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LOS ANGELES-The Grand Avenue Committee has granted developer Related Cos. of New York City a delay until August on the start of construction for the $3 billion “the Grand” development in Downtown L.A. In light of changing capital market conditions, Related had asked for a delay until February to start construction of the 3.6-million-sf project, and it’s still possible that the committee could vote to further delay construction of the giant mixed-use project when the panel meets again in July.

The Grand, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is slated to span three city blocks and would be one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. 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 residential tower designed by Gehry 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.

Other elements of the Grand will include a new 16-acre civic park with terraces, lawns, gardens and plazas that will become the centerpiece of the Grand’s landscaped public spaces. The construction schedule originally called for it to be completed and opened in late 2010. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and retail pavilion were slated for opening in early 2010, with the residential towers scheduled for a summer 2011 opening. How those schedules may or may not be affected by the delayed start of construction has yet to be announced.

The Grand Avenue Committee acts under the direction of the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority, a joint powers body including representatives from the city, the county and the state. The authority is charged with implementing the plan for remaking Grand Avenue via a public/private partnership to develop the four downtown parcels where the development is planned.

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