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Changing Landscape Downtown
Downtown loft dwellers and SRO apartment advocates can stop wringing their hands over the impending conversion of favorite historical structures because, according to the 8/8/2005 LA Times article "Downtown Housing Demand Feed a Bloom in High-Rises" by Cara Mia DiMassa (what a name, btw), it looks like the yuppies threatening to over run downtown LA may all be warehoused in skyscrapers, high above the hoi polli, leaving the street to the masses once again.
32 towers are in the works for downtown, though some still need city approval as well as financing.
Twenty are considered skyscrapers because they climb more than 240 feet, or about 20 stories. One of the most talked about is a proposed 50-story Asian-inspired tower at 3rd and Hill streets.
Yea, yea. We've heard it all that before. What's striking this time is that the downtown landscape may really change to reflect the new shapes influencing residential high rise design around the world.
Because almost all of the new construction will be residential rather than commercial, the look of the towers will be different from the rest of the skyline. Expect thinner, more angular structures.
Office buildings, said urban planner Doug Suisman, who consulted on the Grand Avenue project, often look like boxy slabs, in part because of the nature of what happens inside. While residential towers require significantly more plumbing, for example, and higher ceilings than office space, they also need less ventilation and fewer elevators.
It's unclear whether some precious views, often a selling point for pricey condos, will be preserved as downtown's new towers spring to life. With the wall of downtown buildings being extended north and south, it seems certain, however, that the new projects will further obscure City Hall and shorter landmarks like Disney Hall. Councilman Tom LaBonge, long a fan of City Hall's iconic placement in the landscape, said he felt that the building "will always stand tall."
But, he admitted, "it has already been dwarfed."