Lightstone Group is moving forward with plans to build a $450 million hotel with 1,100 rooms across from the Convention Center. The New York developer recently submitted its application to city planners for a Gensler-designed project of two towers, one of 40 stories and the other of 28, which would be run by three hotel brands.
Dubbed Fig+Pico for its spot on the corner of Figueroa Street and Pico Boulevard, the hotel is slated to include six levels of parking, 20,000 square feet of retail, three pools, bars, and restaurants.
“We think there is a great demand for hotel rooms downtown today,” said Mitchell Hochberg, president of Lightstone. “When the Convention Center expansion is finally built, that demand will increase.”
L.A. city officials began working on Convention Center expansion plans last year after learning that downtown would not become home to a new football stadium. Officials last summer selected architects to design increased meeting and exhibition space and add a 1,000-room hotel at a cost of $470 million.
Then, early this year, the city began considering a new proposal that would build bigger facilities in partnership with private developers. Anschutz Entertainment Group was slated to build a 755-room expansion to its Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott tower, but last month abandoned the project, claiming that the city’s plan for an even bigger hotel would infringe on AEG’s property rights.
Hochberg said some developers want to see convention center upgrades underway before building hotels, even though the extra rooms could attract bigger conventions.
“There’s a chicken and egg with the Convention Center,” he said. Hochberg is eager to jump in now, believing the center’s expansion is just a matter of time and that his plans are in sync with city goals to supply the South Park area with 8,000 rooms. Hochberg aims to start construction on the 1.15-acre site in 2017. But progress will hinge on a transient occupancy tax rebate from the city.
“It’s impossible today to build a hotel of this scale downtown without city incentives,” Hochberg said. He declined to disclose the cost of the land, which includes a parking lot and restaurants Hooters of America and El Compadre. Lightstone just opened an L.A. office with plans to build hospitality and residential projects in the market, and has already identified a possible Hollywood site to build a second hotel.
Across Los Angeles, 133 hotels with 19,800 rooms are in the planning stages, according to a recent report from Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group. In addition, 37 hotels are under construction, set to offer 6,772 rooms. The largest of those is the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown with 900 rooms, inside the 73-story Wilshire Grand tower.
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