle shop on Broadway, he seemed taken aback. As he walked down the stairs he stared at the graffiti art on the walls. At the bottom of the steps, he timidly checked out at the slim, bespectacled man bicycling around the shop. Robinson grew more confident with the encouragement of his mother and the approval of the shop owner, Rodney Masjedi. Within minutes, the boy grabbed a bike and was pedaling around a track that circles the interior of the 10,000-square-foot space. “I’ve never seen a bike shop with a track like this before,” said Junior’s mother, Debra Robinson. “At first we thought it was for races, but it’s nice that they can test out the bikes.” Masjedi opened the shop last month in a basement below a clothing store. His goal is not just to attract customers with a place for a test ride, but also to make Downtown Los Angeles a magnet for cyclists. “Downtown is the place people come for good deals from party supplies to major brands, clothing, anything, and so our goal is to make Downtown a place where they come for their bikes as well,” Masjedi said. The track is the primary way the 29-yearold hopes to stand out. It is part of the floor,

and is painted blue to stand out against the white tile. It is relatively slim, about as wide as a bicycle lane on the street; it ends a couple of feet from the wall, allowing Masjedi to display merchandise around it. The reasoning for the track was obvious, and so far, the results are just what Masjedi wanted. “In Downtown with the traffic, it’s tough to test bikes before you buy them,” he said. “Our customers are usually in awe of the indoor track. And if you purchase a bike here, you can come in and ride whenever you want.” One Stop Shop The shop sits under a 5,000-square-foot clothing store, Maxim and Maxim Clothing, owned by Masjedi and his father. It’s a full service center selling its own brand of fixed gear bikes, called D.T.L.A. Fixies, that start at around $300 and can be customized. The store has about 200 bikes in stock and offers other brands, as well as three-wheel rides and children’s bikes. The shop, which also does repairs, is a cavernous space with bikes positioned in the middle of the track. Accessories hang on the side of one wall, while the other holds a second graffiti mural depicting the Downtown skyline. Bikes are not Masjedi’s only business. He has worked as a commercial real estate broker for about eight years and continues to be involved in that field. But bicycling is his passion, and he eagerly encourages others in

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Rodney Masjedi rides around the track that circles the interior of his 10,000-square-foot bike shop on Broadway. D.T.L.A. Bikes opened in August

Downtown to get on two wheels. D.T.L.A. Bikes is not alone in that pursuit. Other bike shops in Downtown include The Spoke on Ninth Street, which specializes in fixed gear bikes, and El Maestro on Main Street, which sells a mix of new and used bikes and does repairs. But with the growing Downtown population, Masjedi thinks the area can sustain a bigger bike shop. “Parking is becoming more difficult, lofts are filling up,” said Masjedi. “I see a big future in bicycling Downtown.” To help push that future, Masjedi has started a bike team made up of customers, friends and Downtown residents. They take rides around the area every Thursday, which are open to anyone. Some people get deals on bikes if they join the ride.

“If people come to our rides and I see them three different times, we can give them certain discounts on products. As long as they’re riding with us and hanging out with us we help them out,” Masjedi said. Take a Test Downtown resident Anne Marie Grewal was riding her bike on Broadway when she spotted the new store. “I take my two kids to preschool in Little Tokyo on my bike, so I was excited to see a place Downtown where I could have my bike serviced,” she said. “It just cracked me up that there’s a track inside.” After having some minor repairs done on her mountain bike, she has had the chance to test out the track too. She came away impressed.

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September 20, 2010

Downtown News 25

photo by Gary Leonard

Park Effort Goes the Video Game Route Virtual Walk-Through Details Proposed Ninth and Hill Green Space

“It made all the difference for me,” she said. Masjedi said that in this early stage, he is averaging about four bike sales daily, mostly fixies. He plans to invest most of the profit back into the business. “Everything I make I put back into the shop. This isn’t about the money at all,” he said. Masjedi plans to expand the business into the upstairs area occupied by the clothing store. Not only would that increase the size and allow him to expand offerings — he would like to carry more brands and electric bikes — but it would boost visibility. Right now the only street-level indicator of D.T.L.A. Bikes is a spray-painted sign on a red wooden door, as well as a bike hanging on the wall above the door. That leads to the shop stairs. While Masjedi has turned his hobby into a business, he admits that the business has taken time away from his hobby. He no longer can afford to spend hours pedaling through the streets of the city. “I just don’t have any more time,” he said. “So during the week I ride around in my own shop.” D.T.L.A. Bikes is at 425 S. Broadway, (310) 508-9990 or Contact Richard Guzmán at

by Jon RegaRdie executive editoR


he proponents of a park at Ninth and Hill streets have launched a new tool in their effort to get momentum — and money — for the proposed urban escape: a video game-like virtual walk-through. A multimedia page at the proposed park’s website,, features a 77-second animated tour through the facility that would rise on a current parking lot next to the Eastern Columbia Building. The video was created by the firm Liquid Light Studios, said Rick Morris, a leader in the team pushing the park. The point of view video enters through an iron gate, follows a path around the .7-acre plot, meanders past trees, a water feature and a children’s play area, and winds up at a performance stage. “It gives people a chance to see what the park will be,” said Morris, noting that meetings have already produced

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a design and even the kinds of trees and flowers that would be planted. The video, along with a slide show telling the story behind the park effort, is intended to whet the public’s appetite and aid in fundraising. With help from state Assembly Speaker John Perez’s office, the group has applied for $5 million in state Proposition 84 money. Additionally, said Morris, 14th District City Councilman José Huizar is helping them access about $1 million in Quimby funds for site acquisition. Morris said the first round of Prop 84 recipients could be announced in coming weeks, and that another batch of grants will be dispensed in March. He also said that the group is approaching some “big names and big corporations” for financing. Additional information on the park effort is at Contact Jon Regardie at image by Liquid Light Studios

Junior Robinson, a 12-year-old customer, tries out a bike on the track at D.T.L.A. Bikes. Customers who buy a bike from the shop can come back and use the track.

A children’s play area is part of a proposed .7-acre park at Ninth and Hill streets.

26 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


photo by Gary Leonard

Shortly after 6 p.m. each evening, the swifts begin circling the chimney of the Chester Williams Buiding.

Swifts Continued from page 1 are actually veterans of Downtown. From his Arts District loft at Seventh and Santa Fe streets, painter Mark Sylbert watched the birds regularly starting in the mid-1990s, when they roosted a few blocks away in an abandoned factory. “I used to take my daughter out on to the fire escape and watch them fly into the chimney at the Nabisco Building,” said Sylbert, referring to the structure now called the Biscuit Company Lofts. “You would not believe the clouds of birds going into that chimney.” Sylbert watched their evening descent into the building at Imperial and Mateo streets, occasionally filming their jittery, circular, aerial dance. But as soon as developer Linear

City began converting the abandoned structure into lofts in 2005 and sealed the chimney, the birds were gone. At least they were gone to Sylbert. Last spring, after years of no swift sightings, he saw a flock flying near City Hall. He returned the next night in his car and followed them to the Historic Core. He parked at Pershing Square, and on foot traced them to their roost at Fifth Street and Broadway. Then he called all the Vaux’s Swift followers he knew. They’re Back The Vaux’s Swift, named after the American naturalist William S. Vaux, is a unique creature, though it shares many traits with its New England cousin the Chimney Swift. During the day, the birds are constantly flying and feeding on airborne insects. In Los Angeles, they spend daylight hours at the L.A.

