Downtown's forest of dramatic skyscrapers will soon have a new neighbor--a quiet, little bonsai of a building.
Ground will be broken Tuesday on a $5-million, three-story office building on the former site of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, 730 S. Hope St. The church was damaged by the 1971 earthquake and was eventually razed.
Completion of the building is scheduled in 18 months. The project will also mark the return to a downtown site by the 83-year-old R. A. Rowan & Co. real estate firm. Rowan will develop the property under a 45-year ground lease from the church.
The 25,000-square-foot building will be located next to the existing Christian Science reading room that now shares space with the church. The reading room will be improved as part of the project, according to the architect, James Stafford of Stafford & Associates, Los Angeles.
The reading room building will get enhanced heating and air conditioning and additional offices and nursery space.
The Rowan company was headquartered downtown until 1950, when it moved to Pasadena.
"We've been away for too long," observed company President Robert A. Rowan III.
In 1904, Rowan's grandfather began the firm in an office at 4th and Main streets.
The new building will feature subterranean valet parking. Construction will include a steel frame, steel-reinforced brick and glass exterior with copper cladding on the roof and on exterior detailing.
Rowan said, "We're particularly concerned about the quietness of our building, which will likely be shared with small, service tenants, such as accountants and lawyers."
To help keep a proper quiet level in the building, it will be extensively insulated and machinery will be kept off the roof.
Offices will include floor-to-ceiling, tenant-operated windows and heating and air conditioning as well as wood-burning fireplaces.
The new building will also contain a central court, which, Stafford said, would be unusual for the central business district.
The architect added that "the court's reflecting pool and water wall, complemented by the arched motif of the reading room and office building, will create a cloistered environment conducive to work and contemplation."
Rowan Projects Inc. is the contractor and developer. The Rowan Group will occupy the first and second floors and will offer the third and penthouse floors for lease through its commercial real estate division.
The building will be managed by its property management division and will be maintained by its new subsidiary, Rowan Services Inc.