Anschutz Entertainment Group plans to announce a midsize hotel project bordering L.A. Live in the coming weeks, amid a spike in interest by hotel chains in downtown Los Angeles.

The plans come as the L.A. sports and entertainment company’s chief executive, Tim Leiweke, is calling for thousands of new hotel rooms in the area to support the company’s proposed National Football League stadium and Los Angeles Convention Center improvements.

While receiving a Business Hall of Fame award from the Business Journal last week, Leiweke hinted at a coming announcement that would end speculation on “whether or not we’re going to build hotels.”

“We will not stop until we have 10,000 hotel rooms … that are directly attached and across the street from our Convention Center and in downtown Los Angeles,” he said.

There are about 6,000 hotel rooms in the downtown area, but more capacity is key to AEG’s plans for a 64,000-seat pro football stadium, which analysts say would need to attract convention business to pencil out.

The blueprint for the $1 billion stadium project, slated for the site of the Convention Center’s West Hall, which would be razed, includes a retractable roof that could be closed for conventions. Leiweke has also talked of AEG taking over operation of the Convention Center, owned by the city.

The new hotel is planned for an AEG-owned parking lot just north of L.A. Live at Olympic Boulevard and Francisco Street; it is entitled for up to 375 rooms. The company is in talks with a developer to either sell the property outright or to partner in a development, said AEG spokesman Michael Roth. The company expects to announce a deal in the next month.

AEG built the 1,001-room JW Marriott-Ritz Carlton tower, which opened last year across from the Convention Center at L.A. Live.

Roth, clarifying Leiweke’s remarks, said the company has no further plans to develop additional hotels on its own or in partnerships, but would rely on other developers to do so.

Downtown boosters and industry consultants say the NFL proposal has spurred interest from other chains looking to move into the area.

Carol Schatz, president of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, said she has met with four hotel companies – two national chains and two boutiques – interested in moving downtown since the Feb.1 announcement that Farmers Insurance Group had paid $700 million for naming rights to the stadium, should it be built.


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