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LOS ANGELES-As a part of the massive revitalization effort sweeping Downtown, a master plan to develop a $1.8-billion mixed-use project was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority yesterday. The project, known as Grand Avenue, will incorporate 3.5 million sf over nine acres and will include high-density housing, a hotel, retail and a 16-acre park. “This plan achieves the many goals we set for this development. It will serve all Angelenos, with great public spaces and a mix of uses,” said Los Angeles County supervisor Gloria Molina.The project will be comprised of 400,000 sf of retail, a 275-room boutique hotel and approximately 2,600 residential units. Of the residential units, 20% of them will be reserved for median-income families. It is expected that once completed, Grand Avenue will generate 5,300 jobs plus $28 million in annual revenues for the city, county and state. “The opportunity to add this kind of center to the city is extremely exciting,” Mayor Jim Hahn said. “We need some place to have those great civic celebrations.”The master plan was created by the Related Cos., whose advance payment of $50 million on the 99-year base ground lease will fund the civic park. There will be no city or county general funds used for the project, as financing will rely on conventional real estate finance sources with a smaller amount of public support entirely from funds generated by the project. “I know that the hard work is coming” Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa said. “We have got to finance all of this, we have got to design it and put in all the bells and whistles that are going to make it the great project that it can and will be.”A 40-50-story tower at the corner of Second and Grand is planned to combine a boutique hotel of up to 275 rooms with 200 condominiums on the upper floors. At Olive and First Streets a 25- to 30-story residential tower will combine 150 market rate condominiums with 88 affordable apartments. These will buildings flank plazas and courtyards with outdoor seating and dining areas that will connect Grand Avenue to Hill Street. Construction is slated to begin by December 2006. Proponents agree the project will give help to give Downtown the city center it is lacking while serving as a base for cultural, arts and entertainment events. “I believe Grand Avenue is truly what Rockefeller Center is and Central Park is to New York,” said Eli Broad, chairman of the Grand Avenue Authority.

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