It's official - the wrecking ball has arrived at the LACMA campus.

At the beginning of April, the museum kicked off "hard demolition," at the campus, razing three of its original William Pereira-designed buildings to make way for a controversial redesign spanning Wilshire Boulevard.  The new construction, designed by architect Peter Zumthor, would stand two stories and contain approximately 350,000 square feet of floor area.

Construction is expected to occur over approximately 51 months, with completion scheduled to occur in 2023.

According to a notice distributed by the museum last week, LACMA has reached $650 million in pledged funds for the Zumthor building - roughly 90 percent of the total campaign goal.  The project is anticipated to generate 4,000 jobs during its construction period.

The project's general contractor, Clark Construction, began internal demolition and abatement in January.  Crews are required to observe new safety regulations in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the museum.

Though LACMA's plan has enjoyed the support of local elected officials, the Zumthor building's growing price tag and shrinking footprint has led to calls for the project's cancellation.  The estimated price tag for the new facility is now $750 million as of late 2019, and the finished product will have less space than the Pereira and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer buildings it is slated to replace.

Behind the scenes, some have asserted that the true cost of the Zumthor building may even greater than previously reported.  An e-mail published by the L.A. Review of Books shows that in January 2018, Los Angeles County officials were informed that the total cost of the Zumthor building could range as high as $900 million.

Controversial as it may be, the revamp of LACMA is but one major project now in progress in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood.  To the west, completion is nearing for the approximately $400-million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, while to the east, Los Angeles County is planning an ambitious redesign of the La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum.

Below the ground, construction is also in progress for Metro's Purple Line subway extension, which will eventually connect the Mid-Wilshire community to Downtown, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood.