One Rincon Hill versus LA's Olympic Tower
A tipster forwards a piece from the Los Angeles Business Journal:

The Titan Organization Inc. has taken another step towards building its pair of $500 million luxury apartment towers in downtown Los Angeles’ South Park district.
The company, formerly known as Rodmark Inc., has closed escrow on a 58,000-square-foot property at the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Olympic Boulevard where the Olympic and City House will be built. The towers will be tallest residential buildings on the West Coast when completed.

We only mention it because…well you have probably already figured it out. At 60-stories, the taller of the two proposed L.A. towers will rise five stories higher than One Rincon Hill’s fifty-five.
Perhaps it’s simply a difference in how they’re counting stories (some special developers math?), or perhaps we can still win out on some technicality (highest occupied floor? total elevation? anybody?), but if not, the days of One Rincon Hill (and San Francisco) boasting the “tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi” might already be numbered.
Olympic and City House Design []

42 thoughts on “The Tallest Residential Tower West Of <strike>The Mississippi</strike> Los Angeles!”
  1. If having the tallest residential building on the West Coast means having to look at Caesar’s Palace everyday, let l.a. have it. Those buildings, especially the taller one, will be another disfiguring scar on an already disfigured wasteland. I’d much rather take my cues from Vancouver than from Vegas.
    Maybe we can convince One Rincon’s developer to make the water tank atop the building even taller! You know, for the “sway” or whatever it is it’s supposed to do. Right.

  2. I think the Millennium Tower going up at the corner of Mission and Beale and that new approved 1000 foot tower were going to beat 1Rincon regardless of this new LA tower.

  3. You also have to take into account Rincon Hill, it’s approximately 100 feet above sea level so if you’re measuring height from sea level, 1Rincon might still be hanging in there at roughly 65 stories, not including its water tank!!!

  4. I bet you can’t see the Golden Gate Bridge from the Rodmark building (gee, nuthin phallic about that name or anything.)

  5. Above sea level? Oh give me a break. If the height above sea level is the measure, I suppose a ranch house on Mount Tam is an architectural wonder.
    Sorry. You lose. You measure the height of a building from the lowest above ground point. Period.
    And if you don’t win that game, no fair changing the rules just so you can claim victory.

  6. And some people complain about SF’s “architectural conservatism.”
    What city planner in LA decided to bring Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham back from the grave?

  7. as i recall, one rincon hill counts from the parking garage up. The lobby is the 6th floor, so 55 floors – 5 floors below ground.

  8. I would hate to be looking out the window of my grandoise living room to see a plane coming directly in the direction of the high towers. Haven’t they learned anything after 911?

  9. Have these towers even been approved?
    How strong is the highrise residential tower market in DT LA? Are these towers solely residential or are they mixed use?

  10. For planning approval, the height of a building is usually measured from the average between the high and low grade points of the principal facade. I have no idea how they figure for bragging rights.
    For trivia, in San Francisco, if you are zoned for, say a 100 foot height, that would be the high point of the actual roof slopes. Parapets may extend above that, and mechanical penthouses that occupy a set roof area percentage can actually extend 16 feet.

  11. SF’s “petite” and “pretty?” How the hell do those towers rate as “pretty?” They’re run of the mill, boring steel and glass towers.

  12. Just so you know, these buildings are actually taking their cues from older buildings in the downtown L.A. area, not from Ceasar’s Palace. The one on the right is actually quite reminiscent of Los Angeles City Hall.
    But…you guys haven’t seen the updated renderings with the tops that look like two breasts with pointy nipples. Wait’ll you New Brutalist fans get a hold of that rendering! I look forward to another round of delicious comments.

