Downtown's Ace Hotel has been open for less than a full calendar year and seems like it's doing ok, but now it's suddenly up for sale. Greenfield Partners, the Chicago-based firm that owns the historic United Artists building that holds the Ace, is supposedly asking around $100 million (or $550,000 per guest room at the 182-room hotel), reports the LA Business Journal. If they can get that price, it will be a huge windfall for Greenfield, which paid just $11 million back in 2011. (Even then it was a deal; the property had been listed in '09 for $15 million.) The surprising listing leads the LABJ to wonder in its headline if the "Ace [is] in the hole."
The marketing brochure suggests some "value enhancement opportunities" for potential buyers, citing the recently reopened, completely gorgeous United Artists Theatre (now a live music/film screening venue called The Theatre at the Ace Hotel) as a potential moneymaker. But while that same section identifies the Ace brand as an asset—after all, it targets the young, hip, rich people that seem to be showing up more and more in Downtown—it also ends by saying,"new ownership can acquire the hotel unencumbered by brand and management, subject to a termination fee."
There's no mention of what that termination fee might be, but perhaps it's exorbitant. For better and worse, the Ace has been transformative on lower Broadway; its arrival in January 2014 was a huge factor in the rapid fancification of the street, as it brought with it upscale brands that attracted other upscale brands, and that's why you can now buy pricey Swedish jeans on this stretch.
The handsome United Artists building, designed by Walker & Eisen, opened its doors in 1927. The theater was designed by C. Howard Crane for the UA partners, Hollywood heavyweights Mary Pickford, DW Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks. The building's instantly recognizable Jesus Saves sign was erected decades ago by the Wescott Christian Center, also a previous tenant of the building.
· Ace in the Hole? Downtown Hotel Listed for Sale [LABJ]
· Ace Hotel archives [Curbed LA]
· Here's Your First Look Inside Broadway's Brand New Ace Hotel [Curbed LA]
· Inside the New Ace Hotel's Dazzling Old United Artists Theatre [Curbed LA]