The most interesting bit of news to come out of this morning's event to celebrate the last three steel beams rising (pictured, above) at downtown's Ritz-Carlton Residences & Hotel/JW Marriott Hotel was LA Live developer AEG's announcement that it is going forward with plans for a new hotel at the corner of Olympic and Francisco streets. "The lot is fully entitled," Ted Tanner, VP of AEG Real Estate told us, adding that the ground-breaking on the lot, currently being used as a parking lot for Staples Center, is scheduled for late 2009 or early 2010.
While Tanner wouldn't reveal what hotel brand had been chosen, he described it as a "high-end brand" and a "major player." Funding for the hotel, which would have 250-350 rooms, is in the process of being gathered, he said. The hotel has always been part of the downtown's master plan for the area, but City Councilwoman Jan Perry told us she wasn't aware that AEG was going forward with the hotel till this morning. Earlier this year, Blogdowntown guessed that a Marriott Los Angeles Edition would go in at the site. AEG President Tim Leiweke referenced the forthcoming hotel in a speech to the crowd, telling the construction workers: "Downtown needs more hotel rooms and you need more jobs," an announcement that was met with a roar of approval. Also on hand to celebrate the beam-lifting for the downtown Ritz project, which'll be finished in 2010: Mayor Villaraigosa, and actor Jimmy Smits (one of the co-owners of the Conga Room).
Meanwhile, there was some sweet musical accompaniment to the actual lifting of the beams. As the beams rose, the loudspeakers boomed “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Take a listen here.
· Marriott to Create the 'Los Angeles Edition' Downtown [Blogdowntown]