August 8, 2017

Roger Vincent Contact Reporter

By Los Angeles Times


Culver City’s unremitting makeover from bland suburbia to pedestrian-friendly destination with upscale restaurants, gastropubs and cutting-edge businesses is picking up speed with the Expo Line now zipping through town.

The 15-year transformation has already turned the formerly insulated bedroom community into more of an urban hub, but even bigger changes are coming as developers stake claim on more than $1 billion worth of projects that will rise close to the light-rail tracks.

That work is getting started with one of the region’s biggest transit-related projects — the $300-million Ivy Station complex, which will house apartments, a hotel, an office building, shops, restaurants and underground parking for commuters heading either to downtown Los Angeles or to Santa Monica.

Because it stands midway between those cities where the line terminates, its builders hope Ivy Station will be a Goldilocks housing option for people who find downtown and Santa Monica too intense or too expensive.

August 4, 2017

Bianca Barragan

By Curbed LA

Downtowners who might remember walking by the boarded-up ground floor of the Commercial Exchange building will now see expansive glass panes topped by rows of transom windows, allowing passersby to peek into a new lobby, bar, and first floor restaurant. The transformation of 1920s-era building at Eighth and Olive from a mostly empty but beautiful space into a hip Freehand hotel is complete. Sydell Group—the company behind Koreatown’s stylish Line hotel and Palm Springs’s colorful Saguaro hotel—enlisted Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects to revitalize the building. The project was announced in 2014, and starting this week, it’s taking reservations and its restaurant and bar are open to the public. The Freehand began as a hostel-type hotel in Miami, but Sydell Group CEO Andrew Zobler says the idea of Freehand is more about capturing the culture of a hostel—meeting people and socializing, having unexpected interactions—than it is about being one. Maybe that’s why the Downtown Freehand’s 59 shared rooms are nothing like the ultra-basic hostels familiar to backpackers.
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