Fabulous Finds: Skyline Luxury Anchors L.A.’s Newfound Downtown

By Roger Grody 

 

Los Angeles, for decades derided as a city without a viable downtown, has recently sprouted a vibrant city center, and no project better reflects the dynamic spirit of “DTLA” than Metropolis, a $1 billion mixed-use complex with hotel, shopping and residences developed by Greenland USA. Recently unveiled was The Penthouse Collection in the first of three planned residential towers, eight units capturing jetliner views through floor-to-ceiling windows.

 

“Greenland USA is delighted to unveil The Penthouse Collection, which offers residents the finest in luxury, high-rise living and access to top-tier services and amenities, says Chao Wu, Greenland’s General Manager, of the 39th floor residences. “Metropolis brings the excitement and vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles right to our residents’ front doors, redefining the standard of luxury urban living,” he adds.

 

With floorplans ranging from 1,735 to 3,534 square feet, these residences are among the only two-story penthouses in downtown L.A. and enhanced amenities include a dedicated concierge and elaborately appointed clubhouse. The Collection is consistent with the Metropolis project’s chic, modern minimalism, and Penthouse 3906 (3,500-plus square feet, priced at $6.388 million) features the imprint of interior designer Michael Erno of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. He wrapped the rooms in rich textures and a palette of shimmering greys, silvers and earth tones, creating an elegant, clean-lined environment that complements, rather than distracts from, the breathtaking views.

 

The penthouses, priced from $2.194 million to $6.388 million, are listed by James Harris & David Parnes (familiar faces from Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles) and The Agency Development Group, a premier Beverly Hills-based real estate firm. “The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis presents a unique opportunity for those seeking the finest in luxury living high above all Downtown Los Angeles has to offer,” states Harris.

 

 

www.metropolislosangeles.com

 

Photo courtesy of Metropolis 

Offering a one-stop shop for high-end design — architecture, landscape architecture and interior design services under a single roof on Los Angeles’ famed Miracle Mile — is Studio William Hefner.

The office’s location on this stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, lined by Art Deco masterpieces and many of the city’s museums, is clearly inspirational for designers.

 

Originally from Northern California, Hefner arrived in Los Angeles to earn a graduate degree in architecture from UCLA and founded his current practice in 1989. He oversees a highly collaborative staff of about 35 in L.A. and maintains a smaller office in the idyllic coastal community of Montecito, outside of Santa Barbara.

 

Hefner, who studied art history in college and appreciates a diversity of design, draws inspiration from landmark residences scattered throughout Southern California. He is appreciative of traditionalists like Wallace Neff and Paul Williams — their Mediterranean estates have long been popular with Hollywood celebrities — as well as Mid-Century Modern masters Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. As a result, Hefner’s practice encompasses a wide spectrum of architectural styles and his firm adapts to evolving preferences.

 

“In my practice, I try not to have a ‘signature’ style but strive toward quality design and execution in different genres, from very traditional to contemporary,” says Hefner, who reports about 60 percent of his current commissions are modern, a share that has doubled in the past decade. “Modern residential architecture has come in and out of style over the past 30 years but is finally becoming more of a lifestyle, not just a fashion or trend,” says Hefner, who adds, “I think it’s here to stay.” In Los Angeles — where so many high-end homes are in the hills or along the coast — modern design maximizes views and suits the region’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle. 

Commissioned to design a massive residence on 10 precious acres in L.A.’s opulent Bel-Air neighborhood, Hefner created a formidable French-style estate known as Château des Fleurs. The client’s original inspiration was the majestic Hôtel du Cap on France’s Côte d’Azur, and Hefner conducted extensive research in Paris, Versailles and the Loire Valley to ensure that every detail was authentic. “We wanted to make sure each room was special and unique,” explains Hefner of the house, which has 31 bathrooms. Despite the scale of the project, the architect took care to create intimate, family-friendly spaces throughout the home in addition to grand rooms for entertainment.

 

When the 60,000-square-foot residence was completed in 2013 after five years of construction, it was the largest home in a city famous for conspicuous consumption. In his lavishly illustrated book Château des Fleurs (Pointed Leaf Press, 2016), Hefner explains a progressive approach to classic French design. “The balance of this house was to create a powerfully simple structure that would feel timeless and not imitative, while inviting an Old World opulence to the fit and finish of the architecture in a way that would be both decorative and something more: modern,” he writes.

