Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. has found a new partner for its Convention Center hotel project at L.A. Live after going it alone for several months.

Macfarlane Partners LLC, a San Francisco-based real estate firm that specializes in development and investment management, will replace former partner KB Home, according to a downtown real estate source. The Los Angeles home builder dropped out of the $800 million project in December.

Macfarlane's deal with Los Angeles-based AEG is said to be structured similarly to KB's, with the two firms equal financial partners but Macfarlane acting as the "lead development partner," according to the source.

"Macfarlane isn't just giving them money," the source said.

The $2.5 billion L.A. Live project across from Staples Center will include a 54-story hotel tower that will feature an 878-room hotel operated by JW Marriott and a 123-room Ritz-Carlton atop the Marriott portion of the building.

Peter Houghton, managing director of Macfarlane, declined to comment except to say, "We are happy to attend the groundbreaking ceremony if we are invited."

AEG spokesman Michael Roth said that his firm is "prepared to be the sole investor" and said the company would not make any announcements prior to a groundbreaking ceremony, which is set to take place in five to seven weeks.

KB pulled out of the project in December after its former Chief Executive Bruce Karatz, who had been a champion of the hotel, left KB over an inquiry into stock option practices.

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