“Like a sunset” – developers propose Hollywood office tower with bold sculptural design

The developers will file an application with the city of Los Angeles on Thursday to build what they hope will be a visually stunning $ 500 million skyscraper on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood, called the Star.

The proposed 22-story glass office tower would create its own bubble-shaped world with garden levels open to the elements on the 10th and 17th floors and an enclosed landscaped roof with a restaurant, all served by a funicular that goes up and down. the sides of the tower.

It is a creation of MAD Architects, a Chinese architectural firm known for its bold designs such as the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, under construction near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which evokes the fantastic “Star Wars” empire of director George Lucas.

Architect Ma Yansong called the building’s winding shape “very sculptural,” reminiscent of a sunrise “or a sunset,” he said with a laugh. “It’s on Sunset Boulevard.”

The Star, he hopes, will become a landmark, “a new art form in the Hollywood neighborhood,” which is already so influential in the arts, he said.

Its design was inspired by the curvilinear shapes of existing local landmarks, including the Griffith Observatory, the Capitol Records building, the Hollywood Bowl and the Cinerama Dome, he said. “It affirms a new typology for the office of the future.

Hollywood has been one of the region’s strongest office markets, driven by demand from growing entertainment companies such as Netflix, which is Hollywood’s largest tenant and has leased other new buildings, including the Epic office tower on Sunset Boulevard and the recently completed On Vine complex on Vine. Street.

The developers are considering the 500,000 square foot building leased to a tenant in the entertainment industry, said Edgar Khalatian, a land use attorney who represents the Los Angeles limited liability company called Star, said. who bought the Sunset Boulevard site in 2017. The developers expect the city’s approval process to take around two years and construction to take an additional three years, he said.

The assembly of plots east of Gower Street now houses a series of low-rise office buildings, including a 1940s structure once occupied by Technicolor, and a parking lot. Netflix is ​​a tenant of existing buildings.

Star Limited Liability Company is a family partnership led by Maggie Gong Miracle, a Chinese-born investor and real estate agent who lives in Los Angeles. Funding for the project would be raised in the United States, Khalatian said.

A render of a garden for tenants on the 17th floor of the Star office building project in Hollywood.

(MAD Architects)

The development of the Star Tower must be approved by the city and would require a change in the general plan and a change of area, said Khalatian, partner of Mayer Brown. The scale of the development would be similar to what was previously approved at nearby Columbia Square, he said, which includes offices and a 20-story apartment tower built next to the historic old headquarters. Hollywood from CBS.

Entertainment giant ViacomCBS is a leading office tenant in Columbia Square. Across Sunset Boulevard and the Star Site is Sunset Gower Studios, a century-old movie studio that once housed Columbia Pictures and now includes an office building housing Technicolor. Across the street is also Emerson College, a building with remarkable architecture where students live and study the arts.

The Star would be flanked on Sunset by two less glamorous properties, the Hollywood Palms Inn & Suites motel and a mini-mall next to Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles comfort food restaurant.

The pandemic influenced the design of the Star, Yansong said, with an emphasis on ventilation, natural light and other features aimed at improving the physical, emotional and mental well-being of employees and achieving certification as the International Well Building Institute.

Priority is being given to four levels of foliage designed by Salt Landscape Architects, intended to “connect people to the healing nature of plants,” said Michelle Frier, senior partner at the Los Angeles-based firm.

In Yansong’s view, the foliage would be most imposing at ground level, with trees, ferns and grasses softening a slope from Sunset Boulevard to the base of the building, which would be surrounded by greenery.

The 10th floor garden would be more fragrant and colorful, with lavender, muhly rose, and other sweet herbs and plants swaying in the wind. The 17th-floor garden would be more “sculptural,” Frier said, with plants such as agaves and succulents. These two floors would be larger than average in area and height, with enough room for garden paths and places to sit.

The terrarium-shaped rooftop dome with the restaurant and event space is said to have vines and “airy, soft plants that play with the light passing through this dome,” Frier said.

The funicular that Yansong calls an aerial lift is said to have cars that can hold up to 30 people and can be opened to allow air circulation, he said. The building would also have interior elevators.

Hollywood office rents have steadily increased over the past five years, said Petra Durnin, head of market analysis at Raise Commercial Real Estate. Buildings that have more worker-friendly elements than what was common in 20th-century office towers will be the most competitive, said Durnin, who is not involved with the Star.

“Given the changing preferences of employees and the needs of employers to attract and retain benchmark talent, building new offices will have to be a different world than what exists today,” she said. “Just as retail has evolved in recent years and has become experiential in attracting consumers to physical locations, so too must the redesign of office space. “

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