In what would bring a 29-story hotel to Westwood, the proposed Robert AM Stern-designed Wilshire Gayley is moving closer to breaking ground. With many locals coming out to speak in favor of the development at a Tuesday Planning and Land Use Committee meeting, the subcommittee approved the supergraphic-blocking project , and now developer Kambiz Hekmat is in negotiations with the city for an agreement to waive the bed tax on the hotel for a certain time period, according to Christopher Koontz, Planning Deputy for Councilman Koretz. Some business observers have railed against the tax exemption for developers (Korean Air/Thomas Properties is seeking a similar deal for their Wilshire Grand project) given the loss of city revenue. Koontz defends the proposed deal, saying the city incentives will stipulate the hotel breaks ground within a certain timeline (by end of 2011), and that given the jobs it will create, among other things, "it is in both the community and City interest to expedite the project."
One project Hekmat has had trouble expediting: That five-story extended stay hotel on Lindbrook Drive in Westwood. As of October, it was stalled among financing difficulties.
Meanwhile, it was unclear if Wilshire Gayley would be a hotel or condo project, but Koontz says the plan at this point is for it to be a hotel. Additionally, if Hekmat sold the land after receiving the entitlements, the deal with the city would remain in place. Hekmat, a longtime Westwood developer, didn't return a phone call today.
· Wilshire Gayley Archives [Curbed LA]
· Westwood Still Waiting for Extended-Stay Hotel Plaza La Reina [Curbed LA]