by Ann Shepphird | August 04, 2017

Last Friday marked the official opening of the new Wilshire Grand Center in downtown Los Angeles. The event not only celebrated the center’s status as the tallest building west of the Mississippi but also a unique partnership between U.S. and South Korea that included the building’s owner, Korean Air, and main tenant, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (which itself was originally owned by Pan American World Airways).

The Wilshire Grand Center was the brainchild of Yang Ho Cho, the chairman and CEO of Korean Air, who spent 10 years developing the project with Los Angeles-based Martin Project Development and AC Martin Partners.

As an illustration of the importance placed on the building, a slew of city, county and state political leaders were on hand to help Chairman Cho at the ribbon cutting. Also on hand was the USC Marching Band, in honor of the fact that Chairman Cho originally came to Los Angeles as a young man to attend college at the school.

Later that night at a lavish party, guests toured through the 889-room InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles, which anchors the 73-story building and offers 94,977-square-feet of event space that includes 33 meeting rooms and the 21,379-square-foot Wilshire Grand Ballroom. Also included are three restaurants and, on the 73rd floor, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere.

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  • 1. Ribbon Cutting
    The dedication of the new Wilshire Grand Center drew a large crowd of media and other local dignitaries.
  • 2. Dignitaries
    Political leaders from the city, county and state level joined those involved in the development of the project in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
  • 3. Building
    At 73 stories and 1,100 feet, the Wilshire Grand Center is the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
  • 4. Lobby art
    Art in the 70-story lobby was designed to resemble Los Angeles traffic maps.
  • 5. Street
    The open-air patio off the grand ballroom offers views of downtown Los Angeles.
  • 6. Open-air Bar
    Located on the 73rd floor, the open-air bar is considered the tallest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.