Only the other day Korean Air, a corporate partner of the city's Million Trees L.A. program, was sponsoring the mayor's tree-planting photo-op near downtown. In today's L.A. Times, we learn, the company is the force behind a proposed construction project that will change the skyline by knocking down the Wilshire Grand hotel and replacing it with 60- and 40-story towers combining offices, a luxury hotel topped with condos, shops and, presumably, Korean restaurants.

Statler postcard: USC Geography

The Times reports that these will all be tucked into

1.75-million-square-feet located on a 2.7-acre parcel on Wilshire at

Figueroa. (Curbed L.A. and the Downtown News have architectural and financial details about the $1 billion project that currently doesn't seem to be funded, two years before the project is scheduled to break ground.)

The hotel all this would flatten has undergone the kind of negative evolution glimpsed in Blade Runner. It was built in 1952 as the Hotel Statler, then the Statler Hilton before, in the 1990s, it became the dreadful-sounding Omni Los Angeles — each time acquiring new coats of paint and awnings in attempts to make the place look contemporary. The Wilshire Grand is currently a crash pad for visiting business people or groups of tourists who pay well under $200 for rooms.

James Dean as Jett Rink: Getty Images

If preservationists are looking for anything to lament, they might

remember that, as the Statler, it's where James Dean made his famously

mumbled speech as Jett Rink in Giant.

Proposed new Korean Air development
Image: Thomas Properties

LA Weekly