Tallest building west of Mississippi River opens in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The tallest building west of the Mississippi River opened its doors on Friday in once-stodgy downtown Los Angeles, which is sprouting a crop of new skyscrapers.

Here are some things to know about the Wilshire Grand Center:

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HOW TALL IS TALL?

The 73-story building has a huge spire that brings its height to 1,100 feet (335 meters), topping the nearby U.S. Bank Tower by more than 80 feet. The Bank Tower had held the height record since 1989.

Critics might argue that a spire rising nearly 200 feet above the top of the building should not count, but it meets the criteria of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which lists the world’s tallest buildings based on the “architectural top of the building.” A 2-foot lightning rod at the very top, however, doesn’t count.

The skyscraper is still dwarfed by buildings on the East Coast and overseas. In the United States, One World Trade Center is 1,776 feet tall, making it the sixth-largest completed building in the world. The tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, rises 2,717 feet, or more than a half-mile high.

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NO FLATTOP, PLEASE

The tower features a 100-foot-tall, sail-shaped crown built of glass and steel. It is the first modern high-rise in Los Angeles without a flat roof. Since 1974, high-rise buildings had to have helicopter pads in case of fires or other emergencies. The Wilshire Center obtained Fire Department permission to use other safety features, including a special landing platform and a dedicated elevator for firefighters. The city ended the flat-roof requirement in 2015.

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LIGHTS, ACTION, ENTERTAINMENT

The building’s spine and sail have programmable LEDs that can provide colorful illumination and visuals.

Ripples of rainbow illumination glowed and flowed all the way up the building’s 73 stories on Friday night in its inaugural lighting.

The tower also includes an 889-room InterContinental hotel where rooms will go for about $400 a night; some 350,000 square feet (32,516 square…

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