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L.A. County Approves Plan To Accelerate Construction Of Broad Museum

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a plan today for speeding up work on downtown’s planned Broad Art Museum and to downsize and extend deadlines for related residential and retail development.

The $3 billion Grand Avenue Project on Bunker Hill — land owned by the county, city and a Community Redevelopment Agency — is planned to include a Frank Gehry-designed hotel, multiple residential towers, retail space and a 16-acre civic park, set to stretch from Grand Avenue at the Music Center to City Hall at Spring Street.

The developer, Related Cos., has had trouble finding financing for the project and repeatedly delayed its start. Officials agreed to delay an ambitious first phase of the project, which included the hotel and a tower by Gehry, in hopes of pushing a second phase of residential development forward.

Phase II has been scaled back to include a 20-story, 260-unit residential development, including 20 percent low-income units, with 7,000 to 19,500 square feet of retail space and a second, six-story residential building.

The work was last agreed to begin no later than September 2012, triggering payments under a ground lease by the developer, but now the first residential tower will break ground October 2012, and construction on the second, smaller building may not start until four years later.

The scope of Phase III is still open and the deadline for Related to commit was also extended today.

But billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad’s plan for a world-class contemporary art museum to house his collection is moving forward and he has agreed to build public improvements — a plaza, sidewalks, more parking — concurrent with the work on the museum.

The design for his three-story, 114,000-square foot museum was unveiled in January as a honeycomb-like design above an angular, concrete-clad structure by New York-based architects Diller, Scofidio and Renfro.

Now a three-story garage under the museum at Second Avenue and Grand Street will be extended to serve future residential development.

A plaza over General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way between Hope and Grand streets will also be completed, sidewalks will be widened and trees will be added as part of the museum construction.

The Community Redevelopment Agency and the city of Los Angeles had already approved the changes in meetings in April and May.

Copyright © 2011 City News Service

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