Another more classically inspired design from Hefner is an oceanfront home in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades, a celebrity-favored enclave with a rich architectural history. This home features an Italianate design, dazzling spiral staircase and lush landscaping. In the very same community, in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, Hefner authored a sprawling modern residence in which the floorplan was meticulously oriented to ensure optimal views from every room.

An approximately 7,000-square-foot home in Beverly Hills’ coveted Trousdale Estates is one of Studio William Hefner’s most notable expressions of modernism. Reminiscent of L.A.’s influential Case Study Houses from prominent Mid-Century Modern architects, it was commissioned for a client with an extraordinary modern art collection. “Accommodating art is always a challenge in a view house,” says Hefner, who notes the requisite expanses of glass tend to limit available wall space.

In suburban Sierra Madre, a considerably more rustic community than Beverly Hills, Hefner created a thoroughly contemporary residence in an environment where Craftsman bungalows and Spanish Revival homes are the prevailing architecture. But through a generous use of stone and wood, he was able to infuse the property with considerable warmth, softening the impact of its modernist theme. 

“My philosophy, in both traditional and modern homes, is to introduce spaces for indoor-outdoor living, which is a reason we offer landscape architecture among our services,” says Hefner. “In Southern California, the entire site becomes a living space, with large patios, covered outdoor living areas and landscaped courtyards that people can use throughout the year,” he explains. In Hefner-designed landscape design  projects, swimming pools often double as reflecting pools, fountain-laden patios  assume the serenity of Zen gardens and cacti provide a compelling complement to austere clean-lined structures.

Like New York’s idiosyncratic Peter Marino, a talent he admires, Hefner is an architect who has expanded his practice to incorporate interior design. “I always had a strong interest in interiors and was disappointed when some of my early projects were not finished the way I had envisioned them, so I began designing interiors myself,” recounts Hefner. Now heading up the interior specialty at the firm is his wife, accomplished designer Kazuko Hoshino, and the firm produces custom-made furniture and accessories that enhance the interiors she creates.

Among Studio William Hefner’s custom-made products are the Infinity console, a plane of wood supported by two circular bands of steel, and the strikingly contemporary Halo mirror with its echoes of Mid-Century Modernism. Featuring a modern simplicity are the Capri lounge chair and distinctive Willow nightstand. Even the most contemporary of these pieces can complement vintage architectural settings, as Hefner and Hoshino have demonstrated in their own 1920s residence in L.A.’s fashionable Hancock Park neighborhood.

Before Hefner founded his own company, he worked for Skidmore Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s largest and most influential architecture firms, designing high-rise commercial buildings. “It was difficult to establish a personal connection with the ultimate users of the spaces,” laments Hefner, who appreciates residential design because of the more intimate relationship it forges between architect and client. Hefner encourages clients to fully participate in the design process, stating, “I think we do a better job when they’re more involved.”

The firm’s projects continue to be concentrated in Southern California, where Hefner believes the Mediterranean climate and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle it encourages affords him a genuine freedom of creativity. However, Studio William Hefner has designed residences in countries as disparate as South Korea, Turkey and Israel, and is currently undertaking projects in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Photos courtesy of Laura Hull, James Ray Spahn, and Tyler William Parker

Celebrity brokers co-list eight Los Angeles penthouses with The Agency Development Group.

The collection is comprised of four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom residences that range in size from 1,735 square feet to 3,534 square feet with pricing starting at $2.194 million and ranging up to $6.388 million. The residences are well-appointed with expansive floor plans that capture fine sky-high views of LA through floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Greenland USA is delighted to unveil The Penthouse Collection, which will offer residents the finest in luxury, high-rise living and access to top-tier services and amenities,” said Chao Wu, general manager of Greenland USA, Los Angeles. “Located conveniently between Los Angeles’ financial district to the north and the entertainment district to the south, Metropolis brings the excitement and vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles right to our residents’ front doors, redefining the standard of luxury, urban living.”
Penthouse 3906 was exquisitely envisioned by Michael Erno of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Erno chose pieces that create an elevated sense of calm as one enters the first-floor living area and transitions upstairs to the bedrooms. He used a glamorous palette of shimmery greys, silvers, neutral tones and a myriad of textures to complement the opulent nature of Metropolis while not detracting from the remarkable jetliner views.

