Korean Air backs US$1 billion project in downtown LA

28 Mar 2010

Korean Air chairman Yang-Ho Cho has revealed in a town hall meeting with the Los Angeles business community the iconic Wilshire Grand Hotel, which the company owns, will be torn down to make way for a US$1 billion complex that includes a 560-room deluxe hotel and 65-storey office block.

This will bring the first new Class-A office building to the city centre in more than two decades.

The airline acquired the hotel in 2006 and planned to redevelop it until the management decided it would be better to design an entirely new and more competitive product, especially with the opening early next year of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels as part of the Los Angeles Convention Center-area hotel project. 

Chairman Cho said: “This hotel was built in 1952, opening as the Statler Hilton, and it has had a number of names since then. But for everything there is a season, and this grand hotel’s season has come to an end. The building’s infrastructure is obsolete and the rooms don’t work anymore.”

The development is expected to create 8,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs.

In a time when most airlines are cutting back on expansion, Cho said Korean Air chose to forge on with long-term business opportunities, including the Wileshire complex.

Korean Air and Los Angeles have ties that go a long way back, he added. The city was Korean Air’s first destination outside of Asia 40 years ago.

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Margie T Logarta

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