River, where the wetlands ecosystem offers an abundance of insect meals, said Kimball Garrett, the ornithology collections manager at the Natural History Museum. Some birders believe the swifts roost in vertical shafts for warmth. Garrett said the practice is largely for safety, though they are not always safe. On a recent evening, as the swifts began their descent into the Chester Williams Building, a raven stood guard at the chimney mouth, waiting to pick off a sunset meal. Lately, the swifts have started to flock above the Chester Williams Building shortly after 6 p.m. Then, for the next 45 minutes or so, the flock grows. Last week, Chapman and a group of watchers estimated the flock at more than 5,000, but migratory patterns suggest the group hasn’t yet peaked in size. Other sites along the West Coast have counted about 10,000 birds in one roost. Each evening, once the birds reach a critical mass, they begin to swirl above the chimney in a more clearly defined pattern, as if they’re caught in a descending whirlpool of air. Some break off from the flock and nose dive into the chimney, then once inside, flip right-side-up and cling to the mini ledges of bricks and mortar, Chapman explained. Some don’t make it. Instead of going to sleep for the night, they fall victim to the ravens. As a raven flew away one night last week, a thumb-sized swift feather floated





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down to the parking structure roof. “It’s drama, you know?” Chapman said. “Life and death.” Chapman is taking a cue from cities in Washington and Oregon, where the biannual Vaux’s Swift roosts have become popular community events. The local Audubon Society chapter is organizing viewings on the roof of the Broadway Mall parking structure at 440 S. Broadway on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1. Staffers will be on hand to answer questions at the community viewings, which they’re calling “Birds Over Broadway.” Of course, from now until the swifts make their way south, one can simply go to the Historic Core on any night and look up. Sylbert likens the swifts experience to whale watching, only in the middle of a city. Looking up at the birds, there are constant reminders of the unnatural environment, namely the 747s coasting high above the skyline. “Interfaces like that deeply inside an urban environment are rare,” Sylbert said. “I think it’s something that offers the promise of connecting people to a much broader world they seldom see when going through the narrow streets of Downtown L.A.” Birds Over Broadway events are Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, 6-7:30 p.m., at 440 S. Broadway. Information at (323) 221-2255 or or Contact Ryan Vaillancourt at

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Downtown News 27 stream live at Information on the project is at

Around Town

New Coliseum Turf Passes First Test

Continued from page 2

Little Tokyo’s ‘Cat Lady’ Dies


SC football coach Lane Kiffin might have been the most salient addition when the Trojans stormed through the Coliseum tunnel to face the Virginia Cavaliers on Sept. 11, but he was not the only change in the historic stadium. The team played on an entirely new field, and the season opener marked the first real test for the 107,000 square feet of turf. Drain lines were cleaned, and a new brand of Bermuda “Bull’s Eye” sod was installed. Other changes took place off the field: A new concession stand was erected, and there are more food choices, including some food trucks, than in years past. Additional infrastructure was added to make cell phone service at the stadium better.


er name was Tamae Sahara Edwards, but most people who knew the longtime Little Tokyo resident called her “the cat lady.” Edwards died on Sept. 3 of natural causes. Born in 1925 in Kyoto, Japan, Edwards was a fierce devotee and caretaker of feral cats in the neighborhood and spent most of her spare money on cat food, said Tony Sperl, a Little Tokyo resident and animal activist who knew Edwards well. “She was feeding hundreds of feral cats out of her Social Security check,” he said. Sperl said that Edwards supplemented the dry and canned foods she bought for the animals with rice and fish she cooked in her apartment at the Little Tokyo Towers. In lieu of flowers, Sperl recommended that anyone wishing to make a contribution in her name do so with the Stray Cat Alliance at

Boy Shot in Apparent Gang Incident


olice are investigating a Sept. 11 shooting at Eighth and Spring streets in which a 14-year-old boy was injured. The incident, which detectives believe was gang related and tied to narcotics, took place at about 4:30 p.m. near the alley between Spring Street and Broadway, said Lt. Paul Vernon. The victim was taken to a hospital and released with minor injuries, Vernon said. Detectives believe the incident links back to the Huntington Hotel, a low-income residential complex that has been tied to several shootings this year. Police said the shooting occurred after a group of men affiliated with one gang went to the Huntington Hotel, and were followed to the parking lot by men from a different gang. Anyone with information is asked to call Central Area detectives at (213) 485-5469.

Learn About the High-Speed Rail Plan


he California High-Speed Rail Authority is coming to Downtown this week. On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the agency will host a public forum to present project updates and potential routes for the proposed high-speed system that would link Union Station with Palmdale, San Diego and Anaheim; it could extend to San Francisco in the future. The meeting will cover proposed station locations, routes and timelines. Assembly Speaker John Perez will host the meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Metro headquarters at 1 Gateway Plaza. The presentation will



Discove r where th locals lo e v to shop e


Restaurant to Close, Though Owners Stay Involved by RichaRd Guzmán city editoR


iudad, one of the first restaurants to open Downtown in advance of the debut of Staples Center, is nearing the end of its run. But the team behind it won’t be leaving. Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger plan to close the restaurant with the Latin menu Oct 2. It will then be converted to the duo’s third Border Grill, a more casual eating spot. The move, first reported by the L.A. Weekly, has been a long time coming, Feniger told Los Angeles Downtown News. “We have been going through this soft transition for the last couple of years where we’ve added the Border Grill tacos and tamales to the Ciudad menu,” she said. Ciudad opened at 445 S. Figueroa St. in 1998. At the time, it was the first new upscale restaurant to open in advance of Staples Center. It quickly became a hit both for diners before events at the arena, and for the business lunch crowd. While Feniger said Ciudad has felt the hit of the economy like most other businesses, including many restaurants, the decision was less a financial one and more about their customers’ tastes.

She said that she and Milliken noticed that increasing numbers of diners were asking for Mexican food choices, rather than the Latin-oriented dishes upon which the restaurant was founded. “We feel that this is a natural transition, we’re totally jazzed about it,” she said. Although Ciudad is closing, some restaurant favorites, such as the Peruvian ceviche, Argentine empanadas and Milanesa de pollo will stay on the new menu, Feniger said. The Ciudad staff will also remain at the new restaurant, as will the mojitos. The doors will close on Ciudad at the beginning of October, and will likely reopen as Border Grill around Oct. 10, Feniger said. She added that Ciudad is handing out $10 Border Grill gift cards to be used when the new restaurant debuts. The original Border Grill opened on Melrose in 1985, and the duo moved to their current home in Santa Monica in 1990. In 1999 they opened a second Border Grill in Las Vegas. Last year they launched the Border Grill truck and this year they opened a Border Grill kiosk in Downtown. Contact Richard Guzmán at


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28 Downtown News


September 20, 2010

photos by Robert Millard


Going Postino Carlos Castronovo plays the title role in L.A. Opera’s Il Postino.

