Read “Grand Avenue Drenched in Misdirection” by Tibby Rothman.

It's been promised for years, but developer Related California finally broke ground for the first private component of the multi-billion-dollar Grand Avenue Project in downtown Los Angeles, with mayoral candidate and City Councilwoman Jan Perry attending the kick-off ceremony.

Perry has been a protector and driving force of the Grand Avenue Project while it has swirled in controversy and delays.

L.A. Weekly has noted over the years that Perry consistently approved lavish public spending on the project, including tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for affordable housing units and a park. Now Perry, who's in full campaign mode to become mayor, can at least say more apartments are coming to downtown.

Near Walt Disney Concert Hall, Related is constructing a 19-story residential tower for $120 million, with 271 apartments and 5,000 square feet for restaurant space. Twenty percent of the units are earmarked for affordable housing.

In a press release, the developer boasts that the building has a “contemporary design [that] features windows that change size and proportion across its white façade. With abundant glass, the tower will offer bright and open residences.”

But everything is still not champagne and roses for Related California.

Downtown News notes that while “the Thursday groundbreaking was a celebratory event filled with smiling politicians, looming over the affair was the reality that Related still lacks a plan for the site across from Walt Disney Concert Hall, even as it faces a Feb. 15 deadline to break ground.

“Of course, the firm will not meet that deadline. Instead, it is expected to request a third extension from the Grand Avenue Authority, the city-county body that oversees the complex development agreement.”

Two steps forward and one step back, eh? Or, in this case, is it one step forward and one step back?

Either way, Related expects to open the residential tower, which was designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, by late 2014.

Read “Jan Perry's Grand Avenue Conflict” by Tibby Rothman.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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