  13. some of you people are really stupid for letting buildings that you’re most likely not even going to live in bother you. if san francisco cares so much about such nondescript, insignificant things, it must show how exciting the place must be. And for the record, LA is not a disfigured city. Have you actually seen the streets in LA? They’re SO much cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing than the bum-infested, shit-strewn, foul-smelling broken down streets you have in SF. And “petite and pretty? Paris, maybe. But SF? No. You people should just get over your bitterness and envy for LA, and concentrate on the fact that SF is being drained of everything it ever had and will just be another boring, depressing, useless, pathetic city. Looks like it’s getting there already…

  14. Are you kidding? Who cares if one is taller than the other by 5 floors or what have you??? Don’t people buy into high rise condos for the view??? Having lived in both SF and LA, I would choose the view Rincon Hill has over LA any day.
    LA is cleaner??? HEY VIC, you’re a moron. LA is clean in some areas like Beverly Hills and Century City but Hollywood is dirty, downtown is dead and ugly, let’s not get into skid row (eww), that piece of land where Macarthur lake is and so on. YES, tenderloin and mission is dirty in SF but other than that, you’re out of your mind to compare SF to SMELL-LA. IDIOT.

  15. LOL, looks like the San Franciscans are at it again!
    There currently is a proposal for a 78 story residential tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox as well as a 51 story residential tower under plan check. And add to that a 54 story Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Marquis designed by Gensler and two Frank Gehry designed towers on Grand Avenue. That’s something San Francisco CANNOT match up to. Get over it.
    LOL, Los Angeles a disfigured wasteland? LA’s cultural institutions are far superior to SF’s and FAR more impressive. SFMOMA gets only half the number of visitors that the Getty receives each year. Deal with it.
    BTW, you’re all delusional if you believe your tiny city matches up to LA. LA is the premier city of the West Coast whether you like it or not, and I don’t see that ever changing and you know it. Too bad.

  16. living in london I have been a vistor to LA and SF over 55 times although more times in LA. Both cities have good and bad points. LA on one hand has seen a vast improvement in the downtown area into a world class urban core with wonderful buildings such as Disney Hall. San Francisco is a beautiful city but its growth is limited by geography. It is sad though that the city planners cant decide to build a world class terminal complex on the west side of LAX and demolish all the maintainance hangars. LA has many world class buildings .. so why not at the airport (yet) !??

  17. LA might be larger in area and population but it will never match up to San Francisco’s culture. Every area of this city has something different, not to mention great views wherever you are. We also have a larger macys, bloomingdales, saks, nordstroms and soon a larger barneys than LA. Which is the most important thing to me. San Francisco to me is more of city living. Much more condensed much like Manhatten.

  18. You are kidding about the “culture” thing, right?
    Look, there is nothing wrong with liking S.F. more, it’s cute, small, and yet I would not want to start claiming we have “more culture”, or better shopping. S.F. is what it is, and has no need to fight or COMPARE itself to L.A. Everytime we do this, it shows how thin skinned and provincial this city is. Do you think L.A. cares which city has bigger museums or shops? (They do by the way)

  19. Hmmm – more SF vs. LA sniping. I’ve never really understood how anyone can objectively compare apples and oranges, as that is what they are. LA is a massive, spread out megalopolis covering hundreds of square miles. It has it’s charms – although you couldn’t pay me to live there. Magnificent weather, very wide variety of activities for a hugely multicultural population, beautiful beaches, mountains nearby and a global center for entertainment/film and a well diversified economic base. But it actually has little that can be logically compared to San Francisco – apple to apple.
    SF is a very small (49 sq mile) city with water on three sides, a mountain on the other, and just 750,000 people. But what’s great about it is what is within that small area. First the temperate year round weather. Then, the quality of our cultural life is astounding for such a small population base, including at this point one of the world’s top symphony orchestras, world class level opera and ballet (and shopping!), and a fantasic food culture, all contained in one of the most magnificent geographic appointments of any city in the world.
    They’re both great places. I think it really comes down to whether you prefer the apple or the orange.

