LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The tallest building west of the Mississippi River celebratec its grand opening Friday in downtown Los Angeles.
The 73-story Wilshire Grand Center at 900 Wilshire Blvd. was developed by Korean Air, which is owned by Hanjin International Corp.
The high-rise is 1,100 feet tall, surpassing the height of the U.S. Bank Tower, which was previously the tallest building in Los Angeles at 1,018 feet.
Officials held a ceremony in September, when a 10-ton spire was placed atop the tower, which officially made it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The tower features 889 hotel rooms and over 400,000 square feet of office space.
The grand opening program included a ribbon cutting and news conference at 2:30 p.m. featuring key project leaders and officials — including Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, Council President Herb Wesson and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis — and a light show at 8:30 p.m.
The building, in the Financial District, cost about $1.2 billion to build. Construction began in 2014. A milestone was reached that year when 21,200 cubic yards of concrete, weighing 82 million pounds, were poured over a span of 18 hours to create the foundation. That broke the Guinness World Record for a continuous pour set during the 1999 construction of The Venetian hotel and casino in Las Vegas. The record was eclipsed again this April when a foundation for a mall was poured in the United Arab Emirates.
Construction work on the tower was shut down for two days last year when an electrician committed suicide by plunging from the 53rd floor. He landed on a moving car but the driver wasn’t hurt.
The tower includes a massive, stabilizing central core and braces designed to act as shock absorbers to withstand gusty Santa Ana winds and earthquakes. Southern California has dozens of faults and the building is designed to withstand about a 7.5 magnitude temblor.
The Wilshire Grand Center is part of a construction boom in the resurgent downtown area that for decades emptied out at night as commuters headed for the suburbs. The opening of the Staples Center arena in 1999 helped anchor redevelopment projects in the surrounding area. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, an internationally known architectural landmark designed by Frank Gehry, opened in 2003.
Vacant office buildings have become pricey lofts and apartments, a new art museum opened and with changes to density and zoning laws, plans are moving ahead to create gigantic complexes of residences, hotels and shopping districts. Currently, some 20 skyscrapers of 35 stories or more are planned or under construction.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)