Architect Frank Gehry Designs $1 Billion Dollar Real Estate Development

Following the opening of New York’s Hudson Yards development, Related looks toward Downtown Los Angeles.

Downtown L.A.’s skyline has rapidly evolved over the past decade, with new luxury apartment buildings, mixed-use complexes, high-rise hotels, music venues, galleries, and museums adding texture and depth to an area that is now, by all accounts, the city’s nexus of art and entertainment. Related Urban, the mixed-use arm of Related Companies, just debuted its $25B Hudson Yards project on Manhattan’s West Side, bringing a multimillion-dollar development to L.A.’s buzziest neighborhood.

Standing more than 1,000 feet in the air, the glass-and-limestone tower is the tallest residential building in the Hudson Yards neighborhood.

Designed by Frank Gehry and slated to debut in 2021, The Grand sits across the street from the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall and just steps from the Arts District and Gallery Row. Like Hudson Yards, The Grand will fuse residential, commercial, and retail spaces, with 400 luxury residences in its 39-story high-rise; more than 176,000 square feet of retail space peppered with chef-driven restaurants; a collection of shops; a movie theater complex; the 20-story Equinox Hotel with 12,000 square feet of meeting rooms and facilities; and 27,000 square feet of lounges, restaurants, and outdoor amenities.

The $25B Hudson Yards development features a variety of restaurants and shops, including the city’s first Neiman Marcus.

While Manhattan’s West Side and Downtown L.A. each have their own perks and pitfalls, both are at the center of rapidly emerging markets. “We’re watching the West Side of Manhattan become a node of density in New York,” says Kenneth A. Himmel, president and CEO of Related Urban. “We created an incredibly dynamic submarket on the West Side of Manhattan. Downtown is the same thing—it’s its own submarket in Los Angeles.”

A plaza between the hotel and residential towers will regularly host outdoor music and art events open to the public. Additional elements, much like The Shed at Hudson Yards, aim to appeal to a broader swath of the population—those who may be priced out of the high-rise or the Equinox.

The 143 two-to-six-bedroom condominium residences starting on the 53rd floor start at $5M.

“I’ve spent years on this project making sure we have a balanced approach to all of our programming,” says Himmel. “The entire Grand Avenue project is a fraction of the size of Hudson Yards, yet it’s got very bold public programming elements to it—meaning just about everything we’re putting in the project is open to the public.”

The efforts toward accessibility will also be reflected in the variety of food options at The Grand. Himmel says there will be fine dining, casual dining, and quick-serve spots, and a market with locally sourced foods. “Because of the depth and breadth of programming we execute, we are going after multiple audiences. We don’t go after a single audience,” he says. To that end, 20 percent of The Grand’s residence tower will be devoted to lower-income tenants.

Hudson Yards sparked the West Side’s office space boom; Himmel points out that of the 9 million square feet of new office space brought to the area, 8 million of it was Related’s, which then spawned another 5 million to 6 million square feet of office space. Similarly, Downtown L.A. has been drawing offices full of younger workers looking to rent and buy apartments, eat, shop, and take in world-class events, years before The Grand broke ground.

A rendering of The Grand, related’s new mixed-use project in Downtown L.A., which features architecture by Frank Gehry and is slated for completion in 2021.

Downtown’s emerging young office market has led to the area’s high residential growth, spurred on by quality restaurants and retail. Plus, workers are looking to bring work and play closer together.

“There’s a tremendous amount of movement to downtown, partly because a lot of people are just tired of driving two hours everywhere they go,” Himmel says, also pointing to revitalized public transit lines in both locations, the 7 line in New York and the Metro in L.A., which will continue to bolster access to (and public interest in) each project.

“There’s a lot of good ingredients in Downtown Los Angeles, and it is coming alive.”