Carwash near L.A. Live.

Carwash near L.A. Live. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

A small corner lot across from L.A. Live is close to being sold for its listed $25 million price to investors who want to build yet another hotel in the neighborhood, sources said.

The site of a carwash and small restaurant, the lot at Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street was put on the market at the beginning of the year by owner Robert Bush, who said he is in negotiations with three separate parties, each of whom has indicated a desire to build a mixed-use hotel project.

If the property, a little more than eight-tenths of an acre, sold for its listed price, it would amount to about $682 a square foot. That would make it the most expensive land sale this year in downtown Los Angeles – reflecting the area’s status as one of the county’s hottest hotel markets. So far the priciest land sale in the area this year was by developer Sonny Astani, who sold his Eighth and Grand project property, entitled for 700 residences, for $485 a square foot.

“The downtown area – with everything going on at Staples Center, the Convention Center and talk about an NFL stadium – has a lot of positive news and demand drivers that may make new hotel construction viable,” said Alan X. Reay, president of Irvine consultancy Atlas Hospitality Group.

Ben Neman, a downtown property owner and manager, is one of the prospective buyers, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc. and another source. His Neman Investments owns at least six other greater downtown properties, including a five-story warehouse on 301-303 Fourth St., according to CoStar. The data provider reported Neman wants to build a 476,000-square-foot mixed-use development with a hotel, residences and shops at the site near L.A. Live.

Bush confirmed that he is talks with Neman, but little else.

“We are in discussion with two or three (prospective buyers) but more seriously with one,” he said.

Neman did not answer calls for comment.

There are several hotels being developed downtown. American Life Inc. of Seattle and Williams/Dame & Associates of Portland, Ore., are developing dual 23-story Courtyard and Residence Inn hotels. The $172 million complex will feature nearly 400 rooms and be operated by Marriott International Inc.

Boutique operator Ace Hotel also has plans to open a 180-room hotel in the United Artists Theater building at Broadway and Ninth Street. And the closed Wilshire Grand Hotel is being demolished and replaced with a 900-room tower.


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