  20. Kevin, San Francisco has a better shopping district than Los Angeles because it’s all located in one area – Union Square. That’s something I won’t deny. But Los Angeles is a better shopping city. SF, along with LV, are only behind LA and NYC. Why do I say that LA is a better shopping city? It has stores like Lisa Kline and Kitson (both celebrity hotspots) and a premier street (Rodeo Drive). Not to mention LA is where Guess, 7 For All Mankind, Von Dutch, Citizens of Humanity, Max Azria, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Juicy Couture all began. Speaking of Juicy Couture, their world flagship store will be located on Rodeo Drive. Chanel is opening up another boutique on Robertson, Miu Miu is opening up two new flagship stores, one in NYC and the other one being in LA. Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Chloe, Lambertson & Truex, Balenciaga, Taharai, and Diesel (the West Coast flagship) have opened or are opening up on Melrose Place. And there’s also this little store called Fred Segal and dozens of non-chain designer boutiques. 😉
    So really, in addition to Rodeo Drive, there’s Melrose Place and Robertson Blvd.
    As for neighborhoods, I do think SF beats LA and even NYC when it comes to neighborhoods. However, when it comes to ethnic enclaves, LA has more variety and in general is a more diverse population.
    LA will never match up to SF in culture? You’re right. It will always be ahead in culture. In case you didn’t know, LA has the third largest performing arts center in the nation, and the second largest isn’t in SF or Chicago, but in Denver. We have the Colburn School for the Performing Arts, nicknamed the Juilliard of the West, and LACMA, the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago. So whether you’re talking about culture ethnically, religiously, or in terms of art and museums, LA has SF beat no matter what?
    I don’t want you people to get the wrong impression of me. I LOVE San Francisco; it’s where I would be if I weren’t in LA. Yet LA most certainly matches SF in many respects, especially culture and shopping.

  21. PROPS TO EBAYJ. The best post yet.
    LA and SF are both GREAT, SUPERB. Both have the best shopping, culture, and diversity oustide NYC.
    Despite their differences, LA and SF are more similar than most people think. They also share a unique California bond with one another, something I take pride in. Though San Franciscans don’t return the favor.

  22. One word has LA beat over SF: Pinkberry!
    Don’t get me wrong, I like SF too, but honestly, it’s so small, I’d get bored living there. I’ve lived in L.A. most of my life and STILL haven’t seen every neighborhood yet.
    And notice how only San Franciscans seem to think there’s a rivalry between SF and LA… I think that’s very telling.

  23. Pinkberry doesn’t taste very good. And there’s been news reports that it is made from a powder.
    I’ll take full-fat, organic ice cream from San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Creamery when I want a treat.

  24. “And notice how only San Franciscans seem to think there’s a rivalry between SF and LA… I think that’s very telling.”
    That statement says it all. It is like when you see a big dog and one of those tiny “yip yip” dogs in the park. The big dog could care less while the little dog just barks and barks trying to get the other dog to acknowledge it. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?”

