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The Wilshire Grand Is Officially Open

The Wilshire Grand illuminated with the colors of LA2024 (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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The Wilshire Grand opened Friday, five years after the old hotel came down, officially making its mark as the tallest building west of the Mississippi (ok, on a technicality, but still). The spire brought it to 1,100 feet tall, pushing it just above the U.S. Bank Tower's height. The Korean Airlines-owned building has 73 stories and houses a new Intercontinental Hotel, leasable office and retail space, a rooftop bar, and several restaurants.

The building offers a new look for L.A.'s skyline because it doesn't include a flat top to accommodate an emergency helipad. The rule, long blamed for the lack of visual diversity in L.A.'s skyline, was modified in 2014, partly due to negotiations during construction of the Wilshire Grand. It also features massive LED screens at the top and along the side of the building. So far, the building has projected logos for Korean Air and the Intercontinental Hotel and put on colored light shows. The futuristic building doesn't owe everything to electronics, though; the inspiration for its curved top comes from Yosemite's Half Dome.

The building's opening party featured the USC Marching Band (Yang-ho Cho, the CEO of Korean Airlines, is a USC graduate, according to the L.A. Daily News) and speeches from politicians like California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Léon. According to the L.A. Times, the opening event attracted many Korean immigrants eager to celebrate their country's contributions to the Los Angeles skyline.

The building is part of the massive construction boom downtown. With new renderings and buildings sprouting all the time, it'll only be a matter of time before the downtown skyline completely transforms into a sea of skyscrapers.

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