L.A. Opera and Plácido Domingo Bring Neruda to the Stage in World Premiere Work by Jim Farber


ronic, isn’t it? On Sept. 23, 1973, the great Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda died in Santiago at the age of 69. His death occurred just 12 days after the fall of Chile’s democratically elected (Marxist) president, Salvador Allende, at the hands of General Augusto Pinochet in a bloody coup that took place on, of all days, Sept. 11. More than once during his life, Neruda’s politics (he was an avowed Communist) put him at odds with the government and forced him to live in exile. It was this situation that inspired the romantically tinged 1994 Italian film Il Postino. Thursday, Sept. 23, will mark the 37th anniversary of Neruda’s death. And, though it was not planned intentionally, that same night Los Angeles Opera will inaugurate its 25th season at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the world premiere of Mexican composer/librettist Daniel Catán’s opera Il Postino, starring Plácido Domingo — who is exactly the same age as the poet at the time of his death, 69 — in the role of Neruda. For those who have never seen Il Postino, the Academy Award-winning film tells the story of a young, painfully shy postman who lives with his elderly father on a remote Italian island in the Mediterranean. One day the postman, Mario Ruoppolo, finds himself delivering mail to the island’s newly arrived celebrity exile, Neruda. Over time a mentor/student relationship develops between the two men based on the art and power of poetry. Armed with a battery of romantic metaphors, Mario uses his newfound poetic voice to win the heart of Beatrice Russo, a sultry maiden who waits on tables at the village cafe. “I fell in love with the story when I first saw the film,” Catán recalled at a recent news conference at the Chandler, where the opera will have six performances through Oct. (l to r) Vladimir Chernov, Charles Castronovo and Amanda Squitieri in the show that opens Sept. 23 and runs for six performances.

16. However, he noted, he was working on another opera at the time, Florencia en el Amazonas, which L.A. Opera mounted in 1997. Consequently, his interest in the film was put on the back burner. “When I returned to it,” he continued, “the story still spoke to me, but from a different perspective. Instead of identifying myself with the romantic young postman, I identified with Neruda as a mature artist working with a young artist.” Depicting the relationship between Mario (who will be sung by Los Angeles-born tenor Charles Castronovo) and his mentor, Neruda, appealed immediately to Domingo, who has mentored Castronovo’s career, from his youthful days as a member of the L.A. Opera chorus, to his current status as a rising star. “That is something I can connect with,” said Domingo, “since I am always trying to teach young people. If you think about the relationship between Neruda and Mario, that is exactly the parallel that connects us.” For Catán (who now makes his home in Los Angeles), it’s a match made in operatic heaven. “Mario goes from someone who can neither speak nor sing to someone who can,” he explained. “As he learns about poetry from Neruda, he’s learning to sing from Plácido Domingo. What better teacher could he possibly have? It adds a whole new musical dimension.” Dollars and Sense When Catán first proposed the idea of an opera based on Il Postino to Domingo and L.A. Opera’s late artistic director, Edgar Baitzel, they both felt it was an excellent choice that fit with the company’s goal to create new work. It was also especially appealing to Domingo because it would be sung in Spanish, his native language. The opera was commissioned in 2007.

Then the downturn in the economy, combined with the company’s push to present its first Ring Cycle, caused Il Postino to be postponed (it was originally scheduled for the 2009-10 season). Ultimately, the decision was made to make the opera the opening gala event for this season with Domingo starring in his 134th role — continuing a tradition that dates back to 1986, when he strode on stage as the mighty Moor in Otello, the company’s inaugural performance. Traditionally, L.A. Opera begins its season the first weekend in September. But this year, due to cutbacks and a multi-million dollar deficit left over from the production of the Ring, the company is getting a later than usual start and will be presenting a trimmed season of six operas and 42 performances (down from last season’s 10 operas and 75 performances). Still, the attention is fully on the piece spawned by the poet. When I asked Domingo if Neruda’s poetry had personal significance for him, he said it did, but it took a long time. He also referenced one of the three arias in Il Postino that Catán has set to Neruda’s poems. “It is phenomenal poetry, but it is very complicated,” Domingo said, “When he talks about how beautiful his wife is naked, he says, ‘You are as simple as one of your hands. You are round. You are yellow. You are enormous, like summer.’ It’s all about metaphors. It’s not like the poetry of Garcia Lorca, which is very straightforward. Of course I have known the poetry of Neruda since childhood, but you don’t really understand it until you grow up.” From the beginning of the project, Catán and director Ron Daniels both felt it was critically important to use the historical setting of the original 1985 novella, Ardiente Paciencia (The Patient Seduction), by Chilean author Antonio Scármeta, rather than the romantically enhanced setting employed in the film. The novel, Daniels explained, was written when Scármeta himself was living in exile in Germany following the overthrow of Allende. The novel is set in Chile (not Italy) in the seacoast village of Isla Negra. In the last scene of the novel, Pinochet’s helicopters fly over while Mario and Neruda observe from the window. “The film has a very personal quality,” said Daniels, who was born in Brazil but speaks with a distinctly British accent. “It’s a sentimental, romantic and beautifully told story. What it lacks is the epic historical context of the novel.” In Daniel’s view, the opera maintains the intimate story while restoring it to its origins. “What we have done is create an entirely new third version of the story.” The cast of Il Postino (which, according to Domingo should really be titled, “El Cartero de Neruda” (Neruda’s Postman), includes Amanda Squitieri as Beatrice, Chilean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domas as Neruda’s wife, Matilde, Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Beatrice’s stern aunt, and Vladimir Chernov as the village postmaster. Grant Gershon of the Los Angeles Master Chorale will conduct. Subsequent performances of Il Postino are already scheduled for Vienna and Paris in 2011. As to whether it is important to see the movie before the version at the Chandler, consider Domingo’s advice: “If you haven’t seen the film, run out and see it before your see the opera. Or vice versa.” Il Postino runs Sept. 23-Oct. 16 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 972-8001 or

September 20, 2010

Downtown News 29

Heart of Glass A Different ‘Menagerie’ Has Powerful Results by Jeff Favre contributing writer


nease and anticipation must rise among Tennessee Williams aficionados every time the lights go up on director Gordon Edelstein’s fascinating and engagingly original revival of The Glass Menagerie, now settled into the Mark Taper Forum. The whispers heard opening night amount to a collective “This is different.” Which is understandable, considering that the play is widely considered to be one of 20th century America’s greatest — along with Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The reaction is because Edelstein, while keeping the text intact, has done what some believe is unthinkable — and possibly unforgivable. He has, with assistance from four remarkably naturalistic performances, recontextualized Menagerie so wholly that it becomes both new and surprising. Directors have done this with Shakespeare to the point that the process is old hat. But doing the same with Williams’ first major work has polarized Broadway audiences and East Coast critics — some lauded its vibrancy, and others claimed sacrilege. The playwright isn’t available for comment, having died in 1983. Perhaps Williams would praise Edelstein for reaching the psychological subtext that he couldn’t express in a more restrained era. Or perhaps he would have chastised anyone who strayed from what’s on the page. Even if this production is not what The Glass Menagerie should be, Williams’ truth and lyricism remain powerful. Edelstein’s vision informs the characters, perhaps more deeply than ever before, by trying to view them through the eyes of the author, even if that’s not what Williams intended. Edelstein’s audacity is obvious from the start of this three hour-plus journey. He refuses to rush his opening scene, which begins with a few minutes of silent action (normally a no-no in theater), as the narrator, Tom (Patch Darragh), settles into a seedy motel room (an appropriately bleak set designed by Michael Yeargan) to write a memory play — much

