Lower Grand Avenue: the new Spring Street? Probably not, but there's lots of good news for this moribund stretch of downtown. Earlier today we learned developer Sonny Astani was selling his entitlements at Eighth and Grand, with work possibly starting later this year on the giant mixed-use project there. Now, Brigham Yen reports that right next door at Ninth and Grand, the Embassy Hotel/Trinity Auditorium--site of a planned Gansevoort West that never got off the ground--will become the Empire Hotel (mysterious workers were spotted at the auditorium in October), and possibly be operated by King & Grove. K&G run a handful of ritzy New York hotels and one in Miami (think a more upscale, slightly older Ace chain) and will be operating the Chetrit-owned Hotel Clark at Fourth and Hill. The Empire (shades of Gossip Girl!) will be the latest incarnation for the nine-story, 1914 Beaux Arts stunner once known as the Trinity Auditorium (and also owned by Chetrit). According to city documents, there will be 183 rooms, a bunch of restaurants, bars/lounges, pool deck, and two health spas. Maybe most interesting are plans for an outdoor garden/restaurant that's currently the sight of a dirt lot. A nine-foot high "decorative" wall will protect garden-goers from downtown plebeians.
· Historic Trinity Auditorium to Become “Empire Hotel” in Downtown LA [Brigham Yen]