Onni Group’s Massive Times Mirror Square Project Set for LA Council Vote

The Times Mirror Square complex will add 1,127 rental units and 307,300 square feet of modern office space across from City Hall

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Tower developer Onni Group is one big step closer to city approval for its massive Times Mirror Square project set for Downtown Los Angeles.

The 1.5 million-square-foot, mixed-use development adjacent to City Hall was unanimously approved by the City Council’s planning committee after a new architecture firm redesigned it, according to Urbanize. The complex will add 1,127 rental units and 307,300 square feet of modern office space, as well as a new 50,000-square-foot grocery store and 18,817-square-foot restaurant.

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Adding two towers to the city’s skyline, the project will span a full city block at Broadway, Spring, First, and Second streets at the former home of the Los Angeles Times. The project includes rehabilitating and restoring the historic Times, Plant and Mirror buildings, which will contain the new office space for rent.

Urbanize reported that Vancouver-based Onni Group tapped Chicago-based architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz to replace AC Martin on the project’s designs. 

The project faced several objections and opposition through the entitlement process, with community groups challenging the environmental study and the plan to replace historic structures. Opponents also raised concerns about campaign contributions made by Onni to support embattled ex-councilman Jose Huizar, who’s facing federal charges of bribery, extortion and money laundering in a far-reaching pay-for-play scheme. Onni has not been named in the case. 

Despite also taking a barrage of criticism over the previous “boring, boring, boring” designs and lack of affordable housing from the city’s Planning Commission, Onni Group gained that panel’s support after adding just 34 “middle-income” units to the project in July — equal to about 3 percent of the total rental units. On-site affordable housing is not required for approval.

Onni Group acquired the property in 2016 for $120 million.

Related California is currently leading the development wave downtown. The firm is building the $1 billion mixed-use complex called The Grand, which will include 436 luxury residences, a 309-room Equinox hotel, and retail space, which is set to open in 2022, across the street from the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall.