The West Coast’s tallest building tops out: The view from 1,100 feet up

“Hey up!” was a shout from the crowd as the cables grew taut on a 35-foot steel beam as it began to rise to the top of the Wilshire Grand hotel.

Workers, architects and engineers gathered Tuesday afternoon to celebrate a milestone in the construction of Los Angeles’ most notable skyscraper at the corner of Figueroa Street and Wilshire Boulevard. The ceremony, known as the topping out, marks completion of the building’s central core: a pillar of concrete that rises more than 892 feet from the foundation. The core will help support the project’s tower, which will rise another 200 feet.




An earlier version of this post incorrectly gave Yang Ho Cho’s birth date as March 7.


Upon completion, the Wilshire Grand will rise 1,100 feet and be the tallest building west of Chicago. The hotel will have 900 hotel rooms and nearly 400,000-square feet of office space. An adjoining building will have ballrooms and convention space.

“We’re one step closer to transforming Los Angeles,” said Kevin Dow, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co., which is managing the work site.


The construction of the concrete core took 744 days from the day the foundation of the building was poured in 2014 until Feb. 29, when the final cubic yards of concrete were pumped to the building’s 73rd level. Workers are now adding structural steel around the core, and later this year will begin work on the building’s crown, a steel and glass edifice that will include a spire and beacon.

“The eyes of the world are upon you,” said Chris Martin in his comments. Martin is chief executive of A.C. Martin, the architectural firm that designed the Wilshire Grand, which is owned by Korean Airlines. “I don’t know how we could have done this without you.”

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Wilshire Grand

The Wilshire Grand Center in downtown Los Angeles on March 4. Upon completion, the Wilshire Grand will rise 1,100 feet and be the tallest building west of Chicago.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Martin cited a global workforce of 11,000 people in Mexico, Korea, Germany, the United States and Canada who have contributed to the building.

The steel beam was signed by those gathered on the ground level of the complex and was decorated with an American flag and a small cypress tree for good luck.

Martin also used the occasion to announce that the clock is now running: In one year -- on March 8, 2017 -- construction on the mammoth project will be completed, a date set to coincide with the birthday of Yang Ho Cho, chairman of Hanjin International Corp., the owner of Korean Airlines.


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