In an abrupt twist, the developer planning to convert the historic and beloved Villa Carlotta, a Spanish Colonial Revival, rent-controlled apartment building in Hollywood's Franklin Village, into a hotel has withdrawn its plans.
Facing fierce opposition from tenants and neighbors, developer CGI Properties announced its decision to reverse course Wednesday in a joint statement with Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, who represents the area. Here's what they said:
The decision was made in response to extensive community input. The collaborative, community-centric, and responsive approach from the developer CGI sets a precedent for future developments in the Fourth Council District.
There’s no word yet on what CGI plans to do now with the building, but it will continue with restoration work set to wrap up midway through next year.
Built in 1926, the landmark on Franklin Avenue once housed actress Marion Davies, director George Cukor, (My Fair Lady, A star is Born), producer David O. Selznick (Gone With the Wind), and architect Wallace Neff, and was later a "haunt for rock and roll musicians in 1960s Bohemian Hollywood," according to report prepared by land use consultants working for the developer, CGI Properties.
The announcement was unexpected given the hotel developers were poised to bring their plans to the Los Angeles City Council, had already evicted tenants, and started restoration work.
Until this summer, the Villa Carlotta housed a tight-knit community of artists and other residents of all ages. The tenants were evicted under California's Ellis Act, with the last one moving out only about two weeks ago.
Last week the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council denied the hotel project. Council members said their vote was intended to send a statement to City Hall that having affordable housing was more important, especially given the number of hotels already being built or planned in Hollywood. (The plans would have still required approval from the Los Angeles City Council).
Here's what CGI's founder and CEO, Gidi Cohen, said in the statement:
"As stewards of this beloved local treasure, we appreciate the importance of Villa Carlotta to its neighbors and the Hollywood community, as well as its place in Los Angeles’ history. We intend to honor and celebrate that legacy by meticulously working to return the building to its original grandeur. Doing so will allow this Hollywood landmark to be cherished by future generations."