Los Angeles City Council members today will consider a proposal supported by organized labor to block developers from converting hotels to condominiums for the next six months. Some business leaders strongly oppose the idea.
The proposed moratorium is needed to stem "an alarming trend"
of eliminating hotel rooms — and therefore union jobs — at a time when the local
hospitality industry is finally showing signs of improvement, said Councilman
Martin Ludlow, who introduced the motion. If approved by a council committee
today, the full council will consider the plan Friday.
Los Angeles also
is experiencing record demand for housing and the owners of at least four hotels
are considering converting all or part of their properties to residential
• Buyers of the St. Regis in Century City told more than 200
members of Local 11 of Unite Here, which represents hotel employees, that they
would be out of work Jan. 22, when the four-star hotel is set to close to make
way for a condo conversion.
• The manager and part owner of the
Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, Peter Zen, said he might want to
convert half of the 1,400 rooms in his hotel to about 200 condos if the planned
1,200-room Hilton Hotel next to Staples Center ended up draining business from
• One of downtown's two Holiday Inns, a six-story
property at 750 Garland Ave., closed this year and is being converted to
apartments by a Newport Beach developer.
• The Furama Hotel near
Los Angeles International Airport would lose many of its 775 rooms in a planned
renovation that would turn much of the property into apartments and stores,
according to hotel consultant Alan Reay of Atlas Hospitality.
leaders fear that at least two other downtown hotels may be going
Hilton Checkers Los Angeles on Grand Avenue is being purchased by
Falor Cos. for $35 million, according to trade publication
Commercial Real Estate Direct. Falor specializes in selling individual hotel
rooms to investors. Such "condo hotels" continue to rent rooms to guests when
they are not occupied by their owners. Falor didn't return a call requesting
The Hyatt Regency on Hope Street is for sale and is considered a
prime candidate for conversion. Developer Shaul Kuba of CIM Group on Tuesday
denied reports by real estate brokers that his Hollywood-based firm was buying
Altogether the city faces the loss of 2,000 rooms, 1,000
jobs and the revenue from a 14% "bed tax" on guests, Ludlow estimated.
Real estate attorney Rick Davis of Greenberg Traurig said the City
Council might be overstepping its bounds in considering a moratorium.
cut off property owners' options of how they want to structure ownership of
their property or how they want to dispose of it is an undue interference with
the right of the owners," Davis said.
He warned that Los Angeles could
wind up driving away investment "if the city gets a reputation for imposing
restrictions on property owners when some union wants them