The Grand begins to take shape with groundbreaking ceremony in downtown Los Angeles

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- From the air it may look like just a hole in downtown Los Angeles, but it's full of 15 years of dreams and it's a Frank Gehry designed hole.

"The gestation period of this project is longer than anything I've ever been involved with. I mean I'm thankful that all of us are still here," Stephen Ross said.

Ross is one of the developers who plans to turn the hole into The Grand - an idea born in 2004 that philanthropist Eli Broad envisioned as the cornerstone of the Grand Avenue Redevelopment project.

It's a crown jewel with a matching price tag - estimates have it close to $1 billion and it'll be complete with shopping, restaurants, an Equinox hotel and residential living.

"You are about to see a project unfold like nothing else you've ever seen in all of Los Angeles - never mind downtown," said Ken Himmel, with Related Urban.

World-renowned architect Gehry is at the helm of the project. His whimsical, iconic designs are known globally.

Gehry's latest creation isn't going to be lonely in downtown L.A. either because right across the street from The Grand is the Disney Concert Hall - another Gehry-designed landmark.

"It's been exciting to build something so close to something I've built before, to have them talk to each other across Grand Avenue," Gehry said.

Building The Grand will have a real world impact as well. County officials said when it's up and running, it will create about 10,000 new jobs and generate more than $2 million in tax revenues each year. They also said the development won't just be for those with deep pockets.

"This place that we're standing on right now will house 436 units of housing and 89 of those units will be affordable," L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said.

With the groundbreaking out of the way, construction for the project can begin. It's slated to be done by 2021, which is only two years away. It's a relatively short time when you think about how long it's taken for the project to get to this point.
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