Wilshire Grand in DTLA becomes tallest building west of Mississippi

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The new Wilshire Grand building in downtown Los Angeles has become the tallest building west of the Mississippi Saturday morning. (KABC)

The new Wilshire Grand building in downtown Los Angeles has become the tallest building west of the Mississippi Saturday morning.

The spire was put atop the structure, making the building 1,099 feet tall along Figueroa and Wilshire boulevards. Its height beats the U.S. Bank Tower by more than 90 feet.

Carpenter Robert Pelayo has worked on the massive project since the beginning and was one of the few who got to go all the way to the top before the spire was raised.

"It's breathtaking. On a clear day, you can see long beach, the ocean. You can see Dodger Stadium," he said.

Pelayo, along with his fellow colleagues, also got to sign his family's names inside the spire itself before the piece was hoisted to its new home. It's something that generations of the family will be reminded of every time they see it.

Retired iron worker Bobby Downey was invited to watch the historic event from the 73rd floor. His grandson, who followed in his footsteps as an iron worker, helped execute the operation.

"I've always been proud of him, but I'm extra proud today," Downey said, holding back tears.

The historic event drew people from all over the city. Kevin Short said he waited up all night to witness it.

"This is a particularly daring height for L.A., which tends to shake a lot, and it's a very stark design, very beautiful - has a lot more to do with the light that comes off the ocean," he added.

The glass, sail and spire rooftop will be a unique addition to the downtown skyline. The L.A. Fire Department recently relaxed its policy of flat roofs that was put in to accommodate helipads.

The Wilshire Grand will eventually be part of a massive mixed-use center with a hotel, office complex and shopping mall. The tower is expected to open in March of 2017.
Related Topics:
newsconstructionrecorddevelopmentDowntown LALos Angeles
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