the way Williams did with Menagerie. Throughout the performance Tom glides in and out of two personalities, one as the writer looking back through the haze of time, and another as the past Tom, son of his faded southern belle mother, Amanda Wingfield (Judith Ivey, in a bravura performance theatergoers will recall for years). The motel room doubles as the family home/jail, from which Tom desperately wants to escape. But he feels trapped by obligation, mostly to Laura (Keira Keeley), his painfully shy sister who walks with a slight limp. The only other character is Jim (Ben McKenzie), who Tom has invited to dinner, and whom Amanda unrealistically hopes will fall in love with Laura and, further, save the family from a bleak future. Ever-present is the portrait of Tom’s father, who left the family 16 years earlier, an action Tom soon plans to follow. The concept of the struggling writer trying to remember details creates a playful give-and-take between Tom and Amanda, as she sometimes appears to be feeding him lines from the past, standing over his shoulder, dictating the old stories that she recites each night to her children. Edelstein’s other major alteration is the homosexual overtones added to Tom. Williams was gay, and Edelstein injects plenty of innuendo, which Darragh handles deftly, in particular Tom’s barely restrained infatuation with Jim. Interestingly, Edelstein removes the ever-present Tom during the key scene when Laura and Jim sit in the dark (one of several elegantly lit by designer Jennifer Tipton) and have what is in many ways Laura’s first real date. It’s as though Edelstein is saying that this memory isn’t Tom’s, but rather belongs to his sister, a moment of her greatest joy and deepest sadness, forever trapped in her mind. None of Edelstein’s efforts would work without a cast capable of expansive emotional range. The standout is Ivey, whose connection to the dialogue is so acute that every word appears to flow organically. As the overbearing, never-pleased Amanda she manages to inject plenty of humor without ever resorting to stereotypes.

photo by Craig Schwartz

Judith Ivey has a standout performance as faded southern belle Amanda Wingfield in an engagingly original revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie.

Keeley’s Laura is underplayed, and doesn’t seem as pathetic as other portrayals. Instead Laura seems merely a few steps away from turning her life around, which makes it all the sadder to know that she won’t. Darragh straddles the present and past Toms seamlessly, exuding palpable frustration and anger in both time periods, even though in one he’s a young man itching to break free, and in the other he’s older and struggling with unfulfilled dreams. Williams may have never imagined his play like this. But theater is a living entity, and Edelstein has treated one of America’s great treasures with the same care that Laura does her glass menagerie. Like Laura, this Glass Menagerie deserves to be respected and loved. The Glass Menagerie runs through Oct. 17 at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 628-2772 or

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30 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


Putting Some Skin in the Game East West Players Premiere Taps Aliens, Nudity and a Mystery contributing writer


ystery can mean more than simply knowing whodunit. The deeper mysteries occur when the surface answer is revealed, but the “why” of a situation remains clouded. In the case of Mysterious Skin, which received its L.A. premiere at East West Players last week and continues through Oct. 10, no one is likely to be surprised by the plot twists. This is the case even though playwright Prince Gomolvilas attempts more obscurity than the original source material, Scott Heim’s 1995 novel, and the 2004 Gregg Araki film of the same name. Gomolvilas keeps huge chunks of the action and dialogue, but tweaks the sequencing to add both a detective-style storyline and richer sci-fi fantasy overtones. These changes, most of which take place in the first act, give Mysterious Skin a personality crisis,

which director Tin Dang seems to attempt to overcome with sheer speed and an array of impressive technical effects. But crucial character development is sacrificed, as is a strong through line. Still, the emotionally draining second act outweighs earlier shortcomings, thanks in part to powerhouse performances by David Huynh and Scott Keiji Takeda as two young men from a small Kansas town. They share a psychologically devastating past, which sent them down quite different paths. The road traveled by recent high school graduate Brian (Takeda), who in 1991 still lives in Kansas with his mother, is filled with extraterrestrials. After watching a show on alien abduction, Brian is convinced that happened to him twice as a child when he blacked out for several hours. Brian tries to get to the bottom of his blackouts by befriending Avalyn (Elizabeth Liang), who he saw on TV talking about be-

photos by Michael Lamont

by Jeff favre

Brian (Scott Keiji Takeda, right) and Nick (David Huynh) are young men trying to resolve their past in East West Players’ Mysterious Skin.

Huynh with Christine Corpuz, who plays a woman in love with her gay friend.

ing abducted. Both friendless and dismissed by others as kooky, the pair form an immediate bond. At the same time in New York, Nick (Huynh) is earning a living as a hustler, which he began in Kansas as a 15-year-old having sex for money with older men. Nick’s best friend Deborah (Christine Corpuz), who has a tendency to fall for gay men, has been in love with Nick since they were teens. Now she worries for his safety in such a dangerous profession. Though Brian doesn’t remember Nick, he keeps having dreams of them both being abducted, which he hopes means that Nick holds the answers. Gomolvilas’ attempt to shift the tone toward mystery is half-hearted. Too many hints at what’s going on are dropped, so there’s little intrigue. The quick understanding that aliens are not going to land on the Little Tokyo stage removes that layer as well, rendering several scenes unsatisfying. Not helping matters is Dang’s rapid-fire pace, epitomized by a first-act scene between Nick and Deborah, which does little to engender sympathy for the suffering Nick. Instead, the tone is more successfully set by Jeremy Pivnick’s stark, shadow-filled lighting and Alan Muraoka’s projections of pertinent still images, some of which are out of focus to mirror Brian’s fuzzy memory. Also, John Zalewski’s eerie and downright startling sound design has people jumping in their seats with an aural explosion preceding each flashback.

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In the second act, all of the elements come together and work in harmony. Dang slows the action and allows the competent cast a chance to explore the quirky characters. Most impressive is Takeda, who in his professional theater debut displays raw, natural sorrow as the troubled Brian. His despair at not knowing his past is palpable. He is complemented by Huynh, who ably handles Nick’s slow descent into regret and depression as he understands how past mistakes can keep growing. The show’s brief running time — 85 minutes of actual action — renders an intermission unnecessary. Thus, the explosive first act climax loses impact by not continuing immediately into its aftermath. Dang, who serves as East West’s artistic director, said the play was chosen, in part, to attract a younger crowd that might not normally come to the theater, even though the graphic language and nudity could turn off some of the company’s subscribers. But Mysterious Skin can appeal to everyone who has ever felt out of control, even if they haven’t shared these exact experiences. Dang loses opportunities to mine the script’s emotional depth by not allowing for space between the words. But there remain plenty of compelling scenes that make this a worthwhile journey. The “why” of the events may remain unresolved, but the weighty questions spur post-curtain discussion. Mysterious Skin runs through Oct. 10 at East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St., (213) 625-7000 or

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Downtown News 31

LISTINGS the ‘don’t Miss’ List


by auren

Continued on next page

downtownnews com


et’s give the Man in the Moon a night off and honor Chang E, China’s ancient Moon Goddess of Immortality, during the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. On Saturday, Sept. 25, Chinatown’s Central Plaza hosts the free event from 5:30-10 p.m. View the full moon in all her glory through telescopes, catch performances from Chinese acrobats and the Shaolin Warriors of Chinatown and, most deliciously, sample traditional moon cakes. If you’re curious — and ambitious — there’ll be a moon-cake-making demo followed by a skit from the Miss L.A. Chinatown Queen and her Court explaining the festival’s origins. There will be live music, too. Now that’s a party to howl for. At 943-951 N. Broadway, (213) 680-0243 or




n the mood for a juicy Southern melodrama? The Reckoning, opening at the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m., has all the ingredients: romance, intrigue, secrets, betrayal, power, secrets, legacy, treachery and more secrets. They come out of the woodwork in the Robey Theatre Company’s production of the world premiere play by Kimba Henderson, which follows the saga of Rubaiyat, a Louisiana crawfish farm owned by an affluent African-American family that was once a sugar plantation worked by slaves. Karma, anyone? The show runs through Oct. 24 with low-priced previews Sept. 22-24. At 514 S. Spring St., (213) 489-0994 or

Thursday, sepT. 23 TOWN HALL Los Angeles Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Ave., (213) 628-8141 or Noon: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is the featured speaker. MOCA Grand Avenue Ahmanson Auditorium, 250 S. Grand Ave., (213) 621-1745 or 6:30 p.m: MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch moderates a discussion on “Iranian Modern and Contemporary Art Today” with specialists in Middle Eastern art. ALOUD at Central Library Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., (213) 2287025 or 7 p.m.: Lewis Hyde, cultural critic, essayist and author of the groundbreaking study of art and commerce The Gift is in conversation with theater and opera director Peter Sellars. Their talk is titled “Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership.”


