Authority Grants Extension to LA Mixed-Use Project

Rumors of The Related Cos.’ rejection have been greatly exaggerated. The word on the street this week has been that the developer behind the $3 billion Grand Avenue mixed-use project in Downtown Los Angeles was denied a requested eight-month construction start extension by the Grand Avenue Authority. But such is hardly the case. Early this week the Grand Avenue Authority, a board of local and state officials formed in 2003 to oversee the implementation of The Grand, granted Related a two-month extension, pushing the construction start date back from June 15 to August 15. Related is seeking the board’s approval for an eight-month extension to secure financing in time to kick off construction on February 15, 2009–and the Grand Avenue Authority is considering it. “A motion was made to extend to August 15 to gather more information and to make a decision on July 28 about February 15,” a spokesperson for Related told CPN today. “They just need more specific details on milestones; when construction papers will be 50 percent complete, 75 percent complete.” Like so many developers of mega-projects across the country, Related has been thrown off track by the very brutal lending market. “They were planning to do fast tracking; start construction while finishing construction documents, but you can’t do that during the credit crunch,” the spokesperson added. “You have to have all the papers together before you can get financing.” Flanked by Downtown landmarks the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Music Center, The Grand will ultimately encompass 3.6 million square feet of offerings. The project is designed to span three city blocks and include 2,600 residential units, retail space, entertainment venues and a hotel. The first phase of the three-phase development will consist of 1.3 million square feet and will cost $1 billion. The Grand Avenue Authority, the spokesperson noted, is still eager to move forward with The Grand, and Related is just as eager, having already invested $80 million; the company has also secured a $100 million investment from a Dubai-based fund for the project. Headquartered in New York City, Related is a developer, manager and financier of premier real estate properties. The company’s portfolio encompasses over $10 billion in developments.