The 73-storey Wilshire Grand Center had its grand opening in downtown Los Angeles recently, celebrating its status as the tallest building in the city as well as in the state of California.
Reportedly the 9th tallest building in America at 335 metres high, the eco-friendly skyscraper with a new InterContinental hotel as its anchor tenant was built with state-of-the-art technology and designed to withstand powerful earthquakes.
It was built at a cost of over over US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) by Korean Air at the former site of the historic Hotel Statler, which was built in the early 1950s and renamed a few times when it came under the management of the Hilton group. It was then renamed as Omni Los Angeles Hotel in 1995, and then, as the Wilshire Grand Hotel in 1999.
Among its guests in the past were US President John F. Kennedy and Pope John Paul II.
Korean Air hopes the new Wilshire Grand will become a popular landmark and icon of Los Angeles as it aims to inject more vibrancy to its downtown. Apart from luxury InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel taking up most of the floors, especially the higher ones, the building also houses retail units and offices.
Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air, said: "I have long dreamed of reinvesting in Los Angeles, my second home. We promised a world-class project and we delivered the crown jewel of Figueroa Street."