Brookfield, the largest office landlord in Downtown Los Angeles, has started work on a residential high-rise next-door to the Figat7th shopping mall.

The 64-story building will rise from a long-empty site which sits between the sunken retail center and an adjacent parking garage.  Approved plans call for 784 apartments - including studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units - and parking for 831 vehicles.  Crews have already demolished a walkway which cut through the lot, and a grading permit was issued  for the project earlier this month.

Marmol Radziner and LARGE Architecture are designing the tower, which has been given the address 960 W. 7th Street.  It is portrayed as a slender high-rise building, featuring a rooftop observation deck, a podium-level pool deck, and other common open spaces.  Architectural plans indicate that the building would stand nearly 695 feet in height when measured from 8th Street.

The tower will connect integrate with Figat7th through the inclusion of 3,900 square feet of commercial space, which would be located on the mall's upper level.  The project will also create a direct pedestrian between Figat7th and 8th Street to the south, which is separated by a 36-foot elevation change.  Plans call for the construction of a staircase along the eastern footprint of the tower, and a small 1,350-square-foot retail space fronting 8th Street..

Although Brookfield initiated entitlements for the tower at 960 W. 7th Street less than two years ago, the project will represent the final build-out of a master-planned development dating to the 1980s.  While the other components of the master plan - including the shopping mall, the 777 Tower, and the Ernst & Young Plaza office tower - were completed by the 1990s, the tower site remained undeveloped.  Its previous owner, the developer Robert Maguire, had proposed to build a 50-story office building on the lot.

In addition to the residential tower, Brookfield is investing heavily in several of its other Downtown assets, including a $60-million remodel of the Wells Fargo Center's atrium and a $170-million makeover of California Market Center, which will add ground-floor retail and open space to the fortress-like property.

At a later date, Figat7th could be bookended by another high-rise apartment tower.  Developer Mitsui Fudosan America recently obtained approvals to construct a 41-story building on a parking lot on the opposite side of Figueroa Street from the shopping mall.  The project site is also flanked to the north and south by the Wilshire Grand and Metropolis.