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Eli Broad and Antonio Villaraigosa at the Grand Avenue announcement

Almost two years ago, Frank Gehry, Eli Broad and the big developer folks from Related Companies announced the Grand Avenue Project. A blocklong development of housing, a hotel, retail & greenspace -- all designed by Gehry -- would complement Disney Hall. Getting the development together was tremendously complicated, and it probably wouldn't have happened without Broad's power and support. Since the exciting, fancy unveiling in April 2006, the Grand Avenue Committee has successfully navigated a series of hearings and approvals.

But Related is moving slowly. Grand Avenue's website still says that "The Developer has agreed to start construction of Phase I by October 1, 2007." So far, "construction" has been limited to taking a few whacks at a doomed parking structure. And in December, Angelenic reported that groundbreaking was scheduled for February 7. On Jan 11, they got a Related publicist to admit that the official groundbreaking has been pushed back to summer 2008 at the earliest because “Some key folks had conflicts with the timing.”

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Is there a problem with the funding, as blogdowntown heard Gehry say at Concrete Frequency? Curbed LA thinks Related has plenty of cash to move forward. So what's up?

The publicity firm hasn't exactly been crowing about the delays -- as far as we can tell, the last they had to say about The Grand (as it is now called, annoyingly) was this December release, when everything seemed bright, shiny, and perfectly on schedule.