UCLA has big plans to put a $152 million hotel and conference center on the site of parking structure six, near Pauley Pavilion--officials say "the school needs a larger conference center for academic events and more rooms to accommodate guests," according to the LA Business Journal (sub. req.). The building would be seven stories, 255,000 square feet, and include 250 hotel rooms. But here's the rub: rooms are set to be priced around $185 per night, "about $35 less than the average rate of $219 in the larger Westside-Santa Monica region." Plus, guests won't have to pay occupancy taxes that they'd (theoretically) pay at a private hotel, since the building would be publicly owned. That's making the local hoteliers nervous; they say "the price advantage would lure away UCLA visitors, who make up about 40 percent of customers for some nearby inns."
The school says they will only take in UCLA visitors and that "the center would attract more visitors for the hotels because the school would be able to host additional conferences." Vice Chancellor Steve Olsen tells the LABJ that the university actually thinks there's a shortage of rooms around campus, with the closet hotels constantly close to capacity.
This isn't the first challenge the conference center has faced. The original center would have had 282 rooms and replaced the faculty center near Hilgard, but neighbors complained. The latest plan was presented last November and includes a restaurant, business center, fitness center, and 125 subterranean parking spots, according to the project website.
The center will be funded with about half of a $100 million donation made last year by Meyer and Renee Luskin. Another $112 million will be funded by bonds. If approved, groundbreaking is planned for summer 2013 and completion for winter 2016. The conference center plan goes before the UC Board of Regents on March 27.
· Westwood Innkeepers See No Room for UCLA Hotel [LABJ, sub. req.]
· Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center [Official Site]