Grand Park | Case Study

Grand Park   |  Case Study

Los Angeles | California

Grand Park is a 12-acre site at the existing Los Angles County Mall that stretches four downtown Los Angeles blocks from City Hall to the Music Center. The area is adjacent to the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Raphael Moneo-designed Cathedral of Our Fair Lady of the Angels.

In 2010, a 24-month $56 million redesign began as part of a $3 billion mixed-use project by the City, County and developers to revive downtown and create a thriving city center. In 2007, the developer of the mixed-use Grand Avenue Project, The Related Cos., prepaid the city and county for the park in anticipation of the rent from the larger project’s first phase. The old park site was fractured, divided by two streets and by 18- to 20-foot grade changes in some places. There was no flexible design to adequately accommodate activities for the space, including passive recreation and planned programming.

The new design by Rios Clementi Hale Studios features terraced gardens and green space, pathways, an event lawn, additional trees and a small dog run. Even before its completion, the site is emerging as a centerpiece gathering spot, with the restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain as its focal point. The new Civic Park has majestic views extending from the Music Center to City Hall that will provide Angelenos of all walks of life a central gathering place where they can celebrate, reflect, and shape the future.

Challenges
  • Create a proforma, management plan, events feasibility study, infrastructure plan and design layout.
  • Determine highest and best uses for the park that would create financially sustainable revenue streams to activate the space with multiple goals for events, performances and daily uses.
  • Identify designs and programming to accommodate a diverse user base—daily users of children and families, youth and school groups, couples and the elderly, tourist and downtown dwellers; a common gathering space for major holidays and celebrations.
  • Coordinate diverse interests of stakeholders to achieve broad-based goals of the greater Grand Avenue and city center revival efforts.
Services Delivered
MJMMG was retained by developer The Related Companies, L.P., from 2007-2009 to create a pro forma, management plan, events feasibility study, infrastructure plan and design layout. The final product was the Civic Park Business Plan.

Its creation involved collaboration with multiple government, community, and nonprofit groups, and planning and design experts, including landscape architect Rios Clementi Hale Studios and architect Frank Gehry. An analysis of best practices was conducted of similar locations around the nation and of potential users to inform its redesign, new programing and management. The plan included:

  • The Project: Definition of the Park development project and associated goals and objectives.
  • Civic Park Operations: A proposed Management Plan for day-to-day Civic Park operations including staffing, organization, job descriptions, and management policies and procedures
  • Capital and Operating Budgets: The Capital Budget for the Civic Park and a preliminary projection of the annual revenues and expenses for Civic Park operations under conservative and optimistic assumptions.
  • Management Structure Options: A summary of three alternative organizational structures for the Civic Park.

“MJMMG’s input ensured the space would accommodate many different types of events. ”

Manuela King| Royston Hanamoto Alley + Abey

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Results
  • The plans provided by MJMMG are being used as the blueprint for accomplishing goals of Grand Park.
  • The first phase of the park opened in summer 2012 with an established organizational structure and management system in place, planned revenue generating events and appropriate levels of funding.
  • A nonprofit governance structure The Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority and Music Center allow for private donations to the park and forging strategic partnerships with relevant organizations and government entities. The nonprofit Music Center oversees overall park management and event programming.
  • MJMMG continues as a consultant to The Related Companies.

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