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Travel Boom Busting as LA Readies Two Mega-Hotels

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[Pictured: Construction of Downtown's Ritz Carlton taken about a month ago]

The country is in the midst of a hotel building boom even as tourism is dropping like a rock thanks to sky-high gas prices, reports The New York Times' Abha Bhattarai and Fred Bernstein. Almost all urban markets are reporting a dip in occupancy rates from last year (save for NY, San Francisco, and Dallas). LA's drop (3.4 percent) is minimal compared to a place like Phoenix (12.7 percent), but it comes as two high-profile mega-hotels (that also have housing) rise in Downtown and Hollywood. The 54-story Ritz Carlton in South Park opens in 2010 and the W Hollywood should cut the red ribbon in Fall 2009—will the travel bust be done then? And does the downturn give credence to the WeHoans fighting the hotel planned for the House of Blues site? Much to ponder.
· Terrible timing for a hotel boom [NY Times]
· House of Blues inciting ire [Curbed LA]