Pitching people on a skyscraper observation deck in Los Angeles was always kind of a tough sell. Why pay up for an elevator ride when you could just visit the hilltop Griffith Observatory or Getty Center for free (price of parking aside)? So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that L.A.’s second-tallest building is ditching its theme park attraction-like aspirations.
New U.S. Bank Tower owner Silverstein Properties is pumping $60 million into upgrades for the Downtown L.A. structure that’ll transition some of its glossy, international airport-like interiors into more of a boutique hotel look with wood surfaces and lots of leaves. As part of that, formerly tourist-facing spaces will now mostly be reserved for office tenants, while the all-glass, 1,000-feet-above-the-ground Skyslide will go away entirely.
The new plans, which are being helmed by design firm Jeffrey Beers and architecture office A+I, are set to tackle 35,000 square feet of common areas, as well as some behind-the-scenes building upgrades. The lobby—which will be open to the public—will add a grab-and-go market, patio seating and a dining area that’s a juice bar by day, a cocktail bar by night. The tenant-focused 54th floor will see a massive overhaul, too, with the introduction of a co-working lounge, conference rooms, and a cafe and bar.
But the biggest shift by far comes closer to the top of the 72-story tower in the former Skyspace levels. Silverstein Properties acquired the entire building in September 2020 from former owner OUE, and a month later Skyspace—which, like much of the city, had been temporarily shuttered since March of that year—abruptly announced that it had closed permanently.
The space’s signature Skyslide opened in the summer of 2016 during a tourist-focused overhaul of the then-tallest building in L.A. (The Wilshire Grand stole that crown shortly after.) As part of the ticketed Skyspace attraction, a first set of elevators would shuttle you up to the 54th floor, where you’d wind your way past skyline projections and an infinity mirror-esque chamber to another set of elevators. From there you’d reach floors 69 and 70, with indoor-outdoor observation decks and—for an extra fee—a five-second-or-so trip on the Skyslide between them.
Those two floors also accommodated occasional events (including, full disclosure, a few that we at Time Out Los Angeles hosted), and that isn’t necessarily going away: Silverstein Properties still plans on using the former observation floors for outside events. But otherwise, the three floors that made up the former Skyspace experience will now be limited to building employees and their guests.
On the other hand, upstairs neighbor 71Above isn’t going anywhere: The developers told us that the luxe, prix-fixe restaurant has been “a fantastic partner” and will remain an important part of the building’s future plans.
The U.S. Bank Tower renovations are set to kick off this summer and should be completed by the end of 2022. There’s no confirmed date yet for Skyslide’s removal, but here’s hoping it’s done in a fashion as grand as its helicopter delivery. And for old time’s sake, let’s take one last ride on the quick and, honestly, kind-of-painful Skyslide below.