Developer Related Cos. wins extension on Grand Ave. project

Times Architecture Critic

Ending several days of turmoil over the Grand Avenue redevelopment project, the joint city-county committee overseeing it voted Monday to extend its agreement with New York developer Related Cos. through Jan. 20.

The decision by the Grand Avenue Authority means Related will continue to refine plans for the site across Grand Avenue from Walt Disney Concert Hall. That property, called Parcel Q, is expected to hold a large complex with shops and restaurants along Grand, topped by a pair of towers holding hotel rooms, apartments and condominiums.

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The question now is who precisely will design the complex. A master plan by the firm Gensler, with contributions from the New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, was surprisingly rejected by County Supervisor Gloria Molina and other officials last week. Molina, who chairs the Grand Avenue Authority, criticized the Gensler plans as uninspired and overly commercial.

Frank Gehry’s firm produced an earlier conceptual design, and it’s possible he will return to the lead role on the project.

But the extension is not a long one, especially given the lack of certainty about the makeup of the design team.