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"Mr. Trump? I Have Cesar Pelli on Line Two..."

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Gentlemen (and real estate robber barons), start your engines! Today’s LA Times reports the city plans to sell 9 million square feet of unused air rights above the LA Convention Center to developers, and at the bargain basement price of $20 per square foot. For the unacquainted, air rights are what developers like Donald Trump usually have to quietly buy up in order to build a ginormous new tower.

Turns out the land around the Convention Center, though certainly low-rise today, is zoned for high-rise development. Along with LA Live and the Grand Avenue project, this seems to fit nicely into the ongoing plan to New Yorkify downtown. The Times piece says the deal frees up enough space around the Convention Center to build the equivalent of seven U.S. Bank Buildings (currently the tallest building downtown). Or six Empire State Buildings. Or five Jin Mao Towers…

Of course, there are those who bemoan the inevitable increase in traffic such large downtown developments would bring to the rapidly growing center city, but LAist certainly wouldn't mind what would amount to the biggest change to the downtown skyline since the 1980s. So many other large cities around the world are getting shiny new skyline phalluses. Why not us?

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