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Residences at the W Hollywood Says Announcement Coming

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View from one of the Residences
As more agencies depart from the Residences at the W Hollywood—some amicably, others bitterly--last night the developer addressed the changes underway at the Hollywood project and said an announcement would come later this month.

“The Residences at W Hollywood are in the midst of exciting transitions as the property continues to deliver an incomparable residential opportunity at the iconic corner of Hollywood and Vine,” said a rep for the Residences in a statement to Curbed. "A detailed announcement will be released in April.”

Yesterday, news broke that Sotheby’s is leaving the Residences at W Hollywood. Additionally, Macy + Associates, Inc, the local marketing firm that's worked on the Residences account since late 2007, is leaving later this month.

Macy + Associate's Chris Egger, account supervisor for the Residences at the W Hollywood, called it a "a mutual decision" to depart because Macy + Associate's work for the development had concluded.

The hotel and residential project, developed by Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital Corp, a real estate investment and development firm, and HEI Hotels & Resorts, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based hospitality investment group, opened last year. On the residential side, only 10 of the 143 residences have been purchased, according to a source.

While luxury projects around Los Angeles are struggling, some believe that sales at the Residences at the W Hollywood were also complicated by differences in opinion on how to market the project.

David Canter, a marketing agent, was hired to sell two penthouses at the Residences for a three-month period. He and his partner Dylan Davidson brought in athletes and celebrities to two separate penthouses at the Residences, allowing the stars to live in the penthouses for a two-day stay.

But clashes with Starwood managers (in addition to operating the hotel, Starwood oversees management of the Residences) about appropriate uses of the penthouses caused rifts, says Canter.

In particular, a Starwood manger "freaked out" about some of the rampant partying that went on in the penthouses, according to Canter. "These guys aren’t there to read the Bible," says Canter, of the athletes. "They're there to have fun."

In another instance, a football player staying in a penthouse had to go to Target to buy blinds during his stay because the room was too bright. Numerous athletes complained about the lack of blinds in the penthouse, says Canter, who gripes it was Starwood's job to deal with such issues.

No one from Starwood returned calls in response to questions about Canter's complaints. (Nor was for Curbed able to independently verify whose job it is to provide blind services at the Residences.)

As for the project's pricing, realtors are divided about whether the building is accurately priced. The project has already undergone at least one major pricechop, and faces competition from other new projects like The Century and the Ritz.

Hilton & Hyland's agent Chad Rogers, who currently has no affiliation with the Residences, says he thinks the pricing and the HOAs are fair. (Average price: A two-bedroom unit (1,912 square feet) is asking $1.194 million, while the building HOAs average from $1,250 to $3,050 a month.)

"The developer has to stay competitive," says Rogers. He also points to the amenities offered at the Residences, and the fact that the residents have use of the W Hotel. He also says HOAs are much higher in other new buildings. "[The Residences] is still the best priced building if you want to be in a brand new space," Rogers believes.

But Canter believes both the prices and the HOAs should have come down. (And as for all those athletes and celebrities who stayed at the penthouses? Did any of them buy after a few nights of partying? No, they did not, according to Canter.)

Meanwhile, Macy + Associate's Egger defended the W development, saying it had transformed Hollywood for the better. He said he didn't know what the developer's plans for the project were.
· Sotheby's Leaving Residences at the W Hollywood [Curbed LA]