A BIG-CITY HEART BEATS AGAIN

Down­town Los An­ge­les is un­der­go­ing its largest con­struc­tion boom in mod­ern times, and for­eign in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially from Chi­nese devel­op­ers, is adding thou­sands of res­i­dences and con­struc­tion jobs, as well as restau­rants, re­tail stores and en­ter­tain­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WEEKEND LIFE -

It can be seen in the num­bers: At least 20 sky­scrapers are be­ing built; more than 5,000 con­dos are un­der con­struc­tion; and 46,000 new jobs are ex­pected from 2015 to 2020 in the hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism in­dus­try.

Down­town Los An­ge­les is un­der­go­ing a re­ju­ve­na­tion, and Chi­nese prop­erty devel­op­ers are play­ing a ma­jor role.

Not only is the new con­struc­tion re­shap­ing the city’s sky­line, it’s also re­defin­ing the ur­ban liv­ing style by cre­at­ing a vi­brant new shop­ping, din­ing and en­ter­tain­ment des­ti­na­tion.

The foot traf­fic in down­town Los An­ge­les is steady, young adults and fam­i­lies are opt­ing for an ur­ban life­style and new restau­rants, stores and en­ter­tain­ment venues are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the scene.

Five years ago, down­town Los An­ge­les was a place you didn’t want to go at night, said Robert, an Uber driver who gave only his first name. “It was empty at night and week­ends. Peo­ple didn’t re­ally live down here.”

Robert said he used to avoid driv­ing through the down­town area at night, but now he has many pas­sen­gers go­ing to down­town restau­rants and night­clubs. “It has to­tally changed face,” he said.

K. Allen An­der­son, se­nior vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel of Green­land USA, said, “Los An­ge­les down­town wasn’t at all the kind of down­town you see in other in­ter­na­tional cities, or even other ma­jor cities in the US.’’

Ex­o­dus to sub­urbs

“For var­i­ous rea­sons, cul­tural and land re­stric­tion rea­sons, for many years, build­ings could not be taller than the city hall, which is about 20-sto­ryies high,” he said. “So you never had the in­ner city growth.

Peo­ple grew out into the sub­urbs.” That started to change 15 years ago when the Sta­ples Cen­ter and Ritz Carl­ton and JW Marri- ot ho­tels came to Los An­ge­les, and “that’s been re­ally ac­cel­er­ated by Chi­nese devel­op­ers,” said An­der­son.

Now those devel­op­ers, such as Green­land, Ocean­wide, Shen­zhen Hazens and Li­fan, are pump­ing bil­lions of dol­lars into the city, adding thou­sands of new res­i­den­tial units in high-rise tow­ers.

Stephen Che­ung, pres­i­dent of World Trade Cen­ter Los An­ge­les, said Los An­ge­les is go­ing through a re­nais­sance that “we haven’t seen in decades”. “Look­ing at the pop­u­la­tion and the in­dus­try grow­ing, you start see­ing a new vibe that we haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore,” he added.

In the last 15 years, in­vest­ment in down­town has ex­ceeded $15 bil­lion, and the week­day pop­u­la­tion has ex­panded to more than 500,000.

More than 700 new restau­rants, bars, re­tail and night life venues opened from 2008 to 2014, ac­cord­ing to the Down­town Cen­ter Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict.

Chi­nese in­vest­ments start Green­land started the wave of Chi­nese in­vest­ment with a $150-mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of 2.6 hectares of land — a park­ing lot — in South Park in late 2013. Now that site is “Metropo­lis”, a high­rise tower com­plex.

With in­vest­ment ex­ceed­ing $1 bil­lion, the four-build­ing com­plex in­cludes an 18-story, 350-room ho­tel that opened on March 31, a 38-story res­i­den­tial tower with 308 con­dos that opened last month, and a 40-story tow-

LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Wu Chao (left), Los An­ge­les gen­eral man­ager of Green­land USA and Win­ston Yan, chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer of Green­land USA in Los An­ge­les at the amenity level of Tower I of Metropo­lis, with Tower III and Tower IV in the back­ground.

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