You might not believe it with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, but winter is coming to Downtown Los Angeles. The surest sign is the return of a pair of holiday ice skating facilities. The L.A. Kings Holiday Ice Rink opened in Microsoft Square at L.A. Live on Saturday, Nov. 10, and will be open through Jan. 6. Admission to the rink, with a towering Christmas tree in the center, is $20 and includes skate rentals. Meanwhile, the Bai Holiday Ice Rink opens at Pershing Square on Thursday, Nov. 15. The rink will be open daily and skate sessions last an hour. The Pershing Square rink will be up through Jan. 21 and there will be special events including a silent skate party and DJ nights. Admission is $9 and skate rentals are $5.
There are a number of highlights at the festival, with the main event being the seated multi-course Masters Dinners, with four separate dinners with themes such as “Vegetable Masters,” “Spanish Masters” and, for the first time, an “All-Star Women” event with female chefs.
Looking for a more casual experience? Check out the Middle East Feast and the Grill & Chill, where you can explore a number of chef’s booths while eating their wares. Downtown L.A. is well-represented with the likes of Josef Centeno (PYT), Timothy Hollingsworth (Otium), and Alex Chang (The Exchange). There are also appearances from global stars including Gabrielle Hamilton and José Andrés.
The All-Star Chef Classic takes place in a specially designed venue on the top of an L.A. Live parking structure at 777 Chick Hearn Court. Tickets range in cost from $125 for the strolling events to $295 for the Masters dinners; both offer VIP packages at higher prices. More information is at allstarchefclassic.com.
DTLA – A pair of business entities in South Park are hoping to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to rename the Pico Station.
The South Park Business Improvement District has partnered with L.A. Live, operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group, to seek a rebranding of the station at 1236 S. Flower St., which services the Blue and Expo rail lines. The Metro board will hear the proposal in January, according to the BID. If approved, the station would be called L.A. Live/South Park.
BID Executive Director Ellen Riotto said the push has been in the works in recent years, as area stakeholders don’t find the current name descriptive enough, given Pico Boulevard’s stretch across Los Angeles. The South Park BID is seeking signatures in support of the name change.
The BID partnered with Metro earlier this year to upgrade the station with new lights, signage and fencing. It is close to many of the apartment and condominium projects that have opened in recent years in South Park. The station is frequently used by visitors to L.A. Live, Staples Center and the Convention Center.
DTLA – The massive Olympia project was proposed in December by the developer City Century, a subsidiary of China’s Shenglong Group. Situated near L.A. Live and Greenland USA’s Metropolis complex, it would have 65-, 53- and 43-story buildings, and would tower over the 110 Freeway.
An initial environmental study filed with the Department of City Planning reveals new details about the project, including that the developer is considering two different plans, one of which adds a hotel. The original Olympia plan envisions 1,367 residential units in the three towers, along with 40,000 square feet of commercial space. The new option would keep the original commercial components and the same design, but create 1,000 hotel rooms in addition to 879 residential units. It would also add to a swath of hotel construction already happening in the area near the Convention Center. A public meeting where community stakeholders can compare the two options takes place this Thursday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. at 1201 S. Grand Ave.
Yet another tower has been proposed for Downtown Los Angeles.
A group of investors are looking to build a 29-story residential building at 845 S. Olive St. The team members, under the name Heart Olive, acquired a pair of parking lots at the southern end of the Financial District.
Plans call for creating 205 apartments, with 47 studios, 111 one-bedroom and 47 two-bedroom units. Renderings from architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin show a parking podium between Grand Avenue and Olive Street, with a pool on the podium deck. The tower would rise on the eastern half of the lot.
“The tower is located at ground zero for where residents will want to live given the centrality and walking distance from L.A. Live, the Historic Core and the Financial District, not to mention being located across the street from Whole Foods, which in and of itself is a game-changing amenity,” said Cushman and Wakefield Executive Managing Director Mike Condon Jr., who represented the developers in acquiring both parcels.
