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  #141  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 9:42 PM
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^ Hehe welcome back Map! Been skiing on the slopes of Echo Park eh?
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  #142  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 11:47 PM
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Deleted... already being discussed in another thread.

Last edited by Steve2726; Jul 9, 2007 at 3:10 PM.
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  #143  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2007, 10:50 AM
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knbc.com


Downtown-Area High School Construction Costs Tower At $400M
Work Halted In 2000 When Contamination Found On Site

POSTED: 9:50 am PDT July 8, 2007
UPDATED: 10:05 am PDT July 8, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- The construction debacle once known as Belmont High School will cost taxpayers about $400 million by the time it opens next year, it was reported Sunday.

About half the total was spent before construction ground to a halt in 2000, when the school district learned that the site just west of downtown was plumbed with old oil wells. They learned that methane and hydrogen sulfide, potentially harmful gases associated with petroleum, were seeping to the surface.

With constantly rising material and construction prices, the cost of the restarted project, now known as Vista Hermosa, has risen from about $111 million to nearly $197 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.

When first proposed, the district hoped to complete the school for about $45 million.

For all the money spent, "they probably could have built three more high schools, maybe four," said 1st District City Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents the area. "That's a very painful reality. I think 70 percent of the cost was not necessary."

Recently-retired school board member David Tokofsky opposed the Belmont project for most of his 12 years in office.

"The town wants this to be finished," he told The Times. "But there hasn't been a forthright presentation of the costs."

Because of the project's troubled history, some contractors may have been charging more than their normal rates, Jim Cowell, the head of new construction for the district.

"The project had a history," he told The Times. "There may have been a premium associated with working on this job."

Hensel Phelps Construction Co. is the lead contractor in charge of finishing the school. In 2005, it also won a bid to build a 2,400-seat campus for $99 million.

The developer set the price for finishing the 2,600-seat Vista Hermosa at tens of millions of dollars more, The Times reported.

During the years since the fire sprinkler system was installed, the pipes rusted to the point where they had to be replaced.

Also, some of the earlier work done by Kajima Corp. and its lead contractor, the Turner Construction Company, needed to be redone. The district has since settled its disputes with Kajima/Turner.

Turner has remained a district contractor, building 11 elementary and primary schools, and a high school in the San Fernando Valley, still under construction. The total cost of the schools is about $400 million, The Times reported.
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  #144  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2007, 9:49 AM
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EXCLUSIVE Last updated: July 9, 2007 08:18am
Astani Lands $190M Loan for Downtown Condos

By Bob Howard


LOS ANGELES-Astani Enterprises Inc. of Beverly Hills has closed on a $190-million construction loan for the development firm's Concerto condominium towers in Downtown Los Angeles after switching lenders at the 11th hour because of concerns about one firm's subprime market problems. Sonny Astani, president of Astani Enterprises, tells GlobeSt.com that the firm was ready to fund the construction loan in January but canceled the nearly completed deal because of concerns that the lender's problems in its subprime division might interfere with funding of the loan.

Astani then started the loan approval process all over again with a new lender, Chicago-based Corus Bank, which is providing the $190-million construction loan for the first phase of the Concerto development. The Concerto is a 624-unit condominium project comprising two 30-story towers and a six-story building at Figueroa and Ninth streets.

Astani is well under way on construction of the project, which it began in May of 2006 with its own money. Astani tells GlobeSt.com that the firm initially thought that it would have to rely on its own funds only until January or February of this year, when it expected to close the loan with the original lender.

But after canceling the first loan and starting all over, the firm has funded the project construction out of its own pocket until the recent closing of the loan with Corus. Astani explains that the firm continued funding the construction itself to keep the Concerto project on schedule for its expected completion in May of 2009.

Concerto's condominiums will range from 1,100 sf to 2,500 sf and will consist of only one- and two-bedroom units. In addition to its twin towers and the six-story residential building, the Concerto will include a seven-story subterranean parking structure containing nearly 1,000 spaces, 23,000 sf of retail space, a pool, a spa and a one-acre park.

The $190-million construction loan from Corus is for the first phase of the project, which will include one of the 30-story towers, the six-story building and the parking structure. Construction of the second phase is expected to begin after the first phase is out of the ground and the parking is completed. "The first phase is very front-loaded, which is why this was such a complex deal," Astani says, explaining that the first phase includes all of the common areas, the parking, the pool and other facilities.

The Concerto development site is steps away from five million sf of class A office towers, Ralphs Market and the $2.5-billion L.A. Live project. In addition to Concerto, Astani Enterprises recently completed and sold out its 200-unit Vero condominiums in Downtown L.A. and has 1,800 units under development in Downtown, Koreatown and Hollywood.
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  #145  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2007, 8:46 AM
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• Jul. 16, 2007
From None to Tons of Grocery Options

By KEELEY WEBSTER
CREJ Staff Writer
Was it just a year ago that the influx of new downtown residents were wondering if they would ever have a grocery?
Now, the long-awaited Ralphs being developed as part of CIM Group's $247 million mixed-use South Village Project is slated to hold its opening ceremony July 20.