APD Chief Charlie Beck has been with the department since 1977 and has held the top dog position for a year. It is very likely that he has seen it all — including the recent public outcry/protests following the department’s killing of a day laborer in Westlake. Beck will talk all things policing on Thursday, Sept. 23, at a luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel organized by the group Town Hall Los Angeles. What’s on the official agenda? Updates on the status of the department, crime statistics and trends, new technologies in crime fighting and effective policing within current budget restraints. The luncheon begins at noon with the program and an audience Q&A to follow. At 506 S. Grand Ave., (213) 628-8141 or

photo by Gary Leonard photo courtesy Piggyback Yard Collective Design G

saTurday, sepT. 25 Trailblazing Women 1831 W. Washington Blvd., (323) 732-4223 or 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: The 20th annual Living History Tour at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in West Adams brings famous women from history to life. Portrayed by costumed actors, they include suffragettes, actresses, a jazz pianist, the first African American policewoman in Los Angeles and more. CityRace: The Great Chinatown Hunt (310) 360-6950 or 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Teams of two to four players go on three-hour, clue-solving adventures through Chinatown. They’ll use brainpower, strategy and teamwork to crack codes, solve puzzles and research little-known facts while racing against other teams to be first to the finish with the most correct answers.






hat are you?” If you’re of mixed race, you may have been confronted by that not-so-polite question many times. Artist, slam poet and filmmaker Kip Fulbeck addresses the issue in the familyfriendly exhibit Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids at the Japanese American National Museum. This is the final week for the show that is meant to be thoughtful and playful; it features 70 portraits of children of various mixed racial heritage along with personal statements or drawings about their identity. The portrait subjects’ countries of ancestry light up in an electroluminescent world map. Visitors can contribute their own stamps and statements of personal identity to interactive sculptures. It closes Sept. 26, at 369 E. First St., (213) 625-0414 or


e Angelenos often bemoan the isolation that our sprawling, carcentric city fosters. The question, “How to imagine a more integrated Los Angeles?” is being put to several architects and city planners at a Zocalo Public Square program on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the California Endowment. Moderated by Michael Woo, dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, the discussion stems from a revitalization plan that would turn 125 acres of an under-utilized Downtown rail site (it’s known as the Piggyback Yard) into a public space that would unite residents and help transform the Los Angeles River. And looking beyond, what would a healthier, more integrated L.A. look like? Just like Blade Runner? Probably not. At 1000 N. Alameda St.,

Send information and possible Don’t Miss List submissions to

photo by Armando Huipe

Wednesday, sepT. 22 ALOUD at Central Library Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., (213) 2287025 or 7 p.m.: Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Isabel Wilkerson chronicles the decades-long migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West, through the stories of three individuals and their families in her book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. She’ll be in conversation with L.A. Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez. Zócalo Public Square The California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda St., 7:30 p.m.: Michael Woo, dean of the college of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, moderates “How to Imagine a More Integrated L.A.,” a panel discussion with architects and urban planners.

Friday, sepT. 24 A Greener City Through Better Land Use City Club on Bunker Hill, 333 S. Grand Ave., 54th Floor, (213) 639-0777 or 8-9:30 a.m.: This is the fifth in a seven-part series of roundtable discussions hosted by The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles with civic officials about how to build and operate a more environmentally and economically sustainable city. This panel features Metro CEO Art Leahy and Michael LoGrande, director of the city Planning Department. Michael Woo moderates.

ampedeLLi Listings editor

Photo by Kip Fulbeck.

Tuesday, sepT. 21 ALOUD at Central Library Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., (213) 2287025 or 7 p.m.: Author Mona Simpson is in conversation with novelist Michelle Huneven about her new novel My Hollywood, the story of two women whose lives entwine and unfold behind the glittery surface of Hollywood.

Love the Moon, Meet the top Cop and More downtown Fun L C , | @ .

photo by Gary Leonard

SPONSORED LISTING Autumn Lights L.A. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., Sept. 25, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.: Artist Lilli Muller, in partnership with the city Department of Recreation and Parks, presents Autumn Lights L.A. 2010, a multi-media showcase featuring the best in emerging and established local and international artists, all using the medium of light.

32 Downtown News

September 20, 2010


Listings Continued from previous page Smithsonian Museum Day at FIDM FIDM Museum Shop, 919 S. Grand Ave., (213) 6235821 x2240 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: The FIDM Museum Shop joins the annual celebration of our nation’s museums with special promotions and discounts and a final “Goodbye Tea Party” for the Alice in Wonderland exhibit. All events are free. A Taste of Dance: Celebrating Latino Heritage Month Music Center Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 9723660 or 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Celebrate Latino Heritage Month with this day of dance featuring forms and styles including zumba, bachata, cardio samba, Latin line dances, Mexican Folklorico and rhumba. No experience necessary. $1 per 20-minute lesson. Readings at Metropolis Metropolis Books, 440 S. Main St., (213) 612-0174 or 4 p.m.: From organic and eco-friendly wraps to lush and romantic presentations, more than 50


projects and ideas are contained in The Art of Gift Wrapping. Gift wrap and paper expert Wanda Wen, also the force behind Los Angeles paper and lifestyle boutique Soolip, shares her know-how. Center for Autism and Related Disorders Gala Park Plaza Hotel, 607 S. Park View St., (661) 4786512 or 6:30 p.m.-2 a.m.: The 20th anniversary gala will benefit Autism Care and Treatment Today, a nonprofit that provides funds to financially needy families with children with autism. Autumn Lights Installation Pershing Square, 532 South Olive Street, 213-8474970 or 7 p.m.-1 a.m.: Designed by Lilli Muller, this art installation creates a pulsating, sensory-moving nest that will draw people together and showcase the vibrancy of Los Angeles culture. With music performances from Killsonic, Ooks of Hazzard, the Ruby Fiedman Orchestra, Spacesip Martini and The Toledo Show. Love Is...Living Large in L.A.: A Night of Literary Musings The Studio for Southern California History, 977 North Hill St., (213) 229-8890 or 7:30 p.m.: Words with a Purpose Writer’s Collective presents a reading with Olga García Echeverría, Liz Gonzalez, Reina Alejandra Prado and Frankie Salinas. The Rocky Horror Picture Show 35th Anniversary Million Dollar Theatre, 307 S. Broadway Ave., 10 p.m.: Cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show celebrates its 35th year with a special anniversary screening. Barry Bostwick, who stars as Brad Majors in the film, will officiate the madness. Sunday, Sept. 26 CityRace: Downtown LA: Quest for the Keys (310) 360-6950 or 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: From the neon lights of L.A. Live through the heart of Downtown’s urban center, you’ll solve a challenging series of clues that lead you through some of the oldest and newest areas of Los Angeles. Collect a series of hidden keys to open a secret treasure chest. LAVA Sunday Salons Clifton’s Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway, Noon-2 p.m.: Los Angeles Visionary Association hosts a loosely structured conversational salon the last Sunday of each month featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect.

