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Promenade Complex Opens : Bunker Hill Buildings to Make Formal Debut

June 15, 1986|EVELYN De WOLFE

The formal grand opening of Promenade Towers, the first mixed-use apartment community in downtown Los Angeles and the area's first privately-owned residential rental complex, will be celebrated Monday with community leaders in attendance.

The $60-million complex at 123 S. Figueroa St., one block west of the Music Center, occupies an entire block on Bunker Hill and was designed as a self-contained environment where residents can live, work and shop. It encompasses 531 apartments in two high-rise towers and a four-story building. Another four-story structure contains 40,000 square feet of office space, and an additional 28,500 square feet of retail space is located at the corner of 2nd and Figueroa streets.

The nearly 850,000-square-foot complex is a part of the continuing Promenade developments jointly undertaken by Goldrich & Kest Industries, Culver City, and Shapell Industries, Beverly Hills.

Revival of Neighborhood

Those developments consist of the new Promenade Towers with apartments, retail and office space, the Promenade and Promenade West condominiums, and the $200-million, 972-unit Grande Promenade mixed-use apartment community, on which construction will begin in July, at the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and 3rd Street. The same developers are also partners in the nearby $1.2-billion California Plaza.

The emergence of this major downtown residential neighborhood signals a revival of the once thriving residential area on Bunker Hill established in the 1870s, according to Jona Goldrich, chief executive officer of Goldrich & Kest Industries. It was once the core of the city's urban-social activity until population movement westward finally led to its run-down condition by the end of World War II.

The all-encompassing term Promenade defines the pedestrian-oriented objectives of the new urban residential concept and what these modern developments are designed to do, Goldrich explained. "That is to get people to walk and shop and live comfortably on a 24-hour basis in downtown Los Angeles."

Already two-thirds of the Promenade Towers apartments are leased, at monthly rental rates ranging from $600 to $1,800, and 75% of the office space is filled. Commercial tenants include Daum/Johnston American, Far East National Bank and the city Department of Water and Power.

Services Provided

Promenade Towers will provide a broad spectrum of hotel-style services, such as dry cleaners, in-house health club and gymnasium, market, dentist, pharmacy, beauty parlor, cafe/restaurant.

The complex includes 24-hour switchboard and reception desk, 24-hour video newsletter, state-of-the art satellite television, valet parking, advanced electronic and guard surveillance and secured parking in a five-level garage.

Promenade Towers was designed by Kamnitzer & Cotton-Abraham Shapiro & Associates Architects and features two concrete split-level high-rise towers varying in height from 14 to 19 stories and utilizing double top floors, each stepped three stories.

All four buildings encircle a landscaped, dual-level courtyard containing outdoor dining areas and a cascading waterfall that ties to a large swimming pool, spa and sunning area at the center.

Redevelopment Agency

General contractor was Tutor-Saliba Corp., and Fong & Associates, the landscape architect. Construction started in 1984, and the first residents began moving into the first tower last October; the project was developed under a partnership arrangement with the city Community Redevelopment Agency in which the land was sold to the developers, while the CRA received 15% of the annual net cash flow.

There are 2,700 apartment and condominium units in the new Bunker Hill neighborhood, which dates its revived beginnings to 1965. These include the Bunker Hill Towers, opened in 1969, and Angeles Plaza, a subsidized housing complex for the elderly, opened in 1980. Another 1,750 units are planned for Grande Promenade and California Plaza, with final completion of these projects anticipated by the mid-1990s.

In addition to the infrastructure provided in the Promenade master plans, other attractions linked to the neighborhood include the Music Center complex, the Museum of Contemporary Art (opening in December), the Variety Arts Center, L. A. Theatre Center and a fourplex first-run movie theater at the Sheraton Grande Hotel.

Already a new wave of pioneer urban dwellers is becoming apparent--a mix of young executives, retirees, musicians, students and accountants and even a major league baseball personality--Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

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