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Why the Best is Yet to Come for Downtown LA

The transformation of Downtown LA has been years in the making, and several projects stand out from the pack, including the massive Wilshire at Grand and the $1B Metropolis condo tower project. We've gathered the biggest players in the biggest projects, such as those two, for Bisnow's 5th Annual Evolution of Downtown LA, which takes place July 21 at 1418 N Spring St, starting at 8am.

Among our all-star panelists will be AC Martin CEO Chris Martin, whose firm is the architect and development managers for Korean Air's new Wilshire Grand project. Chris (center, with his family) loves the title of our program, Evolution of Downtown LA, a concept he's been talking about for 30 years. DTLA has evolved from a business and financial district operating Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, into a dynamic, 24/7 environment where people internationally want to invest. "A lot of us have put our shoulder to the wheel to make it happen," Chris tells us.

Construction on the $1.1B, 2.1M SF development is moving along at a fast pace, Chris says. Rising 1,100 feet from the building's entry point to the top of the architectural spire, Wilshire Grand will boast 900 hotel rooms (built to five-star standards) run by the InterContinental Hotels Group as its US flagship, along with 365k SF of office space, and world-class restaurants and retailers. Chris notes that a fourth category of occupants are advertisers and other companies looking to take advantage of the LED signage built into the building's skin—the entire city block is its own signage district.

Among the project's dining and entertainment options, Wilshire Grand will boast a restaurant on the 71st floor, which Chris predicts will be the premier restaurant location in SoCal. There'll also be dining rooms on the 69th floor and a cocktail lounge on the 70th, as well as a 73rd floor open-air deck with entertainment. Some of these venues will be open 24/7, so if it's 2am and you're craving a nightcap and burger or gourmet snack, you'll be able to get it, though you'll have to wait until Wilshire Grand opens in 2017.

Another panelist will be CBRE SVP Brad McCarthy (here with son Max), who has been involved in some of Downtown's buzziest transactions. We're talking the Metropolis sale to the folks at Greenland, which is under construction on the project's first phase; the $130M sale of Sixth and Alameda to SunCal; and the sale of Eighth and Hope to Essex Property Trust for $200M. Another noteworthy deal was the sale of Eighth and Grand to Carmel Partners (whose VP Neils Cotter also will be a speaker). If you haven't guessed by now, Brad specializes in the sale of major urban redevelopment properties.

Eighth and Grand (above), consisting of 700 units over Whole Foods, is nearing completion. Brad says SunCal's development at Sixth and Alameda is still early in the planning process, but he expects it will be one of DTLA's most transformative projects. It's located on 14.5 acres in the Arts District. Brad, a 13-year veteran of DTLA, says every Downtown neighborhood now has its own unique feel and vibrancy. To hear more, join us July 21 at 1418 N Spring St for Bisnow's Evolution of Downtown LA, starting at 8am. Sign up here!