As we round out the second year of the pandemic, the days when dozens of high-rises sprouted simultaneously across L.A. are a thing of the past (for now). But it isn't all doom and gloom - projects big and small started work across the region this year. Here are five of the most interesting developments to push dirt in 2021 - which is the year's best?

The poll closes on Wednesday afternoon, so vote quickly!

Aerial view of the Intuit DomeLos Angeles Clippers

It's official: the Clippers are leaving Staples Cent...uh, I Arena

The Los Angeles Clippers, forever engaged in a Sisyphean campaign to emerge from the Lakers' shadow, are moving out. In September, the team broke ground on the Intuit Dome, a new arena which will serve as the centerpiece of a budding $1.2-billion sports and entertainment complex in Inglewood. Completion of the 18,000-seat venue is expected before the start of the 2024-2025 NBA season.

Rendered view looking southwest from Spring and CollegeLever Architecture

Mass timber starts to make its mark in L.A.

A concrete industry-backed consortium may be trying to prevent widespread adoption of mass timber construction in Los Angeles (and the state as a whole), but a handful of developers are already putting it to use. One such company, Santa Monica-based Redcar Properties, is employing cross-laminated timber in its new 120,000-square-foot office building now taking shape next to Chinatown Station. Other projects, such as Caltech's Resnick Pavilion, are also set to use cross-laminated timber for design elements - though we are still waiting for someone to take the plunge on a full mass timber high-rise.

View of the Weingart Center tower looking west from 6th StreetWeingart Center

Construction begins for L.A.'s largest supportive housing development

Downtown's only high-rise to break ground in 2021 sits far from the typical hubs of South Park and the Financial District. Weingart Center, along with its partner Chelsea Investment Corporation, began construction earlier this year on a $164-million, 19-story high-rise at 6th and San Pedro Streets that will feature 278 units of permanent supportive housing. The tower, which is the first of multiple buildings Weingart Center is planning near its Skid Row headquarters, is scheduled to open in late 2023.

Aerial view of Sankofa ParkPerkins and Will

Destination Crenshaw open space and public art project reshapes South L.A.

While a ceremony was held in 2020, work began in earnest this year for Destination Crenshaw, the 1.3-mile public art and open space corridor running parallel with the at-grade segment of the Crenshaw/LAX Line. A reaction to a controversial, cost-driven decision against running the light rail line as a subway in Hyde Park, the project has been been described as a way to turn "insult into opportunity," by turning the corresponding stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard into an art exhibition celebrating African-American culture in Los Angeles.

View of 96th Street Station from Aviation BoulevardGrimshaw Architects

$900-million LAX Metro Rail station starts work

A train ride to LAX has never been closer. Over the summer, Metro began the initial phases of construction of a $900-million transportation hub at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Streets, which will allow Crenshaw/LAX and C Line passengers to transfer to the airport's new automated people mover system. At least when both of them are open. The LAX connector is expected to start serving passengers in 2024.

Purple Line extension mapMetro

Phase three of the Purple (D) Line extension is under construction

It may seem like old hat to anyone who has taken a trip down Wilshire Boulevard over the past five years, but it was only this Spring that Metro formally kicked off the start of construction on the third and final phase of the Purple (D) Line's extension, which will push subway service west from Century City to a new stop at Wilshire/Westwood Station and a terminus at the VA campus just past the 405 Freeway. Phase three, which is scheduled to serve passengers in 2027, could play a key role in ferrying visitors around during the 2028 Summer Olympic games, and may even offer a connection to a long-discussed Sepulveda corridor rail line by that time.