Planes, cranes and change


Korean Air Chairman Yang-Ho Cho announced today that $1 billion will be invested to redevelop the Wilshire Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Cho, who owns the hotel, said this will be a massive endeavor to reinvent an iconic building that will redefine LA’s skyline. The building will include a 560-room luxury hotel and a 65-story office tower.

The project will add more than 12,000 jobs to a city struggling with record unemployment and bring the first new Class-A office building to downtown LA in more than two decades.

“Challenges are opportunities for growth, and hard times are the best times for investment,” Cho told more than 200 business leaders today at a Town Hall Los Angeles event. “We’re in the middle of an exciting, emerging downtown.”

Cho, a University of Southern California alumnus and board of trustees member, who also owns the Wilshire Grand Hotel, discussed the landmark property’s closure to make way for the redevelopment. “For everything there is a season, and this grand hotel’s season has come to an end,” Cho said of the hotel, which opened in 1952 at Wilshire and Figueroa.

More than 8,000 construction jobs will come downtown when the redevelopment gets underway. When the project is complete, about 4,000 people are expected to work in the new facilities – all designed to exceed Green Building Council standards.

During his speech titled “Planes, Cranes and Change,” Cho also discussed the importance of improving LAX, the state of the airline industry, and its critical role in global economics. Los Angeles serves as Korean Air’s North and South American headquarters, and the airline is one of the city’s largest foreign employers. Cho also is chairman of Hanjin Group, a global shipping corporation with a significant economic impact in LA. His speech is available in its entirety .