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Why Does LA Give So Much Money Away to Hotel Developers?

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Los Angeles's going to be asking voters to approve a sales tax increase to fund some multi-billion dollar, long-overdue street repairs, but it's also considering giving huge tax breaks to four Downtown hotel projects built by private developers, and people aren't so happy about that. A city committee this week voted to go ahead with a study of possible incentives for the proposed Renaissance Hotel in South Park (these "incentives" usually translate to developers keeping hotel or sales taxes that they should be paying to the city), says the Daily News. The Macy's Plaza remodel in the Financial District, a hotel near LA Live, and the Grand Avenue Project's residential component—all projects that are in the works and developers clearly want to build—might also get tax breaks. As supporters of these tax break see it, the projects couldn't or wouldn't be built without these "incentives." But opponents think it's ridiculous to give money away to private companies when you don't even have enough to fix your streets. The Renaissance Hotel's developer says that it's "extremely challenging and expensive to build a new hotel project from the ground up in a large urban area," and says that's why there's a shortage of Downtown hotels. The city also recently handed out tax breaks to the Village at Westfield Topanga that allowed the developer to keep as much as $59 million; two years ago, the South Park Courtyard by Marriott got a similar deal that allowed it to hold on to up to $67 million. Is there anybody who doesn't get a sweet tax break? Apparently, Rick Caruso's Beverly Center-adjacent 8500 Burton Way (*an apartment building) didn't, and neither did the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel makeover (*despite its name, located in LA proper). And they seem just fine.
· Road tax opponents angered by possible financial breaks for downtown developers [LADN]
· LA Begging For 4,000 New Hotel Rooms Around LA Live [Curbed LA]

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