City of Commerce has chosen the Trammell Crow Co. to redevelop the 35-acre landmark site of the former Uniroyal tire plant, vacant since 1978 and owned by the city since 1983.
The site, at 5635 Telegraph Road, alongside the Santa Ana (5) Freeway about six miles from downtown Los Angeles, is famous for its 1,700-foot-long Assyrian wall and facade, a replica of a palace for King Sargon II found during excavation of the ancient city of Khorsabad in present-day Iraq.
Valued at $80 million, the mixed-use development will be called The Citadel and will be carried out in two phases with restoration of the 1930-vintage facade, designed by architect Stiles O. Clements of Morgan, Wall & Clements, as part of the first phase.
January Construction Start
The initial phase will also include construction of a 10-story, 193-room Wyndham Garden Hotel, built by a subsidiary of Dallas-based Trammell Crow, according to Hayden C. Eaves III, area partner in charge of the firm's Los Angeles office.
Upon successful execution of its disposition-and-development agreement with the city, the company anticipates a January, 1988, construction start for The Citadel.
The architect is The Nadel Partnership of Santa Monica, with Randy Jones as project manager. Other members of the development team include general contractor HCB Contractors, with its western regional headquarters in Commerce, and the Peridian Group, Irvine-based landscape architect.
Jones developed a 1980 study for the city which proposed incorporating the distinctive facade and wall of the Uniroyal complex into a proposed exhibit center.
Exhibit Center Deleted
The Trammell Crow proposal has deleted the exhibit center and puts the emphasis on construction of about 233,000 square feet of office space, 138,000 square feet of retail space and 146,000 square feet of office/research and development space, according to David Armstrong, leasing agent for the firm.
The restoration/renovation would include converting the Uniroyal administration building into a museum that Trammell Crow would donate to the city. The design calls for removing the fourth and fifth floors and opening up the central areas of the second and third floors to create an atrium for exhibition of large items.
"In proposing the museum, we see it consolidating and displaying memorabilia from the city's past and becoming a focal point for the city," Eaves said. "Moreover, the museum is planned to be a central meeting place within the project and the city at large."
The focal point of The Citadel will be a central plaza, with the emphasis on creating a "people place," he added. The plaza will serve as an outdoor exhibition space, dining area and a distinctive location for civic gatherings. Existing trusses from the original building will be utilized, along with extensive water features and landscaping.
Eaves added that the hotel will create a local high-rise landmark "which will draw both the traveling public and the local business community, while adding to the plaza area as a support entity for community events and functions."
Dallas-based Trammell Crow is the largest landowner in the city, with about 380 acres. The focal point of the firm's involvement in the city is the $130-million, 45-acre Commerce Business Park, with more than 500,000 square feet of office and research-and-development space and more than 10 million square feet of distribution space, according to Armstrong.
The Commerce Business Park was redeveloped from the former U.S. Steel and Chrysler sites, Eaves said, stressing the experience his company has gained over the past 15 years in restoration and rehabilitation of aging buildings in City of Commerce.