When plans for a billion-dollar complex in downtown Los Angeles were made, the city looked very different. Now, downtown is empty of office workers, tourists, and museum visitors. Yet the work on the long-anticipated project has carried on through the pandemic.

But, will people return to downtown L.A.?

That’s the billion-dollar question. LA Times staff writer Roger Vincent has the story

What You Need To Know

  • $1 billion development project known as "The Grand" is at halfway point in construction

  • Multi-use complex was designed by celebrated architect, Frank Gehry

  • The Grand will feature restaurants, retail, residences and a luxury hotel

  • Amid the pandemic downtown, investors are hopeful the project will attract people back to DTLA

The complex, known as the Grand was designed by architect Frank Gehry and is about halfway complete. The towering collection will consist of apartments, stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and a luxury hotel rising on a full city block across Grand Avenue.

“This project didn’t get off the ground until they had the money, and that took a long time. Related Cos., which is a huge developer out of New York —they’re known for Hudson Yards project in New York, the Time Warner Center, and they’ve done a lot of development here. They got the contract in 2004, and it took them many years to put together the funding. Now, they are well funded and should be able to finish the project by 2022,” said Times staff writer, Roger Vincent. 

The joint powers agreement that operates the Grand, wants to make sure this is something for everyone to enjoy. “They've gone out of their way to make sure there is a large outdoor courtyard with open seating for people to sit and eat their lunch. They’ll be food from all price points. There will be more than six restaurants, and the goal is to have at least a $10 lunch if you wanted to buy something to eat there. The point is you could go there and have fun,” said Vincent.

The Equinox hotel will have 309 rooms and a 39-story residential tower will have 436 luxury apartments. Of those 436 apartments, 20 percent will be subsidized for low-income residents. 

The Grand is one of the largest active construction sites in Southern California with about 400 workers a day, and all of them follow coronavirus safety protocols.

“Every day workers have to fill out a questionnaire, get their temperature taken, they work with masks on, they’re socially distancing, and if two people have to work closely, they wear face shields and masks. So far there’s been less then a dozen people tested positive for COVID-19, so they’re plowing ahead,” added Vincent.

Some features of this development will follow safety protocols.

“The project is as touch-less as possible. There are automatic doors, you can pay without touching a credit receipt. I think the world was going in that direction anyway, but certainly, the pandemic has made people think about the future to make sure others feel safe,” said Vincent.