Residents will have access to a 24/7 Lobby Attendant and Dedicated Concierge, Met Six Residence Clubhouse with indoor lounge and chef’s kitchen, resort pool with a Jacuzzi, cabanas and lounge, billiard and game rooms, screening room, meditation garden and a dog park with a bathing station.
“It is exciting to see how the Downtown Los Angeles market has grown over the years and how the demand for high-end product is at an all-time high,” adds Parnes. “With unparalleled amenities and services, Metropolis is among the most sought-after properties in Los Angeles, and we are excited to be a part of this new chapter of the Downtown real estate market.”

Metropolis Los Angeles, developed by Greenland USA, has unveiled The Penthouse Collection, listed by Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles’ James Harris and David Parnes and The Agency Development Group. The unveiling of The Penthouse Collection comes on the heels of the sales success at Tower 1 and the launch of sales for Tower 2.
Among the only two-story penthouses in Downtown Los Angeles, The Penthouse Collection is located atop Tower 1 and features eight residences, with one residence envisioned by the award-winning Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams interior design firm.

“The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis presents a unique opportunity for those seeking the finest in luxury living high above all Downtown Los Angeles has to offer,” said Harris. “These penthouses will raise the bar of luxury living in Downtown Los Angeles, and we are honored to be bringing them to market along with The Agency Development Group.”

Tower 2, which will feature an incredible 3.5-acre amenity deck, will soon launch as well. 

Photos courtesy of Metropolis

Pacific Union International, the West Coast’s leading luxury real estate brand and the eighth-largest real estate brokerage in the U.S., has announced its brand launch in the Los Angeles market. The move into Southern California marks Pacific Union’s largest expansion yet and unites a founding team of more than 900 real estate professionals from three of Los Angeles’ most powerful independent luxury brokerages — John Aaroe Group, Partners Trust, and Gibson International — under the Pacific Union International brand.
Nick Segal, former CEO and founder of Partners Trust, will lead Southern California as president of Pacific Union LA, overseeing 20 offices across the greater Los Angeles market.
“This dream team of 900 real estate professionals sharing core values and a commitment to teamwork, trust, and innovation will provide the absolute best client experience possible,” Segal says, “and we now all proudly share the same company name, Pacific Union International.”

Pacific Union International, the West Coast’s leading luxury real estate brand and the eighth-largest real estate brokerage in the U.S., has announced its brand launch in the Los Angeles market. The move into Southern California marks Pacific Union’s largest expansion yet and unites a founding team of more than 900 real estate professionals from three of Los Angeles’ most powerful independent luxury brokerages — John Aaroe Group, Partners Trust, and Gibson International — under the Pacific Union International brand.
Nick Segal, former CEO and founder of Partners Trust, will lead Southern California as president of Pacific Union LA, overseeing 20 offices across the greater Los Angeles market.
“This dream team of 900 real estate professionals sharing core values and a commitment to teamwork, trust, and innovation will provide the absolute best client experience possible,” Segal says, “and we now all proudly share the same company name, Pacific Union International.”
Pacific Union now has more than 1,700 real estate professionals across 51 offices throughout Northern and Southern California, projecting sales volume of $18 billion in 2018. In 2017, Pacific Union became the leading independent real estate brokerage in California, the result of two years of aggressive growth uniting five powerhouse firms, and it is now the top independent brokerage in Los Angeles. The brokerage’s Southern California markets include Beverly Hills, Malibu, Downtown, the Westside, Northeast LA, and the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. Northern California markets include San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, Napa, Sonoma counties, Silicon Valley and the Lake Tahoe region.

“Pacific Union’s launch in Los Angeles is a truly historic move that unites LA’s most esteemed and highest-producing real estate professionals under one name with best-in-class technology, marketing, data and research.” — Nick Segal

Mark A. McLaughlin (left) and Nick Segal (right)

“The fact that three firms with shared cultures also believed in our Vision 2020 will have an unprecedented impact on the Southern California real estate market.” — Mark A. McLaughlin

“In the fourth quarter of 2015, Pacific Union established its Vision 2020 to expand beyond the San Francisco Bay Area,” Pacific Union CEO Mark A. McLaughlin says. “Our offering in mergers and acquisitions is based on a shared value system, deep investments in technology, a core principle of managing to the top, and developing programs, tools and resources for our finest professionals. When top performers embrace those programs, tools and resources, our entire organization gets a lift.”
One of those unique resources is Pacific Union’s in-house Chief Economist Selma Hepp, a nationally recognized leader who delivers in-depth analyses of economic trends in real estate. Southern California real estate professionals have access to Hepp’s timely intelligence, which delivers powerful information for Los Angeles and Bay Area housing markets.
Collectively, Pacific Union’s real estate professionals in Los Angeles closed more than $6.8 billion in real estate sales in 2017 and hold citywide record sales, including the highest sale in Beverly Hills, the second-highest sale in history of Malibu’s Carbon Beach and the highest sale in La Canada Flintridge.
To initiate the brand’s introduction to the marketplace, Pacific Union launched a $1 million integrated multimedia campaign titled “Watch What We Do Next” in early January. PacificUnionla.com is also showcasing luxury real estate listings along with real-time market data by neighborhood and suggestive search.