  25. Titan Organization/Mark Abrams/Gary Wafel ALERT. Los Angeles, CA
    MARK ABRAMS is up to his old tricks, this time scamming people with his new company TITAN ORGANIZATION, located at: 633 W. 5th Street, 56th Floor, LA, CA 90049 MARK ABRAMS is now a partner in that company which recently purchased the land on the corner of Olympic and Grand in Downtown LA under the name of The Olympic on Grand, LLC for $30 Million of SCAMMED MONEY!!!
    MARK ABRAMS has been soliciting investments from investors to the tune of over $3M to date for his dream of building The Olympic and The City House buildings. Don’t let the fact that his name is not on any documents fool you….he OWNS his interest in the LLC under a TRUST he created just for the purpose to hide his ownership…THE JAMES GRACE IRREVOCABLE TRUST EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 2005 and the company just recently closed escrow on the land in October, 2006:
    1. I owe this guy a SERIOUS beat-down from when he used my friends’ dads’ name and literally almost ruined him. My friends’ dad had a severe heart attack because Mark Abrams defrauded him and my friends family back in 1989-1990. My friends’ dad trusted Mark and he drove my friends’ dad to almost ruins health wise. Listen up chump, if I ever find you Mark, I will, with my own bare hands rip your throat out and piss in your neck.
    Comment by Mark Abrams Hater — April 4, 2007 @ 6:31 pm
    2. Hey Mark, remember the white BMW you “sold” me? Remember me making payments to you that you never paid the lien holder to the car? Remember disappearing on me and sending my credit to the toilet because of this and the BMW you “sold” me was repossessed? I swear if I find you or if I find out where you are jailed, I will make sure the rest of your life is misrable. If I do find you before you go to jail, I will stuff every bill you left me with up your ass. You will pay for what you did to me and my family. I GUARANTEE that you crooked ass loser.
    Comment by Mark Abrams Hater — April 5, 2007 @ 3:45 pm
    August 14, 2007 1:44 AM
    Anonymous said…
    Titan Organization is owned by Mark Abrams, Gary Warfel and Richard Robinson. Gary Warfel is the President of the company and they have to go in front of the CRA for their FAR approvals. No one wants to see those eye sore building built.
    Gary Warfel is a crook too just like his buddies and partners Mark Abrams!!!!!
    August 14, 2007 3:07 PM
    Anonymous said…
    GARY WARFEL is the head of Titan Organization now. This company and group has so much baggage it’s amazing they’re still paying rent in their offices in Downtown.
    They went to market for their financing for “The Olympic” and “City House” buildings through Ackman Ziff in New York. When Citibank found out about Mark Abrams’ criminal record and guilty pleas, they backed out of the deal.
    Mark Abrams and Gary Warfel think they’re cute by disguising their ownership in Titan in a Trust but bankers see through that.
    Gary Warfel and Mark Abrams are LA’s WORST businesmen. In fact, I might work to get a group together to picket their development and inform the CRA and City Ethics Board about the criminal activity of GARY WARFEL AND MARK ABRAMS.
    August 14, 2007 3:11 PM
    Samoa Deports Fugitive Wanted in the U.S. in $50 Million Real Estate Fraud Scam
    A former Los Angeles-based real estate developer charged with running a $50 million mortgage fraud scheme arrived in the United States yesterday afternoon to face criminal charges. Charles Fitzgerald was arrested and deported by authorities in the Independent State of Samoa, a Pacific island nation where he fled to in June 2003 after he was sued for fraud by Lehman Brothers Bank.
    Samoan law enforcement officials, responding to a request from the United States, arrested the 46-year-old Fitzgerald in the Samoan capital of Apia on Monday. Fitzgerald was deported by Samoa because his United States passport had been revoked after the criminal charges were filed, which in turn subjected him to immediate deportation under Samoan law.
    Fitzgerald arrived at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday afternoon, and was immediately transported to the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. He is expected to make a court appearance in U.S. District Court this afternoon, where he’ll answer to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and loan fraud, four counts of bank fraud, one count of loan fraud, five counts of money laundering, and one count of obstruction of justice. In addition to Fitzgerald, the following people were previously charged with working alongside the former real estate developer to defraud Lehman Brothers Bank:
    Mark Abrams, 45, of Long Beach, CA
    Nicole LaViolette, 37, of Palm Springs, CA
    Jamieson Matykowski, 33, of Laguna Niguel, CA
    Timothy Holland, 35, of Santa Ana, CA
    Abrams previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and loan fraud, bank fraud, making a false statement on a tax return and obstruction of justice. LaViolette, Matykowski and Holland previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and loan fraud, as well as wire fraud. All four are scheduled to be sentenced next year by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.
    Fitzgerald and the others were involved in a wide-ranging and sophisticated conspiracy to defraud federally insured mortgage lenders out of tens of millions of dollars. As part of the scam, they obtained inflated mortgage loans on homes in some of California’s most exclusive neighborhoods, including Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Malibu, Carmel, Mill Valley, Pebble Beach and La Jolla. According to the recently unsealed charges, the conspiracy was spearheaded by Fitzgerald and Abrams.
    In the charges filed against the others, in late-1999/early-2000, Fitzgerald went into business with Abrams in a mortgage brokering company called Desert Pacific Financial, Inc. (DPF). The company sent mortgage loan applications to lenders for review and funding, and received commissions from those lenders when the loans closed. In late 2001, Fitzgerald and Abrams renamed the company Beverly Hills Estates Funding, Inc. (BHEF).
    LaViolette was a loan processor at DPF/BHEF, and Matykowski was a property scout who helped locate homes for potential purchase. Fitzgerald and Abrams also had several in-house escrow companies, in which Holland was the escrow officer.
    Fitzgerald and Abrams, working with Matykowski and real estate agents, located homes for sale. According to court documents, they primarily looked for homes with purchase prices they could inflate, which generally meant they used homes with good views in expensive neighborhoods throughout California. As part of the scheme, Fitzgerald and Abrams purchased homes at their real market values. For example, the case against Abrams details the purchase of a home in Bel Air, which Fitzgerald and Abrams bought for $735,000 in the name of “Matykowski or his assignee,” even though they were at all times in actual control of the home.
    Fitzgerald, Abrams and their associates then recruited straw borrowers to obtain inflated loans on the properties. The straw borrowers, some of whom received payments, allowed Fitzgerald and Abrams to use their names and credit to obtain mortgages as part of a property flipping process. After obtaining inflated appraisals and other false documents that were submitted with loan applications, Fitzgerald and Abrams obtained mortgages in the names of the straw borrowers for double or triple the actual values of the homes. For example, when they flipped the Bel Air property, they sold the residence to the straw borrower for $2,370,000. Abrams’ charges allege that a bogus loan application package went to Lehman Brothers Bank seeking a loan of $1,422,000, nearly double the true $735,000 purchase price, and that Lehman Brothers Bank unwittingly funded a loan of more than $1.4 million on the property, almost all of which ended up in one of the in-house escrow companies controlled by Fitzgerald and Abrams.
    The victim lenders, having been deceived by the false documentation supplied by Fitzgerald, Abrams, and others, unwittingly funded the inflated loans. According to Abrams’ charges, Lehman Brothers Bank alone was deceived into funding about 80 such inflated loans from March 2000 through March 2003. These 80 loans were more than $50 million over the true prices of the homes. Fitzgerald and Abrams received millions of dollars of these excess loan proceeds, and their associates received kickbacks, inflated appraisal fees, and large commissions.
    Lehman Brothers Bank sued Fitzgerald, Abrams and others in federal court in Los Angeles in 2003 and obtained a receivership, temporary restraining orders, and preliminary injunctions against them. If he is convicted of the 12 counts in the criminal complaint, Fitzgerald faces a possible sentence of 265 years in federal prison.

  26. its funny los angeles was silent all this time and here comes san francisco barking at them..los angeles ignores them and still san francisco los angeles leaves knowing SF arent going to do the way i love LA’s buildings better..they look classic like in their 1930’s..

  27. I’ve lived in both cities and the only thing LA has on SF is the beach lifestyle. I love surfing and thus have a deep love for the warm shark free waters of LA. Other than that living in LA sucks! If you like waiting on the 405 (the joke is that it’s called the 4-0-5 because it takes 4 Or 5 hours to get anywhere) for two hours to get to home depot and back, then fine…be my guest and live there.
    SF has amazing infrastructure, cultural diversity, land and cityscapes, and an overall lifestyle that is unrivaled anywhere except perhaps New York. We also have a high concentration of some of the smartest people in the world…which makes everyday interesting. LA has a few smart people, and an incredibly large population of stupids.

  28. You guys are fools! I am so over the LA/SF bashing back and forth like two little stupid little kids on the playground at school. Yes San Francisco is geographically beautiful but LA is too. It has these amazing snow covered mountains in the winter that you can actually see for a few days in the year when the smog clears. San Francisco has it’s amazing hills that are covered with trees, houses and grass. There is interesting culture in both places. LA has more diversity, by a wide margin. San Francisco is becoming increasingly elite and white. Neither city is clean! Please! This is California not Canada. We are filthy here! Why do we deny it! And lets get over ourselves in SF when we bitch about LA’s freeways and traffic. I am so over how people in the Bay Area think they are so superior to people in LA because of the smog, and the traffic and the driving. Yes people walk in San Francisco (some people), and people drive in LA (most people), but people in the Bay Area (outside the city of SF) drive just as much as people in the LA area, which is why we have crowded freeways too! We think we are so much better here in the Bay Area because we don’t have LA’s smog problems, but hypocritically we make just as much of it, but to our good fortune it all blows to other parts of the state. Are we so much better for creating pollution that nobody who lives here sees? Even though we are still shitting all over the planet! What gets me is how many of you idiots drive in SF! In LA they at least have an excuse! There distances are far and there transportation sucks, compared to ours! We have better (not perfect) public transportation options, including walking and biking, yet most of you idiots who live here still drive around like maniacs and than ride on the coat tails of those of us who walk, bike and take public transit, as if you were getting out of your cars! What is our excuse here in the city? We don’t have an excuse. So stop your hypocritical bitching. Get our of your cars! or leave our city and move down south to LA. I’ve lived in both places too! SF is a better place to live (for me). Stop telling everbody down there that we are better. We are not better! Just different. Be greatful that all 12,000,000 of them like it better down there or they’d all be up here with us! Is that what you fools want! Oh by the way! When it comes to culture! They do kick our ass! I worked in a school down there with 114 languages! Spent every weekend going to amazing museums, and never finished seeing them all. We can not compete when it comes to culture, museums, diversity. They have way more people. We will never win, but we do pack a pretty big punch for such a small little place, and our politics rock the the state and the nation. The people up there down there are friendlier but phonier! We are deeper! They are shallower. They are prettier with make up. We are prettier without it! See…There I go making comparisons too! How can 12,000,000 people really be the same when they are all from so many different parts of the world, country and state? They can’t!

  29. This is ridiculous. As of today September 2008, San Francisco continues to build more Skyscrapers than Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a boring town where eveything is dead after 2 am. San Francisco has a more vivid and better nightlife.
    We have more graduate skilled labor than LA and far more wealthy people per square feet.
    LA is old, boring, lack of good Universities( you really wanna say that UCLA is a good school or USC)as they dont even compared to Stanford, UCSF or Berkeley.
    SF is more sophisticated and downtown is at least 40 years ahead into the future than LA’s.
    Forgive me but I found this comment about LA not even a comparison.
    As a matter of fact, I heard LA is called the big toilet.
    NO doubt that SF has more to offer to any wealthy, smart and looking for a REAL city life style person.
    New data shows LA is not building anymore and the plans for downtown has been delay.
    LA population is not growing and your properties went under half a million.
    If I become broke and with lack of ambition, I may consider LA>
    Till then.

  30. i LOVE San Francisco, but not its people…get into themselves soooo much… THEY TRY to become an important, and world class city(which means their not!). Los Angeles doesnt even have to try.. they have become a global, alpha city on their own, second in the United States behind New York City.
    SF can bash LA all they want… it doesnt make them any better… it just shows how low and immature Franciscans can be, worrying about being better than Angelenos.
    and nightlife?????? oh hell no LOL do not even say SF has a better nightlife. imagine all the areas and things you can do at night in Los Angeles, its a big city.. SF is small and square. Los Angeles has more city lights than San Francisco. San Francisco needs the bay to look good… without the bay, San Francisco is and will be nothing. Los Angeles doesnt need a waterfront(even though it does like San Pedro) to thrive.
    San Francisco: Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park and Bridge, Chinatown, Union Square.. might have left other stuff out.
    Los Angeles(ENTERTAINMENT CAPITOL OF THE WORLD: Santa Monica Pier, 3rd street Promenade, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Getty Center, KoreaTown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Filipino Town, Nokia Plaza and Los Angeles’ close proximity to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Raging Waters, Six Flags.
    Los Angeles will always be ahead in population, culture, nightlife, geography(from the beaches to the desert), diversity, and world-class status…but i do love San Francisco.. just to visit though and spend like a weekend. I do not like the mentality of its people tho, thinking they have to be better than not just Los Angeles, but every city in California.I love San Francisco.. but not its people. they have a mentality that they have to be better than NOT JUST LOS ANGELES, but every damn city in California

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