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Planning commission rejects plan for brick-clad hotel near USC

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The restaurant wasn’t big enough

Figueroa Street is in the midst of a big makeover that will make it more far more inviting for pedestrians and cyclists, so a couple of city planning commissioners were dismayed Thursday to see plans for a hotel on the street without a first-floor restaurant and “woefully inadequate” bike parking.

They rejected the project on a 4-2 vote. Those plans called for a seven-story hotel with 18 bike parking spots and a small, 1,400-square-foot cafe on the first floor.

“It does not engage the street, one of the few great streets in the city,” said commissioner Dana Perlman, who cast one of the two votes against it. “Not having a restaurant is a loss. Without a restaurant, I can’t support it.”

Underway now, the MyFig makeover is adding protected bike lanes, bike-only traffic signals, bus platforms, and zebra-striped crosswalks to a roughly three-mile stretch of Figueroa, from Seventh Street in Downtown LA to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South LA.

The hotel in question would sprout up on that stretch, at Figueroa and 31st Street, replacing the Vagabond Inn motel, which was built in 1963.

Commissioners said they actually really liked the project, but wanted to postpone their vote to tweak the plans, mainly to make that first-floor commercial space more inviting to people walking and biking past it. Reps for the developers and investors didn’t want a delay; with the commission’s rejection, they can appeal to the City Council.

With less room needed for cars, streets would be freed up for bike lanes or public space
A rendering of a bus platform and protected bike lane on Figueroa.