Saturday, July 9, 2011

Westwood hotel project will go condo if UCLA builds hotel/conference center

The LA Business Journal reports that the developer of the hotel proposed for the old Hollywood video store site on Wilshire & Gayley will do the building as condos-only if UCLA goes ahead with the plan to replace the Faculty Center with a large hotel/conference center. See below. Scroll down to boldface type.

No Vacancy?

Jacquelyn Ryan

Los Angeles Business Journal

July 4th, 2011

It seems the biggest battles these days in Westwood aren’t on the basketball court but over luxury suites – and not the ones in arenas. Just months after a controversial plan to build an upscale hotel at UCLA was temporarily sidelined by administrators, a separate proposal to build a four-star hotel near Westwood Village is raising a ruckus of its own. Prominent developer Kambiz Hekmat wants to build a 250-room four-star hotel on a vacant lot at Wilshire Boulevard and Gayley Avenue, once the site of a Hollywood Video store. The proposal has attracted the support of a homeowners group, the area’s business association and City Councilman Paul Koretz. But opponents, including rival hotel owners, aren’t happy.

“We don’t need another four-star hotel in this market,” said Mark Beccaria, a partner in the 256-room Hotel Angeleno and 36-room Royal Palace Westwood Hotel. “They are definitely going to hurt our business.” …

Hekmat disagrees there isn’t room for another upscale hotel in Westwood, which has seen declining room rates during the recession. He said any such problems are temporary…

Hekmat has been a developer in Westwood for decades. He built the 22-story Center West office tower in 1990 and is the driving force behind a proposed Westwood Business Improvement District to clean up and improve the struggling shopping and entertainment neighborhood. He also acquired the 19-story Murdock Plaza and is building a six-story hotel, Plaza la Reina, on Lindbrook Drive in Westwood. The rooms are aimed at corporate executives and others on extended stays.

…UCLA most recently proposed to replace its 50-year-old Faculty Center with a $160 million hotel and conference center that would be open to tourists and others outside the university. But administrators withdrew the proposal for a six-month review after fierce opposition from faculty who wanted to save the center and questioned the need for such a complex.

Indeed, Hekmat said he will not move forward with his luxury hotel proposal if UCLA proceeds with its hotel. Instead, he would build more than 100 luxury condos on the site using the same floor plan and exterior design. “There is only room in the market for one of the two (hotel) projects,” Hekmat said. “It would not to be economically sustainable.” …

…(T)there is substantial official support for the project, including from the Westwood Village Business Association, which functions as the area’s chamber. In an unusual turn, residents in the typically antidevelopment neighborhood have come out in support of the project…

…The City Council approved Hekmat’s hotel project in December. Then, last month, the Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee voted to have a city consultant conduct a report to determine whether the project needs financial assistance. The report, due in 30 to 90 days, will consider an exemption from the transient occupancy tax, or bed tax, which is 14 percent of the rate charged for each room…

Full article at


Anonymous said...

We lose Faculty to other institutions, they reduce pension and health benefits, they impose ever increasing fees to students, but there is money to build a luxury hotel. What is our Unversity's mission?
No longer teaching and research, but to compete with the hotel businesses?

And don't forget they also have money to refurbish the VA golf course! 6 million in the latest published estimate.

This administration is living in an elitist stratosphere, completely out of touch with the faculty, students and community it is supposedly serving.

sfaliatel said...

It seems the biggest battles these days in Westwood aren’t on the basketball court but over luxury suites and not the ones in arenas.

Hotel Gramado

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