Los Angeles: Becoming, and Growing UP; Too Low in Downtown; Too High in Hollywood?

Becoming LA

If you are interested in how L.A. became the way it is, the Natural History Museum, has just opened its epic new permanent exhibit, Becoming Los Angeles, which takes visitors throught the founding of our region, from the time of Spanish arrival to the present. (DnA will report in more detail on this exhibit soon.)

If you are curious about which way LA is going, stay in touch with our coverage of LA Grows UP. The latest twists in the ongoing story: In the LA Downtown News, Ryan Vaillancourt makes the case that downtown is missing out on a chance to build higher.

downtown midrisesRyan explained that his story (Photo from LA Downtown News, left, by photographer Gary Leonard), “asks why builders, especially in downtown, are primarily developing mid-rises (pictured left) instead of high rises. Downtown is the one place in the city where density is not controversial– in that the local constituencies don’t oppose it, like they usually do in Santa Monica, the Valley, etc.

There’s also a surge in demand and investment in housing here,  yet we’re building these seven story stucco buildings instead. There are some leading thinkers in L.A. architecture and planning– such as Eric Owen Moss, Michael Logrande, as well as a bunch of developers — who fear the city is missing a key opportunity to grow vertically and not horizontally.

palladiumThere’s an interesting conversation — that I think my story only scratches the surface — and it’s about whether these mid-rises in downtown are simply an economic phenomenon, or whether city zoning and planning regulations are actually to blame for the surge in mid-rise growth.

Also, the city is about to launch a re-write of its zoning code, focusing on downtown first and logrande is interested in the concept of minimum density — basically, on some plots of land, the property owner would be required to go at least to a certain height and density. That would be controversial, I think, but fascinating.”

Is Hollywood Going too High — Again?

On the other side, Curbed LA reports on two new towers being proposed for Hollywood at the site of the Palladium Towers (pictured below), just a few minutes from where the controversial Millenium Towers are going to be built. Curbed doesn’t mince words about the prospect of these (sketchy) overscaled slabs blundering into the hilly skyline:

“Holy shit, there have been rumors about some kind of development at the site of the Hollywood Palladium for ages now, but here they finally are, for real: newish owner Crescent Heights has announced (so far sketchy) plans for what two big-ass towers on the parking lots behind the site. . .” Read more here.

Eyesore or sight for sore eyes?