Higgins Building Centennial Block Party Community Park, 108 W. Second St., 2-6 p.m.:  This community block party marks the 100th anniversary of the Higgins Building, with live music, lawn games and a cookout. Friends and neighbors of the Higgins and other interested members of the community are invited to the celebration. Second between Main and Spring streets will be closed for the afternoon. 

ROCK, POP & JAZZ Café Metropol 923 E. Third St., (213) 613-1537 or Sept. 25, 8-10 p.m.: It’s L.A. singer/songwriter night, hosted by Kathleen Grace. Casey’s Irish Pub 613 S. Grand Ave., (213) 629-2353 or Sept. 24, 10 p.m.: An American Band puts out good ole American country rock. Sept. 25, 9 p.m.: Sara Radle celebrates the release of her solo album “Four” with a September residency. Club Nokia Corner of Olympic Blvd. and Figueroa St., Sept. 21: Indie electronic duo Ratatat. Sept. 22: Michael Franti’s “Barefoot Concert Series” gives fans the opportunity to donate/sponsor shoes and learn more about the programs at Soles4Souls. Sept. 23, 8 p.m.: All For The Hall with Taylor Swift, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson and special guests. Sold out. Sept. 25, 8 p.m.: Shin and A-Lin live. Sept. 26: “Lust, Love and Lies” with vocalist Will Downing. Five Stars Bar 269 S. Main St., (213) 625-1037. Sept. 24, 9 p.m.: Spirit Vine with Spider Problem, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Hexham Heads and a surprise DJ. Grammy Museum L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 765-6800 or Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.: In celebration of his 80th birthday, the Grammy Museum welcomes some friends of Ray Charles: John Burk, Valerie Ervin, Tony Gumina and Norman Lear to discuss the soon-to-be-released Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters.

Nokia Theatre 777 Chick Hearn Court, (213) 763-6000 or Sept. 24, 8 p.m.: Gladys Knight with special guest The O’Jays. Redwood Bar & Grill 316 W. Second St., (213) 680-2600 or Sept. 20, 10 p.m.: Phil Alvin and Friends. Sept. 21, 10 p.m.: Dirty Ed Tuesdays with September residents A Pretty Mess and Jughead’s Revenge and Death Hymn Number 9. Sept. 22, 10 p.m.: Sassafrass slashes out the “death blues” with Tarantula. Sept. 23, 10 p.m.: Ethereal, post-punk Honeybreath with Mark Lane, Loch & Key and DJ Adam Wade. Sept. 24, 10 p.m.: Indie rock group Paul Collins Beat with The Chopsticks, The Neurotics and The Blvd Beat. Sept. 25, 10 p.m.: Murderland, Code 415, Compton SF and Bombpops. Sept. 26, 10 p.m.: The Crystelles, Lightnin’ Woodcock and Juju Bones. Staples Center 1201 S. Figueroa St., Sept. 25-26, 7:30 p.m.: British rock trio Muse brings their Resistance Tour.

CLASSICAL MUSIC Thursday, Sept. 23 Colburn School Thayer Hall, 200 S. Grand Ave., 11 a.m.: Solo and chamber music performances by conservatory students selected by faculty. Free. Saturday, Sept. 25 Colburn School Zipper Hall, 200 S. Grand Ave., 7:30: Charles Castronovo’s Italian Songbook. The tenor returns to Los Angeles to say thank you to the Opera Buffs, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to supporting emerging singers. Sunday, Sept. 26 Colburn School Zipper Hall, 200 S. Grand Ave., 3 p.m.: Dilijan Chamber Music Series concert.


Continued on page 36








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GRAND VICTORIAN - downtown loft/apartment alternative. Walk to DASH, Staples Center. Pretty tree-lined block, 6 BD, 2.5 BA, two parlors + dining rm + eat-in kit. $4,000 + util. 323868-0854

CHARMING 2 bdrm. $1200. Hardwood floors, Frplc. Priv. Garage. Many windows & closets. Patio, Quiet 4-plex 805-7729079.

TERRIFIC WORK STUDIO near downtown & freeways. 300sf, large skylight, private, airconditioned, gated parking, part of larger studio at Santa Fe Art Colony. $485/mo. + sec. 213509-4403.

human resources


Reception y Mail y Fiber Optic Internet y TelephoneServices & Voice Include: Mail y West Law y Reception y& Mail Optic Internet y Photocopy FaxyyFiber Video Conferencing

Fully Trained Staff

Take us home

ORSINI III - Now open for immediate Occupancy. Never Lived in, Brand New Luxury Apartment Homes, Free Parking, Karaoke Room, Free Wi-Fi, Indoor Basketball, Uncomparable Amenity Package. Call today to schedule a tour - 866-479-1764.


Downtown Los Angeles Brentwood y Century City Woodland Hills

Telephone & Voice Mail y West Law y Photocopy & Fax y Video Conferencing

1256 West 7th Street

Now Leasing! • Gorgeous Layouts • 10-15’ Ceilings • Fitness Center • Wi-Fi Rooftop Lounge • Amazing Views 6th + Grand Ave. • 213.627.1900

Free ReNT SPECIALS @ the Medici. Penthouse 1 & 2 bdrm apts. Granite kitchens, washer/ dryers, business center, 2 pools, spa! Visit for a full list of amenities. Call 888886-3731.

Luxury Rooms in Downtown • Fully Furnished • 100% Utilities Paid • • Refrigerator, Microwave & TV In Each Room • • Wireless Access Throughout Bldg. • Gym • • Close to USC & Loyola Law School • • Presidential Suite with Kitchen • Parking Available Onsite

Milano Lofts

REAL ARTIST LOFTS High ceilings, hardwood/concrete floors, kitchen, fireplace, pool/spa, gated parking, laundry, sorry no dogs, Open House Sundays 123pm Leasing office @1250 Long Beach Ave. 213-629-5539

For English Call Pierre or Terri 213.744.9911 For Spanish Call Susana 213.749.0306





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Now eD at u p d i ly a d

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Restrictions: Offer good on private party ads only. Ads must be pre-paid by cash, check or credit card. Certain classifications excluded. Deadline: Thursday at noon for next issue.

