27-story tower next to Eastern Columbia Building is one step closer to construction
Pedestrians in Downtown’s Historic Core hoping to know the time may soon have to consult a watch or cell phone; it looks like at least one side of the iconic Eastern Columbia clock tower is going to be blocked by a 27-story residential tower.
As Urbanize LA reports, the LA Department of City Planning has approved developer Trammell Crow Residential’s plan for the 305-unit structure known as the Alexan. That’s in spite of much protest from neighbors (many of them residents of the Eastern Columbia Building) who have argued that the project’s height and general appearance make it a bad fit for the neighborhood.
An organization called the Society for the Preservation of Downtown Los Angeles formed last year to oppose the development. In a blog post from September, SP-DTLA suggested the tower would threaten
“the historic integrity that is precisely what makes the Historic Core such a vital and important part not only of Los Angeles, but also of California.”
SP-DTLA and others complained vocally enough that the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council held off on approving the project when it was first presented in November. Since then, Trammell Crow has altered the project to better disguise four above-ground parking levels and conform more with surrounding structures. However, the tower will retain its massive height advantage over the Eastern Columbia Building next door.
Trammell Crow has been fighting hard for the project. A recent report from the City Ethics Commission shows the Texas-based developer spent more than $132,000 lobbying for the project in the first quarter of 2016, making it the fourth-most-lobbied project in LA.