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AON Center Wraps Up Modern Renovations

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, June 25, 2009, at 10:34AM
AON Center Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Ground floor renovations just completed with design by Johnson Fain.

When it opened in 1973, the AON Center at 6th and Hope was the tallest office tower in the west. It's since been surpassed locally by the U.S. Bank Tower, but over 35 years later 707 Wilshire is still a major figure in the Downtown skyline.

Next Monday, the last piece of a major ground floor renovation will be completed, as the Garden Cafe opens inside a new public atrium.

Planning for the $15-million renovation kicked off in August of 2007, when Beacon Capital Partners bought the tower. Work got underway last spring, with crews tearing out hardscape elements that had made the building less than accessible.

The redo by architecture firm Johnson Fain placed new 45-foot glass curtain walls on the north and south faces of the building. Inside, bright primary colors were used on the structure's signature criss-cross escalators.

Hidden away, though, is the building's most interesting new feature. An inaccessible fountain space was knocked out to create a new 3,000 square foot, glass-canopied atrium. The bright and airy space is open to the public, and is home to the new Garden Cafe, which will serve Peet's Coffee. Seating is next to a water feature, and building management said yesterday that WIFI is a likely addition.

In a smart move, the redesign moved the building's security desks to the second floor, meaning that there are no obstacles between the public and the atrium.

Pending final inspections, the cafe is scheduled to open on Monday, June 29.


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