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L.A. Downtown News Classifieds

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September 20, 2010

Downtown News 35



20 DRIVERS Needed - For Dedicated Run. CDL-A, Experienced 11 Western States. Stable Family Owned - Andrus Transportation. Good Pay, Routes, People! 1-800-888-5838 or 1-866-8065119 x1402. (Cal-SCAN) DRIVERS - Become an Owner Operator or Trade-in your old truck for a 2008 Freightliner. Easy and Affordable with zero down payment. Call Comtrak at 866-338-2958, or apply online at (Cal-SCAN) DRIVERS - 100% Tuition paid CDL Training. Start your New Career. No Credit Check. No Experience required! Call: 888417-7564. Crst Expedited www. (Cal-SCAN) DRIVERS-ASAP! New Pay Increase! 37-43 cpm. Fuel Bonus - up to 4cpm! Need CDL-A & 3 months recent OTR. 1-877-2588782. (Cal-SCAN) DRIVERS/CDL Training - Career Central. We Train and Employ You. Company Drivers up to 40K First Year. New Team Pay! Up to 48c/mile Class A CDL Training Regional Locations! 1-877-3697091 www.CentralDrivingJobs. net. (Cal-SCAN) NATIONAL CARRIERS needs O/Os, Lease Purchase, Company Drivers for its Regional Operations in California. Generous Hometime & Outstanding Pay Package. CDL-A Required. 1-888-707-7729. (Cal-SCAN) REEFER DRIVERS Needed! Experienced drivers and Class A commercial students welcome! Our Incredible Freight network offers plenty of miles! 1-800277-0212. (Cal-SCAN) REGIONAL DRIVERS Wanted! More Hometime! Top Pay! Excellent Benefits! Newer Equipment! Up to $.41/mile company drivers! Heartland Express 1-800-441-4953. (Cal-SCAN) Office/clerical JOBS NATIONWIDE! Admin., HR, Clerical, Accounting, Mgmt., Tech., etc. - and



AUTOMOTIVE Great jobs in downtown LA! Full time or part time. Two blocks south of the Staples Center at Figueroa & Venice. Toyota Central is growing! Sales Associates - all levels. Internet Associates. Service Technicians. Service Consultants. Drivers. Cashiers. Receptionists. Bilingual Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Middle Eastern and women encouraged to apply. Great compensation package and employee benefits. Please call 800-597-5516 or send resume to autosuccess@ EOE. HELP WANTED Movie Extras. Earn up to $150/day. People needed for background in a major film production. Exp. not required. 888-366-0843

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY Help WanteD ATTN: COMPUTER Work. Work from anywhere 24/7. Up to $1,500 Part Time to $7,500/ mo. Full Time. Training provided. or call 1-888-304-2847. (Cal-SCAN)

SERVICES Business services ADVERTISE ONLINE in a network of 140-plus newspaper websites. Border to Border with one order! $10 cost per thousand impressions statewide. Minimum $5,000 order. Call for details: (916) 288-6010. www. CaliforniaBannerAdNetwork. com. (Cal-SCAN) CLASSIFIED Advertising in 240 Cal-SCAN newspapers for the best reach, coverage, and price. 25-words $550. Reach over 6 million Californians! Free email brochure. Call (916) 288-6019. (CalSCAN)

ABOGADO DE IMMIGRACION! Family, Criminal, P.I. for more than 20 yrs! Child Support / Custody Necesita Permiso de trabajo? Tagalog / Español / Korean

Get your Green carD or citiZensHip Law Office of H. Douglas Daniel Esq., (213) 689-1710

cleaninG CONCEPTO’S CLEANING Crew. Professional, experienced, cleans apartments, homes, offices and restaurants. Call for a quote. 323-459-3067 or 818-409-9183. eDucatiOn HIGH SCHOOL Diploma! Graduate in 4 weeks! Free Brochure. Call Now! 1-866-562-3650 ext. 60 (Cal-SCAN) financial services IT’S YOUR Money! Lump sums paid for structured settlement or fixed annuity payments. Rapid, high payouts. Call J.G. Wentworth. 1-866-294-8772. A+ Better Business Bureau rating. (Cal-SCAN) HealtH & fitness LOCATED IN THE CMC (9th & Main, 3rd Flr,C-374) Vinyasa Yoga. 1st Class Free; 4 classes for $20. (213) 290-1897.

Sell Your Car!

Expose your auto to Downtown Los Angeles. With one of the fastest growing residential areas Los Angeles Downtown News gets results.

Call 213-481-1448


DOWntOWn l.a. autO GrOup Porsche Volkswagen audi Mercedes-Benz nissan cheVrolet cadillac

2004 TOYOTA MATRIX Recent trade-in, low miles, must see stk C101088 vin 311604, only $11,988, call 888-203-2967. 2006 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 2.0T Value Edition, Turbo, auto, only 31k miles. #ZV980/ 141587. $16,410. 888-781-8102. 2007 AUDI A4 premium pkg., black/black, certified, (ZA9755/ vin7A273041), $21,888. Call 888-583-0981. 2008 BMW 328I Mint condition, white/tan, stk C01055D1-2/ L53028. $23,887. 888-8799608. 2008 MERCEDES BENZ CLK350 CONVERTIBLE certified, low miles, navigation, leather, (243042), $37,994, Call 888-319-8762.

laWn & GarDen/farm equip

autOs WanteD A CAR DONATION Helping sick kids! Donate Your Car to Songs of Love and make a sick child smile! Featured on NBC (TODAY SHOW), CNN. Tax-deductible, all vehicle conditions accepted. 888-909SONG (7664). (Cal-SCAN) DONATE YOUR Car: Children’s Cancer Fund! Help Save A Child’s Life Through Research & Support! Free Vacation Package. Fast, Easy & Tax Deductible. Call 1-800-252-0615. (CalSCAN) DONATE YOUR Vehicle! Receive Free Vacation Voucher. United Breast Cancer Foundation. Free Mammograms, Breast Cancer Info Free Towing, Tax Deductible, NonRunners Accepted, 1-888-4685964. (Cal-SCAN)

ITEMS FOR SALE plants/flOWers FREE GREEN & YELLOW cactus & 2 palm trees. You dig up. Hillside LA 90032. 323-2542530.

NEW NORWOOD SawmillsLumberMate-Pro handles logs 34” diameter, mills boards 28” wide. Automated quick-cyclesawing increases efficiency up to 40%! www.NorwoodSawmills. com/300N 1-800-661-7746 ext. 300N. (Cal-SCAN) misc. items AIR GAS WELDING TANKS 100 CF & 200 CF part full $200 firm. 323-254-2530 DAYTON 220 VOLT Arc welder, copper windings $180.00 323254-2530 VICTOR WELDING set with 2’ tall tanks, cart $250.00. 323254-2530

ANNOUNCEMENTS auctiOn AUCTION - Bank-owned Homes in this area. Now is the time! The market, interest rates, and opportunities couldn’t be better. New Properties added Daily! 2% to Buyer’s Agents! Bid Now Online: Hudson & Marshall, 1-866-5394174. (Cal-SCAN)

2009 NISSAN ALTIMA 2.5 S Certified,(Stock#NI3617/9C175764) $16,999, call 888-838-5089

vOlunteer OppOrtunities HELPING KIDS heal. Free Arts for Abused Children is looking for volunteers to integrate the healing power of the arts into the lives of abused and at-risk children and their families. Today is the day to get involved! Contact Annie at volunteers@freearts. org or 310-313-4278 for more information. cHurcHes THE BRIDGE / Little Tokyo: Contemporary worship, 4:00pm Sundays, 401 E. Third St. www.

PETS/ANIMALS aDOpt a pet ADOPT (OR FOSTER) your forever friend from Bark Avenue Foundation. Beautiful, healthy puppies, dogs, cats and kittens available at Downtown’s largest private adoption facility. Call Dawn at 213-840-0153 or email or visitt www.Bark Avenue Foundation. org.

