LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — City officials were on hand Tuesday to mark the start of deconstruction of an iconic hotel in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
KNX 1070's John Brooks reports the Wilshire Grand Hotel will soon be replaced by a $1 billion, 70-story hotel and office complex.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa along with Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Jan Perry were joined by community labor and business leaders at the corner of Wilshire and Figueroa to remove the hotel's iconic lettering above the Wilshire Boulevard entrance.
The 16-story hotel has hosted world leaders including Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, and Pope John Paul II over the course of its 60-year history.
But the upcoming project - which is being developed by Korean Air - will be one of the largest developments to break ground in Los Angeles over the next several years and is expected to create a significant number of jobs, and bolster the local travel and tourism industry.
Initially envisioned as a complex with two towers - a 45-story hotel and what is being billed as the "tallest office building west of the Mississippi"- Korean Air officials parted ways with project developer Thomas Properties in March and moved toward instead building a single tower with more than 900 hotel rooms and a reduced office component.
Ron Miller with the Los Angeles County Building Trades Council said either way, the project could bring as many as 11,000 jobs to Los Angeles.
"Welders, iron workers, plumbers, electricians, cement masons, laborers [who] will be doing the demo," said Miller. "Our members have been out of work two and three years."
The entire deconstruction phase is expected to take up to 12 months to complete.
As many as 2,000 jobs could be made permanent when the complex opens in January of 2017.
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