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LOS ANGELES-The Thomas Properties Group, which acquired the 2.7-million-sf Arco Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles earlier this year, has unveiled a $125-million plan to rehabilitate the office complex, which occupies an entire city block bounded by Figueroa, Flower, Fifth and Sixth streets.

The project is “aimed at returning the landmark office complex to its preeminent position in the city,” the Thomas announcement says. The company says the renovation program, starting immediately and taking about two years, will transform the public plaza at the Arco towers into a gathering place with restaurants and fountains featuring dancing waters and link the 52-story twin towers with laser beams, add state-of-the-art building systems and revitalize the retail portion.

Thomas, which purchased Arco Plaza in January, has assembled a team of architects, designers and artists led by Downtown Los Angeles-based David Martin of AC Martin Partners, the building’s original architect. Martin proposes a “cats cradle” of laser beams connecting the towers. The final laser design will be created by a renowned artist chosen through an international competition. Light also will be beamed from the tops of the towers.

Martin collaborated with landscape architect Laurie Olin of Philadelphia-based Olin Partnership to activate the central public plaza in the style of a European piazza. Plans include translucent canopies that cantilever from the towers to shade a host of tables and chairs that are flexible and movable to accommodate tenant events and public activities. The plaza fountain will be re-engineered as a dancing water display by WET Design, a San Fernando Valley-based designer of water attractions. WET Design also will design new fountains to be installed along Flower Street and water walls to be constructed at the rear of the plaza.

Thomas Properties hopes to encourage tenants to use the plaza as an informal outdoor workplace by installing wireless access to the Internet and adding cafes and restaurants. The lobby of each tower facing Fifth and Sixth streets will be converted into restaurant space with indoor and outdoor seating. The new look will also include new signs by Sussman/Prejza, an environmental design firm based in Los Angeles.

Changes at the two-floor, 160,000-sf underground retail venue at the development will compress it into one 80,000-sf floor and completely renovate it.

The Arco Plaza project was built in 1972-1973 as the world headquarters for Atlantic Richfield Co. and the Southern California headquarters of Bank of America. Thomas Properties Group and the California State Teachers Retirement System are the major investors in TPG Plaza Investments, the entity that owns Arco Plaza. Kings Capital, a privately held company managed by Picerne Investment Management Corp., is a member of the investor group.

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