Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mayor Brokers Hotel Deal! Convention Hotel Lawsuit Dropped!


Our activist Mayor is once again working miracles:

Richard Fausset Times Staff Writer October 18, 2005

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Monday that he has settled a dispute with the owners of the Bonaventure Hotel that threatened to derail plans for a newer hotel next to the unprofitable Los Angeles Convention Center.

The owners of the Bonaventure — a 1,354-room high-rise in the middle of downtown — had planned to fight the city's proposal to subsidize a competing hotel on downtown's south side.The Los Angeles City Council has agreed to provide the new hotel with up to $290 million in subsidies and loans to help breathe new life into the city-owned convention center, which receives a $20-million subsidy each year because it does not attract enough business.

The planned hotel, a Hilton, is envisioned as a key anchor to L.A. Live, a $1.7-billion "sports-entertainment" development that officials have likened to New York's Times Square.Tourism officials say the main problem facing the convention center is the dearth of nearby restaurants and hotel rooms.

But the city handouts seemed unfair to the owners of the Bonaventure, which is currently billed as "L.A.'s largest convention hotel." They challenged the deal in a lawsuit filed in April and were threatening to launch a petition drive for a ballot referendum to let voters decide the issue.Villaraigosa intervened last week, sitting down with all of the interested parties and helping them reach a compromise.

Under the terms of the agreement, the owners of the Bonaventure, who were worried about losing hotel customers, will have the option of converting up to 400 of their hotel rooms into residential condominiums. In exchange, the owners agreed to drop the lawsuit and proposed referendum. Organized labor got a guarantee that no jobs at the Bonaventure would be lost until three years after a condo conversion.

What is NOT addressed in this settlement - is what is going to be done to make Downtown LA attractive enough to tourists to make convention planners want to come here? More on that shortly.

But start thinking... Broadway...


dgarzila said...

hey I scooped this on newdowntown.

MikeZ said...

Yesterday's front-page article on LA's skid row (very rough reading) poses a serious question: is the Mayor going to do anything about it?

(The front-page photo shows a limo driving by the street corner with the outdoor toilets.)

As far as tourism goes, I don't know how far the district in question is from the Convention Center.

Anonymous said...

...the city-owned convention center...receives a $20-million subsidy each year because it does not attract enough business.

Hey, I don't do enough business. Think Hizzonor can toss me a million or two?