Downtown gentrification, you've done it again! As the action moves south, hotel developers are apparently tripping over themselves to get their hands on the long-vacant Commercial Exchange building at Eighth Street and Olive. The 1924 building "has been mostly empty for at least two decades," according to the LA Times, but in the past few weeks "more than 100 potential buyers have toured the property." The broker says "We've got a lot of boutique hotels looking at this," but there's also interest in apartments, creative offices (always!), and student housing. City officials and local business people have been pushing for hotelification in this area and especially in neighboring South Park (near the Convention Center), where there's already a double Marriott and a boutique hotel on the way (and plans for even more). The CommEx is a pretty interesting building--it's 13 stories now, but in the mid-thirties, owners "were obligated to remove a nearly 10-foot slice from the middle of the building" in order to create space to widen Olive Street. It was also once home to Owl Drug Company and to Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs's publishing company. Asking price now is $13.9 million and "The sellers expect to arrange a deal by next month."
· The Commercial Exchange Building [CBRE]
· Downtown historic high-rise eyed by hotel developers [LAT]