South Park won't be getting that teeny park on Hope between Eleventh and Twelfth, but it will be getting one of those hotels everyone is constantly saying the area needs. A group of new owners--including retired life insurance salesman Kevin Burke, the Hours guitarist Antony Genn, Pasadena lawyer Brian Okazaki, and Redondo Beach investor Rick Son--plan to turn the rundown mess of a building at 1130 S. Hope into a boutique hotel, reports the LA Times. The city had hoped to buy the 0.18-acre property and turn it into a park, but at some point last year, the group managed to buy it instead, for $2.1 million. (Apparently that was not an easy process--no one seemed to know who owned the building and "The picture was complicated by more than a dozen liens from contractors, developers, lawyers and others who did work involving the building." The Luma developers had tried to buy the property at some point, but failed.) According to Loopnet, the building was built in 1909 and formerly had 38 residential units.
The new owners say they'll spend about $25 million turning the three-story ruins into 45- to 60-room "boutique hotel with a creative sensibility where they would enjoy hanging out with worldly guests." (Genn, in fact, is the "vibe consultant.") An architect is already working on plans, and they hope to keep the building's exterior brick walls. The interior doesn't sound worth saving--it's been "damaged by neglect, water leaks and vandalism" and there are holes in the roof and pigeons everywhere. They also plan to have an artist-in-residence program at the hotel.
This is certainly not the only plan underway for a South Park hotel--the double Marriott tower is set to break ground soon, and Hampton Inn has been sniffing around a site by the Convention Center. A car wash at the prime Fig/Olympic corner has also seen a lot of interest from hotel developers.
· Downtown L.A. building set to go from drug den to luxury inn [LAT]