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Ritz Tower Gets Topped Off

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2008, at 01:54PM
Ritz Topping Off Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A flag hanging from the final three beams waves in the wind while being raised up the tower.

Downtown development took another step forward today, as the final three beams were lifted to the top of the 54-story tower that will hold a J.W. Marriott, Ritz Carlton and condos at L.A. Live. When completed, the structure will have contributed $1 billion to the complex's $2.5 billion total cost.

Today's event included the requisite appearances by politicians and executives, but was really about the construction crews that have brought the tower in ahead of schedule. The bulk of the ceremony was made up of safety awards given to those who have worked on the tower.

The top awards were presented by actor Jimmy Smits. After giving a "Union" shout-out, Smits joked with the workers in the audience. "I'm in a union. It's not as good as yours." Smits is part-owner of the Conga Room, which marks its official Grand Opening this evening.

After Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilwoman Jan Perry congratulated AEG for completing a project that brought jobs to the city, AEG CEO Tim Lieweke said that the Ritz project wasn't the end. "We'll bring you another hotel," he told the politicians and construction workers.

Though he did not provide any additional details, the roughly 300-room hotel will rise across Olympic from the L.A. Live site, in a master-planned parcel known as "LASED - Olympic North." Demolition work on the former apartment building on the site is just wrapping up. blogdowntown has previously speculated that this site would be the location for a new Marriott Edition.

The three beams raised to the top of the tower were covered with signatures. One features the names of students at three schools AEG has partnered with: Roy Romer Middle School in North Hollywood, Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights and 10th Street Elementary just west of L.A. Live. The second was signed by construction workers, and the third was signed by the plant in Japan that produced the tower's steel.


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