It may sound like Pollyanna to position challenges as opportunities, but it’s a good approach in any business. Construction walls are one of those challenges in real estate development — they’re a necessary part of just about any project, but left blank, they block out the neighborhood just when you’re trying to create a connection. For a quick-moving development, a wall may come and go before it’s noticed, but in the Los Angeles real estate market, projects often take longer to work through the process. When that happens, we have to look at walls as opportunities — a chance to bring something new to a neighborhood, show them that we care, even before our project can break ground.
In Hollywood, we found ourselves facing one of these opportunities this winter. With 500 feet of construction wall at the border between Hollywood and Thai Town, we wanted to create something that reflected the neighborhood and made us a part of their community. With the help of artist Cloe Hakakian, we commissioned 12 street artists and gave them free rein to create a piece of art for the community. Five women and seven men came together, painting day and night in the unusual Los Angeles rain. Within two weeks, our 500 foot wall was transformed into a new landmark—albeit a temporary one.
Another project in Los Angeles called for a different approach. At a high profile corner in a mostly residential neighborhood, we wanted our construction wall to set the stage for the project to come. Edin Park will be a mixed-use development, with a food hall at the heart of it. We asked our creative agency, Six Degrees LA, to create a mural that would build anticipation and curiosity and lead seamlessly to the project’s eventual opening.
With these two projects, we’ve shifted our thinking around construction walls. Instead of necessary evils, they truly are opportunities for everyone to win. There’s nothing Pollyanna about it—it’s good business to bring something good to your neighborhood.