Photos Courtesy of PacificUnionLA.com

InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown leads the way as the new architectural icon of luxury hospitality.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, proudly announces the opening of the InterContinental® Los Angeles Downtown hotel. As the tallest building west of Chicago, the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel forever elevates the Los Angeles skyline at 1,100 feet and 73 stories.
The InterContinental hotel is part of the billion-dollar Wilshire Grand Center in the epicenter of downtown Los Angeles’ historic financial and arts district, and is mere blocks from the Staples Center and L.A. Live. The flagship property is part of IHG’s westward expansion and overall growth across the portfolio as the largest InterContinental property in the Americas. Eight hundred and eighty-nine elegant guest rooms stretch from the 31st floor to Los Angeles’ first sky lobby on the 70th floor, offering guests a new perspective of the city as they check-in.
“This is a historic moment for the InterContinental brand as we open the largest hotel in the Americas region and redefine the Los Angeles skyline, brought to life through our partnership with Korean Air and Hanjin International Corporation on this new marquee hotel,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group, The Americas.
Sophisticated and metropolitan, the InterContinental hotel was designed to capture the Southern California lifestyle at its finest for travelers and locals alike. With a colorful rooftop showcasing spectacular city views and a 3-story light sculpture of L.A.’s infamous freeways in the sky lobby, the property brings the indoor/outdoor lifestyle to life while drawing design inspiration from the city’s car culture and urban scene, foothills and classic beach towns. The InterContinental hotel is the first LEED Gold-Certified building for design and construction in downtown, with every aspect designed to lead environmental stewardship without detracting from a luxury guest experience.
Keeping the sunny climate in mind, the InterContinental hotel features almost 95,000 square feet of state-of-the-art technologically advanced event, meeting, conference and banquet space, both indoor and outdoor space with a 21,000-square-foot, elegant Grand Ballroom and 33 meeting rooms.
The signature Club InterContinental Lounge offers premium service and thoughtful amenities, like priority check-in. All 109 suites feature comfortable living areas, complete in-room entertainment systems and exclusive Le Labo amenities, in addition to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The coveted 2,500-square-foot presidential suite features a relaxing lounge area complete with a spacious dining room, piano, kitchenette, walk-in closets and luxurious soaking tub with city views.
General Manager Jean-Jacques Reibel said, “We set out to create a hotel that not only would forever change the skyline of Los Angeles, but where service and high-design are integral to every luxury guest room, restaurant and amenity. As such, our commitment is that the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel exceeds well beyond our guest’s expectations.”
Guests have five dining experiences and culinary outlets to choose from on property. The Lobby Vodka Bar & Lounge has L.A. modern glamour and provides updated classics in both cocktails and the famed Lobby Burger. The journey continues to Sora on the 69th floor, with a made-to-order omakase or fresh-cut sushi on a conveyor belt, accompanied by imported Japanese whiskey. Dekkadance is an all-day destination also on the 69th, where guests can choose from delicacies and live-action cooking with Neapolitan pizzas, carving stations and baked goods in an international format.
La Boucherie located on the 71st floor is an opulent high-end steakhouse where California meets French cuisine, with private dining booths for special occasions. There is also a wine tunnel with 1,200 labels to complement steaks sourced from around the globe. Dining options top out at Spire 73, where guests can experience the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere on the 73rd floor with unparalleled 360-degree views of the cityscape and skyline with fire pits, fountains and innovative cocktails.
The hotel, located at 900 Wilshire Boulevard, is owned by Hanjin Group and managed by IHG. The InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand is part of IHG’s diverse family of brands in nearly 100 countries and territories. The scale and diversity of the IHG family of brands means that its hotels can meet guests’ needs whatever the occasion — whether an overnight getaway, a business trip or a family celebration.

Photos courtesy InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown

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