The Commercial Exchange building at Eighth and Olive in Downtown LA will open in late February or early March as Sydell Group’s Freehand LA, reps for the project tell Curbed.
Hostels tend to be funky, but the Freehand brand markets itself as cool. And Sydell Group, which brought LA Koreatown's The Line hotel, has experience in cool.
Kaitlin Kominsky with M18 Public Relations says most of the 226 rooms in the Freehand LA will be private, but 59 will be shared. Because of the mix of rooms, the rep says the Freehand is more of a hotel/hostel hybrid than a traditional hostel. Rooms will share the Freehand with a rooftop pool and lounge, a lobby with a bar, and two restaurants. (Eater LA has the details on the food and drink offerings.)
The Freehand LA is designed by Roman & Williams with Killefer Flammang as the project’s architect. (Roman & Williams was also behind the first Freehand, in Miami.)
The Commercial Exchange building was originally designed by Walker & Eisen—also the architects for the building now known as the Ace Hotel and the fabulous Art Deco Oviatt building. It sat mostly empty for two decades, though it wasn’t totally ignored. A few developers eyed it for renovation, and Sydell Group bought it in 2014.
Before its decades of vacancy, it housed the publishing house of Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs and the headquarters of the Owl drugstore chain.