Throwback Thursday: Pre-graffiti Oceanwide Plaza raises the glass

For weeks, Oceanwide Plaza has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Since construction of the Downtown mega project stalled in 2019, Oceanwide Plaza has seen no shortage of unauthorized visitors – at least if nighttime photos taken from the tops of the three unfinished towers are any indication. That kicked into overdrive this past month, when observers began noticing the impromptu mural of graffiti art that has gradually overtaken the exterior of the complex. Now, people are paragliding off the buildings, prompting the City of Los Angeles to step up security around the project site.

Oceanwide Plaza prior to the stop of constructionHunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

Back in 2017, things were looking a lot better for the project when Oceanwide Holdings took us inside for an authorized tour of the now infamous construction site. That showcase focused on the installation of the glass curtain wall, which includes panels shipped in from places as far away as Thailand. That’s a very long, expensive journey for something that was destined to one day serve as a tapestry for graffiti.

Where does the project go from here? That’s unclear. Multiple potential buyers have kicked the tires on the site in the past five years, but no one has managed to close a deal. However, Oceanwide Holdings has now received orders to liquidate by courts in both Bermuda and Hong Kong, which could potentially put the sales process back into motion.

Rendering of Oceanwide PlazaVisualhouse

Nonetheless, Oceanwide Plaza will reportedly cost $1 billion to complete – that’s on top of $1 billion already spent on the project to date. The project’s mix of uses – a 184-key Park Hyatt hotel, more than 500 condominiums, and 166,000 square feet of retail – may be a tough sell for Downtown in the near-term future.

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