Developer Korean Airlines has unveiled the AC Martin designed Wilshire Grand tower at Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street in LA’s financial district. The new tower will be 73 stories tall and the tallest building west of Chicago, a distinction currently held by LA’s US Bank Tower (Library Tower). The $1 billion project will dramatically alter the city skyline at 1,100 feet in height. It will be capped off with a sail-shaped architectural feature illuminated with LED lighting.

Wilshire Grande Tower - AC MartinA 4 star, 900-room hotel will occupy the building’s upper floors. Beneath it will be 400,000 square feet of office space and at street level there will be retail and restaurants. LA’s busiest subway station, the 7th/Metro, is located across the street.

According to the developer, the hotel will set a new standard in design, luxury, and hospitality and a sky lobby on the 70th floor will provide glamorous, upscale rooftop dining and views.

City rules require that every tower in Los Angeles include a helicopter pad, but AC Martin’s design appears to stray from that rule. It has been reported that the architect worked closely with the LA Fire Department to obtain approval for the unique roof design. A major factor contributing to the approval is a concrete-reinforced “hardened” elevator shaft which will allow the elevators to function during a fire evacuation.

The building is being developed by Korean Air, a subsidiary of Hanjin International. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2013, after the demolition of the old 15-story Wilshire Grand. The new tower is expected to open in December 2016.

Rendering courtesy of AC Martin