Pershing Square, Downtown L.A.’s ‘Forgotten Park,’ Begins Long Awaited Revamp

A makeover that began in 2015 is finally underway in 2023, but the process of reconstructing Pershing Square is expected to proceed incrementally.

2 minute read

August 30, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A hardscaped park with creative architectural featues is shown with the high-rises of Downtown Los Angeles in the background.

Hanna Tor / Adobe Stock

Pershing Square, a large, under-used park at a prime location in Downtown Los Angeles, is finally underway with a long-awaited makeover. The redesign and reconstruction of the park began with a 2015 design competition, but ballooning costs are requiring a phased approach to the competition-winning design.

A groundbreaking ceremony held yesterday marked the start of work on a $21.6-million first phase of a renovation of Pershing Square, which will focus on the western perimeter of the park adjacent to Olive Street and across the street from the historic Biltmore Hotel,” reports Steven Sharp for Urbanize Los Angeles. “Plans call for demolishing the existing cafe structure, which obscures the park interior from Olive, followed by the addition of a new street-level entry plaza and two glass elevators which will provide access to the parking garage below the park.”

The current work is considered Phase 1A by the project team. “It is to be followed by similar upgrades to open up the edges of the park facing 5th and 6th Streets, or Phase 1B. The second phase would extend work to the Hill Street side of the park, closing garage entrances and removing walls to make the eastern face of Pershing Square more accessible - reportedly at a cost of $16.5 million. Work on the central area of the park is considered a third phase,” reports Sharp.

The design competition winner, from Agence Ter and Salt Landscape Architects, referenced a “Radical Flatness” concept to address the park’s hardscaping, under-utilization, and perceptions of poor public safety.

More details, and all the renderings of the various phases of the project work are included at the source article below.

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