News for the Hospitality Executive
The Wilshire Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles to Be
Knocked Down; Korean Air
and Thomas Properties Group Plan a Billion Dollar Redevelopment of Site with
700 room Luxury Hotel, Office and Condominiums
LOS ANGELES - April 3, 2009 - Korean Air has retained Thomas Properties Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:TPGI) to develop a one billion dollar mixed-use redevelopment plan for the nearly three-acre Wilshire Grand Hotel and office site on the southwest corner of Wilshire and Figueroa in the heart of the city’s financial district. The proposal envisions a nearly two million-square-foot signature development adding new Class A offices, condominiums and hotel space to the city’s urban core.
The proposal is to replace the existing complex with two high-rise towers, totaling approximately 1,750,000 square feet: a 40-story tower featuring a luxury hotel of up to 700 rooms topped by several floors of condominiums, and a 1,150,000-square-foot, 60-story office tower, connected with plazas and open space, designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification standards.
"This exciting and bold new project is a major step forward in our efforts to add green, multi-use developments to the center of our city," Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Standing just a few blocks from Staples Center and L.A. Live, the Wilshire Grand redevelopment effort will help revitalize downtown, and we look forward to seeing this proposal proceed through the public review process and produce a new landmark that benefits Los Angeles, the community, and the local economy."
“Downtown is continuing to evolve and it is rewarding to see that our collective vision for the area is inspiring private owners to re-imagine properties and shape them in a way that further enhances our community,” said Councilmember Jan Perry.
“Thomas Properties Group has extensive experience with complex projects ranging from securing approvals through designing, developing and leasing. It is a highly regarded firm that has a long history in Los Angeles,” said Y. H. Cho, Korean Air’s Chairman and CEO. “They will immediately begin working with the community and the city to begin the approval process.”
Korean Air acquired the current Wilshire Grand Hotel in 1989 under the name of Hilton Hotel & Towers. The airline also owns three hotels in Korea and another in Hawaii.
“It is rare to have the opportunity to shape a new project on a full city block in the heart of a major metropolitan city center such as Los Angeles. With 2.7 acres, we can create a distinctive destination that is interconnected with the existing business, shopping and entertainment venues. As a property and business owner in downtown Los Angeles, we recognize the need for every development to enhance the walkability of our city and create a more vibrant street-level experience,” said James A. Thomas, Chairman and CEO, Thomas Properties Group. “Now is a good time to be working through the approvals of a new development. Together with Korean Air, we are looking to the future of this property and how it can better serve the community of Los Angeles.”
Thomas Properties Group purchased the nearby 2.7 million-square foot City National Plaza in 2003 and has completed a thorough restoration and repositioning of the iconic property. The firm is a leader in the management and development of sustainable and high-performance buildings.
A.C. Martin Partners are the architects designing the plans and buildings. Thomas Properties and A.C. Martin previously worked together on several projects including the CalEPA headquarters building in Sacramento that is the first LEED Platinum-certified high-rise in the United States.
Los Angeles has been the center of Korean Air’s operations in North and South America since its first transpacific flight in 1972. The airline now is the largest transpacific carrier out of LAX and operates 24 weekly flights between Los Angeles and Asia.
“Korean Air has a long and deep-rooted commitment to Los Angeles,” Cho said. “The Korean community here is the largest in the world outside of Seoul, and Korean Air is the largest transpacific carrier out of LAX. We have significant real estate holdings here and have a vested interest in Los Angeles' success.”
About Korean Air: Korean Air is a subsidiary of the Hanjin Group,
one of the world’s largest logistics companies. The airline operates almost
400 passenger flights per day to 116 cities in 39 countries and has 119
flights between the Americas and Asia each week. It is a founding member
of SkyTeam, the global airlines alliance - partnering Aeroflot, AeroMexico,
Air France, Alitalia, China Southern Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Continental
Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM and Northwest Airlines to provide customers
with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. More on Korean
Air's programs, routes, frequency and partners is available at www.koreanair.com.
Thomas Properties Group, Inc., based in Los Angeles, is a full-service real estate company that owns, acquires, develops and manages primarily office, as well as mixed-use and residential properties on a nationwide basis. The company’s primary areas of focus are the acquisition and ownership of premier properties, both on a consolidated basis and through its strategic joint ventures, property development and redevelopment, and property management activities. The company seeks to capitalize on opportunities for above-average risk-adjusted investment returns from real estate ownership, while managing the volatility associated with the real estate industry through joint-venture ownership structures. For more information on Thomas Properties Group, Inc., visit www.tpgre.com.
Statements made in this press release that are not historical
may contain forward-looking statements. Although Thomas Properties Group
believes the expectations reflected in any forward-looking statements are
based on reasonable assumptions, these statements are subject to numerous
risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from Thomas Properties Group's expectations include actual and
perceived trends in various national and economic conditions that affect
global and regional markets for commercial real estate services, including
interest rates, the availability of credit to finance commercial real estate
transactions, and the impact of tax laws affecting real estate. For a discussion
of some of the factors that may cause our results to differ from management's
expectations, see the information under the captions "Risk Factors" and
"Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results
of Operations - Factors That May Influence Future Results of Operations"
in our 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, and contained in our
reports on Form 10-Q for fiscal quarters during 2008, which have been filed
with the SEC. Thomas Properties Group disclaims any intention or obligation
to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result
of new information, future events or otherwise.