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Next week, Greenland USA expects to break ground on Phase 1 of the West Coast's largest mixed-use development: Metropolis Los Angeles. (It's where Superman goes for vacation from... Metropolis.) The $1B project is rising in the South Park area on the largest undeveloped site in Downtown.

We snapped Greenland USA CEO I Fei Chang this week at an event marking the project's launch. She tells Bisnow that Downtown LA is a good choice and good timing for the company's first US project. The subsidiary of Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group, one of China's largest real estate developers, specializes in CBD projects—large scale city center, high-density high-rises—and promotes urban living. Investing in Downtown LA and bringing residents, especially young creatives, back into the area helps employment and "encourages people to spend more time after work and spend money here. We're just one block away from LA Live." (So even during work you might see Blake Griffin on your lunch break; you'll have to crane your neck though because he's pretty tall.)

We also took this of Central City Association and Downtown Center BID prez Carol Schatz chatting with Lew Horne, president of CBRE's Greater LA-OC Region. Carol spoke exuberantly about the project and Greenland's commitment to bringing the top end of urban living to Downtown LA—a once neglected, blighted, and ignored area. "We have made Downtown after years of work a destination not just for business but for living and playing, as well." (Also for dancing.)

The project spans a full city block on Francisco Street, bordered by Eighth and Ninth streets. Phase 1 includes 308 luxury condo units and 7,326 SF of ground-floor retail. I Fei hopes to have Phase 2 ongoing by later this year. Altogether, Metropolis will boast some 1,500 units. Gensler and SPAN
Architecture are providing design services for the 4.3M SF project, which also includes a 350-room, four-star international brand hotel. Greenland also has a project in Brooklyn.

We found some super men of the commercial real estate brokerage world, such as Lew and Colliers SVP Dick Schnell and Greater LA executive managing director Hans Mumper.

The event began at the Metropolis sales gallery, 888 S Figueroa. Later, the party moved to Faith & Flower. Howard Lorber, chairman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the firm that's marketing Metropolis, calls the project great for LA. While a lot of new rental projects are coming on line, "no one else is building a condo tower for sale."

The Navarro family of Greenstone Properties—Maple, Wilfredo, and Wilfredo Jr—like the increased activity they're seeing Downtown. They specialize in for-sale residential properties in "DTLA." (You know you've made it when you have an acronym.)

Ready to party ....