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It's a Parking Lot Party for Downtown's Twin Marriotts

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A big graphic showing the forthcoming Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn was unfurled amid a blast of confetti today near LA Live. Congrats, downtown...you're getting a couple of Marriotts. After yesterday's tease of a press release, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) helped throw a parking lot party, an event which drew about 200 local businesspersons and construction workers to celebrate the proposed 22-story hotel. Is the downtown development bar a little low when the city is celebrating Marriott Courtyard announcements? No matter, there's a recession on. A press rep for AEG passed out free bottles of water, and politicians (and hopeful mayoral candidates) like First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner showed up at a podium to talk job creation.

Tony Capuano, Marriott vice president, global development, broke down the two brands for us. "The clientele of the Courtyard is usually a transient business traveler," he said. "The Residences, it's extended stay. People staying 7-30 days. Maybe they're relocating, maybe they are here for business. Some consulting work, for example." Let's cut to the chase: Which one will have the better bar? "I would say the Courtyard," said Capuano.

Given the numerous factors that go into hotel pricing, he couldn't say what the prices would be at the two brands. But likely a traveler would be able to get in under $200 a night, he said. (The competition is across the street and prices are varied: A search for a room in September at the nearby JW Marriott at LA Live goes as low as $219.00, according to the JW Marriott web site.)

Construction is expected to start in March 2012 on the $118 million tower, which is being developed by Portland-based development firm, Williams & Dame Development. (Marriott is managing the hotel.)

And yes, the hotel's renderings show signage, and "we have rights by entitlement," says Homer Williams, co-founder of Williams & Dame. (No surprise there--the parcel is part of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District so the project has sign rights pursuant to that adopted plan.)

As for the sticky issue of the bed tax waiver--a sometimes controversial issue--Williams says he may apply for a hotel tax break from the city. "We're looking at the program," said Williams, arguing the cost of building the hotel, with the exception of the finishes, is the same as building a condo tower. "We're probably going to ask for some type of help."

AEG sold the site to Williams & Dame, but reps for both sides declined to say the final sale price. But there was a sale that others were talking about: Sources at today's event said that the nearby site at Figueroa and Flower, which is still in escrow, is being sold to parking lot operator L&R Group of Companies. The site will continue to operate as a parking lot, according to sources. (Not the most exciting news for those wanting a condo tower or retail...or anything other than a parking lot.)

According to their web site, L&R is headquartered in Los Angeles, and is a privately held organization that operates two parking divisions: WallyPark and Joe’s Auto Parks. Phone calls to L&R weren't immediately returned.

But back to the Marriott hotel deal. It has been in the works for "years," Beutner told us, but just stalled by the poor economy. Indeed, plans first leaked out back in 2008 when LA Live's Marriott celebrated its topping-off party.

The hotel is expected to finish by March 2014, according to Williams.
· Web Site: New LA Live Hotel Will Be Marriott Courtyard, Residence Inn [Curbed LA]
· But What's Coming? Big Lot Near Staples Center in Contract [Curbed LA]