British retailer Tesco plans to roll out 100 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, including one at the corner of Adams Boulevard and Central Avenue in South Los Angeles.

And Moinian Group, the developer of a 4.6-acre mixed-use project including 700 units in two high-rise residential towers named Figueroa Central, has reportedly signed a Whole Foods Market to anchor the 250,000 square feet of retail, according to Jack Kyser, executive vice president and chief economist at Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The site, located at 11th and Figueroa streets, would look to benefit from the adjacent L.A. Live development.

Kyser said the grocery store is signed, sealed and delivered, but a Whole Foods spokesman denied that anything has been signed.
All that Shawn Glasser, the company's spokesman, would say is that Whole Foods has been looking at sites in downtown Los Angeles for years.
Talk of a Whole Foods in South Park near L.A. Live has taken downtown real estate watchers, who expected a Whole Foods at The Related Cos.' Grand Avenue project, by surprise, Kyser said.

The Related Cos. has yet to announce leases for the 450,000 square feet of retail planned in its $2 billion Grand Avenue project in downtown Los Angeles that also includes 3,000 condominiums and 681,000 square feet of office space.
The earliest The Related Cos. would probably make additional announcements about retail planned for the Grand Avenue project would be later this year, coinciding with the October groundbreaking, said William Witte, managing partner of The Related Cos. of California.

It's not unusual for a project of this size with a three-and-a-half-year construction schedule to start without tenants in place, Witte added.
The Related Cos. executives have long talked about an upscale or specialty grocer such as Whole Foods, Gelsons or Bristol Farms, as one of the project's anchors.
"It's been clear that the space would accommodate a Whole Foods," Witte said. "But we have been talking about having a grocery store since the beginning."
The Related Cos. also might consider a middle-market grocery like a Ralphs or a Vons, Witte said, adding that those groceries have made a lot of changes in their offerings.

Whole Foods seemed like a lock after its success in The Related Cos.' Warner Center project in New York City. Based on the demographics near South Park, Kyser said he could see why Whole Foods would choose Figueroa Central over the Grand Avenue project.
"There is a larger residential base to draw from near South Park," Kyser said. "There is a lot of residential near the Harbor Freeway, especially along Wilshire Boulevard."
In addition to the new residential projects already completed in South Park, a grocery near L.A. Live would also benefit from proximity to the office workers in the Ernst & Young building at 7th and Figueroa streets and students at University of Southern California.

There is also nothing to say that Whole Foods couldn't open a store near L.A. Live and one at Grand Avenue.
While some groceries typically won't open two stores within a three-mile radius of another of its stores in fear of cannibalizing its customer base, that doesn't apply to Whole Foods, which plans to open 18 new stores in California.
"Site selection for Whole Foods Market is based on customer demand, not on specific geographic parameters," Glasser said.
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  #146  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 6:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobcat View Post
• Jul. 16, 2007
From None to Tons of Grocery Options

By KEELEY WEBSTER
CREJ Staff Writer
Was it just a year ago that the influx of new downtown residents were wondering if they would ever have a grocery?
Now, the long-awaited Ralphs being developed as part of CIM Group's $247 million mixed-use South Village Project is slated to hold its opening ceremony July 20.

British retailer Tesco plans to roll out 100 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, including one at the corner of Adams Boulevard and Central Avenue in South Los Angeles.

There is also nothing to say that Whole Foods couldn't open a store near L.A. Live and one at Grand Avenue. While some groceries typically won't open two stores within a three-mile radius of another of its stores in fear of cannibalizing its customer base, that doesn't apply to Whole Foods, which plans to open 18 new stores in California.
"Site selection for Whole Foods Market is based on customer demand, not on specific geographic parameters," Glasser said
.
Tesco at Adams & Central, wow that is a huge surprise. This is probably one of the most depressed looking areas in all of south central LA. Although there area some gems (historic homes) that could perhaps be restored, and the neighborhood could gentrify, but that is still quite a stretch. Then again maybe not since its really just on the far edges of downtown LA. Why isn't there plans for one of downtown Long Beach? We have all classes of people in the downtown area, from rich to poor.

Also I say the same about Whole Foods, we should have one in downtown Long Beach. With all of the new high end residents moving in, we can certainly support it.
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  #147  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 7:22 AM
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well there is already a wild oats near 2nd street, and considering both sort of compete for the same niche crowd maybe that's why they haven't done long beach yet.
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  #148  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 10:58 PM
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hasn't wild oats been bought out by whole foods?
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  #149  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 12:05 AM
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whole food wants to buy them but the government is trying to stop that sale
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  #150  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2007, 8:29 PM
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Gansevoort West is Dead, Gansevoort South Gets Managing Director



We confess. We had pretty much forgotten about Gansevoort West which was to open at 9th and Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, thanks to a severe news drought on the property.

