In 2018, an overhaul of the historic Mayfair Hotel in Westlake brought the 1920s landmark back to life. Five years and one pandemic later, it is slated to continue operating in a different fashion.
In a 12-2 vote on August 18, the Los Angeles City Council moved last week to support Mayor Karen Bass' proposal to acquire the 1920s Mayfair Hotel to permanently repurpose the nearly century-old landmark as interim housing.
“We need to do all that we can to get Angelenos off the streets and into temporary housing as fast as possible while permanent housing is still being built. The proposed purchase of the Mayfair is an important step toward that goal. I want to thank Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, Council leadership and the Chairs of the Council Committee on Housing and Homelessness, Government Operations, and Budget, Finance and Innovation for partnering with me to bring people inside and save lives through a citywide approach,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass in a news release. “Together, with actions like this, we can sustain our momentum toward confronting the homelessness crisis.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the plan from Mayor Bass is to acquire the Mayfair for $60 million and then invest in $23 million in upgrades to the 294-room hotel. That money is not inclusive of roughly $11.5 million which was already paid out to the owners of the Mayfair to account for damage to the building during its two-year stint as temporary homeless housing during the pandemic.
While the plan from Bass received the backing of City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who represents Westlake, that came only after she outlined numerous critiques of the plan - particularly security issues which surrounded the Mayfair when operating under Project Roomkey during the pandemic, as well as the fact that homeless residents in Hernandez’s 1st Council District will not have access to the hotel. The Mayfair is instead slated to serve as housing for homeless residents from Skid Row, many of whom currently live in the L.A. Grand Hotel on Figueroa Street.
In a news release, Bass outlined operational changes to aimed at addressing some of the issues raised by Hernandez. Under the mayor's plan, the Mayfair would instead operate under the flag of the Inside Safe initiative, which includes provisions for on-site supportive services such as medical care, mental health treatment, and substance abuse treatment. Likewise, the facility would have full-time security staff, and provide residents with access to on-site amenities and common areas.
While the city will now move forward with a purchase agreement, with a target of closing escrow of August 13, planning and programming for the Mayfair are still in development. In a news release, Mayor Bass indicated that the upcoming process would involve community engagement, as well as a selection of service providers for the facility.
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