Next week, the City Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the umpteenth proposal to modernize and expand the Los Angeles Convention Center. In the meantime, a staff report offers a look at new angles of the project, which will reportedly cost $500 million.
The expansion, which is being developed in partnership with AEG and Plenary Group, would add roughly 700,000 square feet of space in a new exhibition hall bridging over Pico Boulevard to connect the existing South and West Halls. The new construction, if completed, would represent a roughly 45 percent increase in the total size of the Convention Center, expanding its total size to 2.2 million square feet. Of that total, just over 1 million square feet would be exhibition space.
In addition to a larger footprint, the project would also include renovations of existing facilities - including the Concourse Building and South Hall - as well as the construction of a new West Hall lobby and the construction of a new parking garage at Bond Street.
Public realm improvements are also proposed as part of the Convention Center expansion, including upgrades to the segment of Pico Boulevard which bisects the Convention Center, including new lighting, wider sidewalks, bus and vehicle drop-off space, and potentially a mid-block crossing. Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, the center's current drop-off area, is expected to be renovated into a landscaped, park-like space.
Populous is designing the new exhibit hall, which would vary between 92 and 150 feet in height, matching the scale of the existing structures to the north and south. The centerpiece of the expansion is dubbed the "LA Skynode," which takes the form of a series of large light wells carved into the structure, providing natural lighting and serving as a point of circulation within the Convention Center.
"The largest of the three skynodes is designed as an extension of the Pico Passage," reads a design narrative. "Both day and night, natural and electrical lighting will be guided by the daylight-calibrated shape of the skynode volume onto the broad pedestrian walkway along the Pico entry. The color gold is strategically located around the Pico level to create a golden light - on the soffit, fascia, and the graphic tableau of the entry glass facade - extending onto the adjoining interior wall treatment of the skynode main entry. Public art opportunities exit on glazing, soffit surface, and interior walls at the entry level."
Los Angeles officials have sought to expand the Convention Center for more than a decade, first in concert with a never-built NFL stadium in 2011, and later as a standalone project in 2015. The current public-private partnership between AEG - owners and developers of Crypto.com Arena and LA Live - came about in 2016.
The project is being paired with an expansion of the neighboring J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotel complex, which features just over 1,000 guest rooms in a 54-story just north of the Convention Center. The expansion, which calls for the construction of a 37-story tower featuring 861 hotel rooms at the intersection of Chick Hearn Court and Georgia Street, would make the combined J.W. Marriot the second largest hotel in the state of California.
The Los Angeles Times reported in late January that AEG is looking to sell a stake in the property to finance the expansion, with the aim of breaking ground on the project within 12 months.
- Los Angeles Convention Center Archive (Urbanize LA)