Anyways we inquired about the property's future and got carefully-worded reply from developers WSA Management and the Chetrit Group:

WSA Management will wholly own and manage the Gansevoort South hotel and condominium development in Miami. The Chetrit Group will develop the 9th Street/Grand Avenue project in Los Angeles under a different brand name; WSA Management will not be involved.


Later, we found LA Curbed's post on the hotel death.

Anyways, WSA Management is William Achenbaum's development group and he is the owner of the original Hotel Gansevoort in NYC. The Chetrit group is also based in NYC.

So there you have it. Gansevoort West is dead. Now, we just need to know what kind of hotel brand the Chetrit Group is putting in. Hopefully, not another Thompson Hotel.

More on Gansevoort's Miami plans after the jump.

MORE

Gansevoort South aka Hotel Paradiso is still very much on, having just appointed a managing director, Robert Van Eerde, who jumped ship from Andre Balazs' property, The Raleigh. Van Eerde also headed up operations at AB's Standard Miami and has run, among other places, U2's Clarence Hotel in Ireland.

In short, the hotel will have 334 guest rooms alongside 259 luxury condo units, a full city block of luxury boutiques and restaurants and now we learn, the place will have expansive lobby accented by a 50-foot shark tank. Cool, every week will be Shark Week down there!

http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/20...aging_Director
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  #151  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2007, 10:07 PM
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^ This news is a bit uncomfy since the Chetrit Group is DEFINITELY not experienced in developing or running hotels! Give me one example that was successfully completed by them. I hope they're actively seeking another high-end hotel operator to partner with. I wouldn't mind a Thompson's actually (referring to the Hotel Chatter's comments). We'll have one in Beverly Hills and Downtown LA. Downtown LA needs to start competing with BH for higher-end clients who have money and attract money (business).
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  #152  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2007, 8:31 PM
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South Park Ralph's Opening Cell Phone Snapshots

There were 2 huge lines to get in before the ribbon cutting this morning. Decent size crowd, and once we were all in, you could barely more around all the people. Overall, the Ralph's is VERY nice, everything they promised. Prices seemed really cheap, especially on the produce, but they may be introductory. I was struck by the diverse group of people who were shopping there. You can see the pent-up demand for a grocery store in DT.

Several cell phone snapshots from inside after the ribbon cutting:














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  #153  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2007, 9:56 PM
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Thanks for the pics. I was under the impression that most grocery stores didn't allow cameras/pictures...
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  #154  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2007, 11:44 PM
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Is the coffee bean open? It looks like it opens into Ralphs as well as the street.
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  #155  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2007, 12:15 AM
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Thanks for the pics. I was under the impression that most grocery stores didn't allow cameras/pictures...
There were countless people there with cameras including press, bloggers and residents.
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  #156  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2007, 12:17 AM
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Is the coffee bean open? It looks like it opens into Ralphs as well as the street.
There's a Coffee Bean inside Ralph's which is open, and there's another Coffee Bean (stand-alone) on the street corner in a retail space.
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  #157  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2007, 6:27 AM
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As you guys can imagine, the people were ready to knock the doors down, they were so eager to get in! It was a wonderful feeling shopping in this new grocery store with all these people around you that were all smiling and making the biggest deal out of this (which they should!). It was this feeling of comraderie. Downtown LA has truly, finally arrived!


Here are some pics I took today:































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  #158  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2007, 7:57 PM
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I love LA, but this is so sad. One of the biggest metros in the world, and people are making such a big deal about a friggin grocery store (the first one!!) opening in "downtown". Just shows you how overwhelmingly suburban (or in the preferred euphemism here, "multinodal") LA is. Now LA is about 4.4% instead of 4.3% on its way to becoming a great urban metropolis.

This thread would make a great spoof for a NY or London paper. "Wow, we finally have a grocery store!! Bring out the champagne!"
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  #159  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2007, 8:05 PM
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^
Oh and they didn't make such big deal in Manhattan when Trader Joes opened? Also I recall the national media making a big deal about the Time-Warner (Whole Foods, a Texas based mostly suburban upscale supermaket) in NYC.
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  #160  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2007, 8:31 PM
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^
Oh and they didn't make such big deal in Manhattan when Trader Joes opened? Also I recall the national media making a big deal about the Time-Warner (Whole Foods, a Texas based mostly suburban upscale supermaket) in NYC.
I live two blocks from Time Warner, and I don't recall a particularly big deal being made about the Whole Foods. In fact the whole center was derided as suburban , boring, and poorly designed from the very beginning - at least by the NY Times. And I don't even know what Trader Joe's is. Although I keep hearing references to it on this site. In fact I've noticed a very pervasive interest in chains on this California forum. In NY, in my experience at least, chains are a sign of creeping suburbanization, and generally looked down on.
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