With a goal of completing the US$1.6 billion Angels Landing mixed-use development in downtown Los Angeles before the planned 2028 Olympics, developers Victor MacFarlane and Don Peebles recently received entitlements from the city to build a 63-story skyscraper and a 42-story high rise on what was formerly Angel Knoll Park. The project, with two planned, union-staffed luxury hotels, will be the third tallest in Los Angeles and the tallest in the U.S. created by Black developers.
Miami-based The Peebles Corp. and San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners have stated that at least 30% of the construction work will be awarded to women- and minority-owned businesses, which they value at more than US$480 million.
To complete the project that will include 180 condos, 252 apartments and various retail components, Angels Landing Partners still needs to complete the acquisition of the property from the successor of the city Community Redevelopment Agency. They are also negotiating for public subsidies, including tax-exempt bond financing and hotel development incentive agreements.
The site will also include Angels Landing Plaza, a pedestrian-centered and transit-adjacent urban park. It will frame the multi-level space as a publicly accessible and privately managed park amenity for the city’s downtown neighborhood residents, working professionals and weekday commuters, nightlife seekers, tourists, and hotel guests.
HOTELS recently reached out to Peebles to learn more about the groundbreaking project and how he and his partners plan to get it across the finish line.
HOTELS: Update us on the state of the development and its timing.
Don Peebles: The most recent timeline for the development of Angels Landing goes as follows:
- Option agreement deadline: December 31, 2022
- Land close deadline: December 31, 2022, per AB 1486.
- Final design and permitting: 12-24 months with start date TBD
- Construction duration: 44 months with start date TBD
- Grand opening: 2027 completion in time for the 2028 Olympics
- Entitlements completed as of February 2022: Project permit compliance, project permit adjustment for alternative design, CUPs for alcohol and entertainment, vesting tentative tract map
H: What further details can you share about the hotels? Have operators been named? Do you still envision a 4-star inn and a 5-star hotel?
DP: Angels Landing will bring two luxury lifestyle hotels to Downtown LA to rival those of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. As of now (mid-September), a hotel operator has not been named.
More than 300 workers will be employed in permanent and semi-permanent positions at Angels Landing’s two luxury hotels. The hotels will include 515 combined guest rooms, a quality restaurant, ballrooms, meeting rooms, fitness/spa, swimming pool, and sky lobbies.
Hotel Tower A will consist of a luxury 5-star hotel flag, 260 guest rooms and 13 floors. Hotel Tower B will consist of a 4-star hotel flag, 255 guest rooms, and 15 floors where hotel guests and residents will have access to an additional terrace on the second level. The buildings are being designed by Handel Architects.
At the base of the taller Tower A where the hotel is located, the exterior is expressed by an identical balcony design, creating a dialogue between the two structures. The second wall expression is predominantly present at the taller tower. This vertical design expression utilizes floor-to-ceiling glass and protruding vertical fins that appear to be seen as layered screens in front of a horizontal substructure to expose balconies at the corners of the floor plates. The materials that are intended for the exterior of the project will be of the highest quality and rich in nature. The palette and color scheme for the project comprise light and warm tones. We intend to use a warm limestone material for the podium and a champagne metallic finish for mullions along with a silvery tone for the window glass.
The smaller 42-story Tower B is transitional, designed to be in-between the scale of the lower neighboring buildings across 4th Street and the taller scale of the planned new development across Hill Street. The 42-story tower is visually expressed through strong horizontal banding. Above, the banding on the tower turns vertical by using protruding vertical fins that appear as layered screens in front of a horizontal substructure, exposing balconies at the corners of the floor plates.
H: What statement does this project make about the importance of minority development?
DP: The statement that Angels Landing makes about minority development is quite impactful. Angels Landing will reshape the real estate landscape with its commitment to Affirmative Development, a term I coined and the mission of my firm, to focus on bringing increased diversity, empowerment and inclusion to the cities and communities in which we build.
With a strong focus on economic inclusion, projects like Angels Landing will create these opportunities with good-paying jobs that help make the American dream accessible and equitable to all, especially those who historically have had to wait for equal employment opportunities.
The results of empowerment and economic inclusion from Angels Landing will impact an array of commercial businesses, including African American, Latino-and Asian-owned as the project raises the bar for economic inclusion for development projects in Los Angeles.
Angels Landing is the transformative culmination of Bunker Hill’s redevelopment that was begun in earnest in 1959. Angels Landing will provide a significant economic stimulus for downtown L.A. arts and cultural venues, such as MOCA, Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Broad Museum. The project will be the anchor development for Bunker Hill and California Plaza. With Angels Landing as an unmatched resource in downtown L.A. accommodations and hospitality, Bunker Hill will become a signature travel, tourism and convention destination.
H: What are currently the biggest challenges on the hotel development side, and what are the hotel demand expectations?
DP: With Los Angeles accounting for the fourth-highest number of bookings and major events, like the 2028 Olympics, drawing in an influx of outside visitors, hotels are in demand. Recent increased activity in Los Angeles Airports has also created a demand for surrounding hotels and will only continue to rise.
H: What are some of the noteworthy hotel amenities?
DP: Tower A features a 13-floor, 260-room luxury 5-star hotel, surpassing any current hotel property in downtown L.A. It will be combined with 180 condominiums on 32 upper floors, featuring a Sky Lounge and 60 rental apartments encompassing six floors.
With the finest of hotel amenities, retail stores and restaurants, Angels Landing will quickly become a destination for downtown L.A.’s social media influencers, and business and leisure travelers.
Tower B features a 15-floor, 255-room luxury 4-star hotel that will serve as a high-rise companion to Tower A highlighted by a spacious lobby, meeting rooms, ballrooms, retail stores and restaurants and a rooftop terrace. Eighteen floors will be devoted to 192 apartments. Residents will have access to the tower’s 42nd-floor terrace. Hotel guests and residents will have access to an additional terrace on Level 2.
H: What other hotel projects are Peebles and MacFarlane working on?
DP: The Peebles Corp. has worked on several hotel projects over the years such as The Bath Club and The Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach. Upcoming projects include the Brooklyn Village, Viola Back Bay and Affirmation Tower, which will include a 1,663-foot tower, two hotels, a public plaza, an entertainment center and a community cultural center headquartered by the NAAC.
The MacFarlane Partners has worked on two hotel projects throughout the years such as Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, sold in 2016, and Hotel & Residences at L.A. Live, sold in 2011.