Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Panel extends design deadline for key Grand Avenue project

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The panel that oversees a major real estate development across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall agreed Monday to delay an important design deadline for the project.

The four-member Grand Avenue Authority now has until January 20 of next year to approve the project at Grand Avenue and First Street, which is to include luxury condos, a hotel and retail space. The original deadline had been Sept. 30, but authority members decided last week they didn’t like the concept presented by the developer, New York-based Related Companies.

Had the deadline not been extended, the entire redevelopment project could have been in jeopardy. Downtown business and labor leaders testified at the Hall of Administration Monday, urging the panel to keep working with Related. Among them was a representative for Eli Broad, who sent a letter encouraging the board to stay with the project. Broad is building a museum for his art collection across the street.

The parcel is the last undeveloped property along the Grand Avenue cultural corridor that includes the Music Center, Grand Park, Disney Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Colburn School for the performing arts. The property currently houses a parking structure mainly used by jurors for the nearby courthouse.

"Grand Avenue is the last major piece of the revitalization effort that began in earnest in '99," said Carol Schatz, president of the Central City Association. "It is critical to our community. Our community wants to be fully engaged." 

Revised preliminary drawings are due on Oct. 30.

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