More than six years after it was first proposed, an Arts District office complex pitched by Legendary Development has taken a key step toward approval, gaining the support of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.

The project, approved by the Commission at its meeting on October 12, would rise from a property at 405 S. Hewitt Street which was once the home of the A + D Museum. Originally envisioned as an 11-story structure, the development was revised in mid-2022 to call for the construction of an 18-story structure which would feature approximately 308,000 square feet of offices, 8,100 square feet of ground-floor restaurant space, and outdoor patios and terrace decks which would provide open space for tenants and the general public. Parking for 660 vehicles would be provided within three subterranean levels and a four-story podium at the base of the tower.

View from Hewitt StreetGensler

Gensler is designing the tower, previously named "Above," which would rise to a peak height of 297 feet above street level.

A staff report notes that the project's design pays homage to the Arts District's "utilitarian style," with a podium designed to resemble surrounding warehouses, with an exterior of concrete adorned with murals. Its upper floors would transition to a contemporary office tower, with a glass exterior and sliding panels that create indoor-outdoor spaces. Plans also call for a 3,500-square-foot courtyard at street level, which would provide pedestrian access to the building via Colyton Street and Hewitt Street.

In addition to entitlements such as a zone change and a general plan amendment, the project also went before the Planning Commission to address an appeal filed by SAFER, an affiliate of Laborers International Union of North America Local 270 (LIUNA), which contends that the project may have unanticipated impacts which have not been captured in its environmental impact report. A staff report recommended rejection of appeal, finding that evidence did not support its claims.

View from ColytonGensler

The tower, at the time the updated design was announced, was expected to begin construction in mid-2023 and open by 2026. However, the project hast yet to complete its entitlement process - the tower must also receive the approval of the City Council.

Although the overall Downtown office market has struggled, the Arts District has emerged as a bright spot in recent years thanks to companies such as  Spotify, Honey, and Warner Music Group which have set up shop nearby. That has prompted plans for large projects which could bring more commercial space to the neighborhood, including the 35-story Alloy development now rising at 520 Mateo Street and a proposed project from Onni Group.

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