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Korean Air Chairman Says City Could Move Faster on Wilshire Grand Project

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010, at 04:01PM
Wilshire Grand AC Martin

This rendering of the proposed project was released last year by architects AC Martin.

Redevelopment of the Wilshire Grand hotel site with a pair of high-rise towers is moving forward, but the head of property-owner Korean Air today told a Downtown audience that the city could be doing more to speed up the project.

"We would like to see the development process go a little quicker," said Y. H. Cho, the airline's Chairman. "We understand that balancing the city budget is a priority at this time. But your city leaders must not let today’s challenges slow down tomorrow’s gains."

Budget issues and the City's early retirement program have left the Planning Department extremely understaffed, with only a few people in key approval positions such as Zoning Administrator.

Cho's remarks at Town Hall L.A. came nearly one year after the project was first announced. The 1952 hotel will be replaced by a pair of high-rises, one a 65-story office tower and the other a 560-room luxury hotel with a condo component.

The design will include a park space, Cho said. He emphasized the towers' green design and promised to exceed Green Building Council standards.

The 1952 Statler hotel was Downtown's finest, but Cho said its time has passed.

"For everything there is a season, and this grand hotel’s season has come to an end," he said. "The building’s infrastructure is obsolete and the rooms don’t work anymore."

A timetable for the hotel's closing has not been set, and will depend on the city's permitting process.

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