By Michael Aushenker

Angels Landing is coming to Bunker Hill. The project, which will rise at 350 S. Grand Ave., will be comprised of two towers — one scaling 854 feet and the other 494 feet. The taller, 63-story tower will feature condos and a five-star hotel. The 42-story tower will have a lifestyle hotel and apartments for rent above it with hotel services and amenities. The plaza will be tiered with retail, restaurants and outdoor space.

The project is expected to create 8,300 new jobs during the construction phase, 500 permanent jobs from the hotels alone and 300 permanent jobs linked to retail and restaurants.

“Our goal is to have 30% of all of our contracts be by women- and minority-owned businesses,” said Don Peebles, whose Peebles Corp. is developing the project in collaboration with Victor MacFarlane’s MacFarlane Partners and Claridge Properties. The Business Journal spoke to Peebles about the ambitious $1.6 billion development.

Question: How and when did this project – a joint venture with MacFarlane Partners and Claridge Properties — come together?
Answer: We were sent an RFP (request for proposal) from the city and I knew Victor (MacFarlane) was working on a project right down the street and he would likely be interested in this. It didn’t make sense for us to compete against each other and collectively we were much stronger. We talked about a vision I had for the project. He shared it and so we agreed to pursue it. That would be early 2017. We won the rights in December 2017. We signed the exclusive rights (in early 2018) and then started working away on the entitlements.

Where is Angels Landing now in its development timeline?
We just got the entitlements in May. We are finishing up some documents with the city in regards to the sale of the site. We are going through the hotel incentive agreement with the city now. We are now beginning our next phase of the project, which is really the design and development. We’ll begin on construction documents so we can get the building ready to construct. That’ll take us another 18 months or so to get the building permitted. From there, we’re going to go forward and build it and get it open hopefully before the 2028 Olympics.

Can you talk about what Angels Landing will bring to downtown Los Angeles?
Downtown L.A. needs more hotels. The expansion of the Convention Center will generate a need for more hotel rooms, as will the Olympics. We think it would be a great opportunity to showcase a project like ours that meets a couple of key moments in the country. One is the economic inclusion of women and people of color, and also the recovery from the worst global pandemic in 100 years. Angels Landing will address those two moments and answer the question of how resilient Los Angeles’ economy is.

Can you discuss your concept of affirmative development and how it works?
We all recognize that in the business world providing fair access to economic opportunities is not solely a governmental function, it’s really a private-sector function. Businesses need to be more mindful of it and we’re hopefully going to set a good example of how to do that. We can operate from the perspective that there has been historic discrimination and impediments to women and African-Americans in this country. In order to right the balance, we can’t say we’re now in this meritocracy and let the chips fall where they may. We’ve got to take a more aggressive and affirmative step to open up the doors of opportunity for diverse groups.

Do you consider Angels Landing one of your most ambitious undertakings?
Yes, it will be our most ambitious undertaking to date… (Next is) Affirmation Tower in New York. That will be a $3.6 billion project and the tallest building in the Western hemisphere. That’s in the works. Angels Landing is much further along.

Credit: Los Angeles Business Journal