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LOS ANGELES-The Related Cos. of New York City has started construction on the first phase of the $3 billion, 3.6-million-sf mixed use development called “the Grand,” designed by architect Frank Gehry. Spanning three city blocks, the Downtown Los Angeles project is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

Phase one of the development will occupy a full city block bordered by Grand Avenue, Olive, First and Second streets. It will total 1.3 million sf and will feature a mix of hotel and residential towers, retail, restaurants, entertainment/nightlife, and public amenities.

The first phase of the development will include demolition of a parking garage at Grand Avenue and First Street beginning in February 2008 following remedial site work. Phase one of the project will also transform the existing County Mall to a new, 16-acre civic park in a portion of the development slated to begin next fall.

The architectural centerpiece of the Grand will be a 48-story tower at Second Street and Grand Avenue, including a 295-key Mandarin Oriental Hotel with 266 for-sale luxury residences. Designed by Gehry, the Mandarin will be similar to the AAA, Five-Diamond hotel in New York City at Related’s Time Warner Center.

At First and Olive Streets, a 19-story Gehry-designed residential tower will combine 126 market rate condominiums and 98 units of affordable housing. Other elements will include a 250,000-sf retail pavilion planned for boutiques, restaurants and other tenants.

The new 16-acre civic park will feature terraces, lawns, gardens and plazas that will become the centerpiece of the Grand’s landscaped public spaces. The construction schedule calls for it to be completed and opened in late 2010. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and retail pavilion are slated for opening in early 2001, with the residential towers scheduled for a summer 2011 opening.

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