The Downtown Renaissance Collection

2009 PORSCHE 911 TURBO Cabriolet Basalt, Blk/Blk, Certified, Only 6k miles, Tiptronic, Loaded vin773136, $125,988, 888-685-5426.

For a complete list of our pre-owned inventory, go to

Be Inspired... Best Downtown Locations!

DISPLAY Advertising in 140 Cal-SDAN newspapers statewide for $1,550! Reach over 3 million Californians! Free email brochure. Call (916) 288-6019. (CalSCAN)

On Spring St.

Premiere Towers:





I c o n I c B e au t y S e e k S S t y l i S h M at e




2 bdrm/2 bath, 900 sqft. $1,600 12 Story Luxury Condo for lease • Located in a prime area in downtown L.A. • Rooftop w/city view/GYM/ Business Center • 24 hr. doorman • free (1) parking

Please call 213.627.6913

nOW leasinG


756 S. Broadway • Downtown Los Angeles 213-892-9100 • chapmanf Pricing subject to change without notice.

Real Estate Specialist of San Gabriel Valley Proudly serving the communities of San Gabriel, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Montebello and El Monte.

Cal Best Realty

Emi Terauchi Realtor / Notary • Lic.No.00810238

English/Japanes/Chinese speaking • (626) 786-9086

Furnished single unit with kitchenette, bathroom. Excellent location. Downtown LA. Weekly rate $275 inc. Children’s Performing Group

Sunshine Generation Singing, dancing, performing and fun! For boys & girls ages 3 and up! 909-861-4433

Monthly from $550 utilities paid. (213) 612-0348 madison hotel Clean furnished single rooms. 24-hour desk clerk service. •Daily, $25.00 •Weekly, $99.00 •Monthly, $295.00 (213) 622-1508 423 East 7th St.

(2 blocks west of San Pedro St.)

Elegant World Class Resort Apartment Homes

Piero 616 ST. PAUL AVE.



Visconti 1221 WEST THIRD ST.



FREE Rent Specials On Select Floor Plans • Free Resident/Guest Parking in Gated Garage • Private Library, Business Center & Conference Rooms • Free Wi-Fi & DSL Computer Use • Resident Karaoke Lounge • Directors Screening Room • Lavish Fountains & Sculptures • On-Site Private Resident Park with Sand Volleyball, BBQ’s and Jogging Track • Night Light Tennis Courts • Indoor Basketball

• Brunswick Four-Lane Virtual Bowling • Full Swing Virtual Golf • 3100 Square Foot Cybex Fitness Facility • Free Tanning Rooms • Massage Room, Sauna & Steam Room • Rooftop Pools with Dressing Rooms • Concierge Service • 24-Hour Doorman • 24/7 On-Site Management • Magnificent City Views *Amenities vary among communities

Version 1

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G.H. Palmer Associates LADT News 4.3125” x 8” 4C

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Ph: 323.474.4668

36 Downtown News

We Got Games Dodger Optimists And Tough Trojans Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., (213) 224-1400 or Sept. 21-23, 7:10 p.m.: This is the time of year when other cities with struggling baseball franchises forget about the diamond and turn to the gridiron. So, since the Dodgers have spiralled into an afterthought, let’s all cheer on the Los Angeles… oh right, no NFL team here. Well, for all the devotees, the eternal optimists and the silver lining finders, the Dodgers host their second-to-last home series of the year this week, and it’s against the San Diego Padres, who hopefully will forget to pack the brooms they used to sweep

Listings Continued from page 32 Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., (213) 972-7282 or 7 p.m.: The Los Angeles Master Chorale launches its 10th season under Music Director Grant Gershon with “Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil,” pure a cappella Russian choral music.

THEATER, OPERA & DANCE The Glass Menagerie Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 6282772 or Sept. 23-25, 8 p.m.; Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m.; Sept. 26, 7 p.m.: Tennessee Williams’ classic stars two-time Tony Award winner Judith Ivy as Amanda Wingfield. Through Oct. 17. Il Postino Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave.,

dinner at L.A. Live

September 20, 2010

Twitter/DowntownNews the Blue Crew out of Chavez Ravine earlier this month. Chad Billingsley is slated to get the ball in the first game. Then they’re off to Arizona (Sept. 24-26) for a weekend set against the only NL West team with a worse record than L.A.’s boys. USC Trojans Football L.A. Coliseum, 3911 S Figueroa St., (213) 747-7111 or Lane Kiffin’s Trojans are on the road again on Saturday, for the second weekend in a row, playing this time up in Pullman, Wash. against Washington State (Sept. 25, noon). This is not the well-oiled machine of the Pete Carroll years, but the Trojans are still tough. While their game against Minnesota happened after press time, USC has been lead by a confident-looking Matt Barkley to a 2-0 start. The sophomore quarterback threw seven touchdowns in two games, and zero interceptions. Still, he and favorite target Ronald Johnson are going to have to continue to improve, as the week two 17-14 win over Virginia was just too close for comfort. —Ryan Vaillancourt

(213) 972-8001 or Sept. 23, 6 p.m.: Based on the popular 1994 Italian film, the opera stars Plácido Domingo as the poet Pablo Neruda in this world premiere. Grant Gershon conducts. Six performances through Oct. 16. La Razón Blindada 24th Street Theatre, 1117 West 24th St., 213-7456516 or Opening Sept. 25, 8 p.m.; Sept. 26, 3 p.m.: Argentine playwright/director Aristides Vargas infuses Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quijote with Franz Kafka’s The Truth About Sancho Panza and testimonies by Chicho Vargas and other political prisoners held in the 1970s during Argentina’s dictatorship. Two political prisoners, oppressed by physical and emotional abuse, find solace in meeting every Sunday at dusk to tell the story of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Through Oct. 17. Le Nozze di Figaro Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 972-8001 or Sept. 26, 2 p.m.: Plácido Domingo conducts one of opera’s greatest comic masterpieces. From

photo by Gary Leonard

There’s not much for Dodger fans to cheer, but the optimists will find a silver lining in Chad Billingsley’s strong finish.

the opening notes of the overture to the final curtain, The Marriage of Figaro turns convention upside down when the wily Figaro (Daniel Okulitch) outwits his master, Count Almaviva (Bo Skovhus). Martina Serafin takes the part of the Countess. Rebekah Camm and Marlis Petersen share the role of Susanna. Seven performances through Oct. 17. Leap of Faith Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 6282772 or Sept. 21-25, 8 p.m.; Sept. 26, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.: Con man Jonas Nightingale brings his gospelcharged tent revival to rain-starved Kansas in the world premiere Leap of Faith. Through Oct. 24. The Reckoning 514 S. Spring St., (213) 489-0994 or Sept. 25, 8 p.m.; Sept. 26, 3 p.m.; (previews Sept. 22-24, 8 p.m.): The Robey Theatre Company presents the world premiere of The Reckoning. A Louisiana crawfish farm owned by an affluent African-American family was once a sugar plantation worked by slaves, and is consequently filled with all manner of secrets and treacheries. Through Oct. 24.

mORE LisTiNGs Hundreds of listings of fun and interesting things to do in Downtown Los Angeles can also be found online at Rock, Pop & Jazz; Bars & Clubs; Farmers Markets; Events; Film; Sports; Art Spaces; Theater, Dance and Opera; Classical Music; Museums; and Tours.


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Los Angeles Downtown News is a free weekly newspaper distributed in and around downtown Los Angeles.