The annual Holiday Ice Rink returned to Pershing Square on Nov. 10, and will remain open through Jan. 16, 2017. A second rink will debut at Microsoft Square in L.A. Live on Saturday, Nov. 26. Skating will continue through Jan. 7.
This marks the 19th year of the Pershing Square rink. It measures 130-by-60 feet, which makes it 20 feet longer than last year, according to Robert Keith of Willy Bietak Productions, which erects and operates the rink. Keith, who is also the rink’s general manager, said that the size increase allows the attraction to accommodate more guests.
Skating comes in the form of hour-long sessions, with general admission of $9 and skate rentals an additional $4. Through Dec. 15, the rink opens at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends, and skating continues through 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. From Dec. 16-31, daily hours are 10 a.m.-11 p.m. The rink will be open on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – It was big news when Chef Ben Ford’s Culver City gastropub Ford’s Filling Station closed after eight years. Ford’s eatery, however, is now the restaurant in the lobby of the J.W. Marriott hotel in L.A. Live, replacing L.A. Market.
Ford’s Filling Station quietly debuted on Wednesday, Dec. 3, and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours are 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., then 5:30-10 p.m. for dinner. There is also a weekend brunch from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
No matter when you dine, expect the same rustic American dishes that Ford built his name on; highlights included a smoked pork chop with a Brussels sprout and squash hash, pan seared halibut with artichokes, and braised beef cheeks with salsa verde.
Located at 900 W. Olympic Boulevard or www.lalive.com
Thus, in an effort to reward them for their patronage, AEG has launched the L.A. Live Downtown Preferred Loyalty Program. People can sign up online and receive a card that allows them to earn points for every dollar spent at L.A. Live restaurants. People also get points for following L.A. Live on Facebook or Twitter, and other social media sites. Members can redeem their points for popcorn, food, movie passes, gift cards and more. “People over the years have spent a lot of money and time coming to these attractions, and we thought it was a good idea to create a loyalty program,” said AEG spokesman Michael Roth. AEG is also launching Downtown Dark Nights beginning Aug. 22. The monthly event will allow loyalty program members to park for free and every restaurant at L.A. Live will have a $5 menu for food and drinks. Sign-ups for the program are at lalive.com/preferred.
The deal, which runs through the end of September, holds in Lot E, the underground structure with access on Olympic Boulevard, or Lot W, which is off Georgia Street just south of Olympic. The eateries at L.A. Live complex, including Smashburger, Yard House and Katsuya, will offer validation for free parking. Meanwhile, the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live is changing things up too: The 14-screen complex last week began offering seat reservations, instead of previous first-come-first-served seating policy. That means moviegoers can secure specific seats when buying tickets, whether at the box office or online. It also means customers can see how crowded a film is, and if they don’t like the choices, they can pick another showing.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – The empty lots around DTLA, especially Staples Center, are slowly transforming into sites for glossy high-rises, and the newest entrant has been revealed: A development with two condominium towers is proposed for the southeast corner of Figueroa and 12th streets.
The complex dubbed 1200 Fig is an attempt to activate a stretch of Figueroa Street that remains mostly quiet despite the presence across the street of L.A. Live, Staples Center and the LA Convention Center. The project is backed by a partnership of major LA landlord Jamison Services, Hankey Investment Company President W. Scott Dobbins and several other investors. The project, being designed by the firm Harley Ellis Devereaux, is in the entitlement phase. No budget or timeline has been revealed.
Initial plans call for two towers that would each be 35 stories tall. They would contain a total of 648 condominiums. The development would include a 90-foot-tall podium beneath the residences, with parking and 50,000-sq-ft of retail space. According to Harley Ellis Devereaux Principal Daniel Gehman, that space would largely house “sports themed” businesses catering to the crowds that descend on South Park for sporting events at Staples Center and L.A. Live. The podium also would feature a bight signage illuminating Figueroa Street, including the largest proposed LED light board in the city.
The design is partly inspired by the swooping architecture of Staples Center and is meant to compliment L.A. Live. “We want to take advantage of the panoramic views, so the curve of the towers is facing the skyline,” Benjamin noted.