The West Coast’s tallest building tops out: The view from 1,100 feet up
A pedestrian walks past the Wilshire Grand hotel, center, currently under construction at Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. When finished, the Wilshire Grand will rise 1,100 feet high and become the tallest building west of the Mississippi.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Brett Baker welds a belt truss to a box column on the 70th floor of the Wilshire Grand, currently under construction in downtown Los Angeles.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
The Wilshire Grand, far right, will be the tallest building in the Los Angeles skyline when it is completed, surpassing the U.S. Bank Tower, at left.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Glass foreman Gary Wahlenmaier, right, looks on as glaziers Carlos Riviera, left, and Joe Guevara sign their names on a 35-foot-long steel beam inside the Wilshire Grand, currently under construction. The beam was later raised up by a crane to the 72nd floor where it was bolted in place.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A welder works on the framing of the skylight located inside the atrium of the Wilshire Grand Center, under construction in downtown Los Angeles.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A construction worker reaches out with a tag line as a crane operator lowers a window into position at the Wilshire Grand Center.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Luis Sanchez, left, and Anthony Gutierrez work on level 64. of the Wilshire Grand Center.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
The Wilshire Grand Center, left with cranes on top, as seen from Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Los Angeles.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
The rising Wilshire Grand Center in downtown L.A. reflected in the Wedbush Building.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Taping foreman Luis Cervantes, left, and taper Raymundo Avendano, apply fire tape to the dry wall on level 53 of the Wilshire Grand Center.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Carpenters David Sprenger, left, and Abel Castaneda, work on the 51st floor of the Wilshire Grand Center.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Iron worker Paul Graham, with safety line attached, walks along a 7 1/2 inch steel beam, as work begins on putting up the framework for the New Wilshire Grand project.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
An iron worker grabs onto a tag line while guiding a rebar wall into position above the concrete core of the New Wilshire Grand project.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Iron worker Javier Jimenez guides a rebar wall, approximately 32 feet by19 feet into position as it hangs from a crane above the New Wilshire Grand project.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Welder Marvin Chapman welds clips onto a steel column at Schuff Steel in Phoenix Schuff Steel is fabricating steel that will be used to build the new Wilshire Grand hotel.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A steel beam is moved into position by crane at Schuff Steel in Eloy, Ariz., on Nov. 17, 2014. Schuff Steel is fabricating steel that will be used to build the new Wilshire Grand hotel.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
When completed, the Wilshire Grand hotel will be the tallest structure west of Chicago.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Carpenter Angel Diaz uses epoxy to fill in holes while working at the Wilshire Grand Center.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
The Wilshire Grand Center under construction.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
The Wilshire Grand center.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
“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.
FOR THE RECORD
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.”
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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