The renovation of Downtown Los Angeles' infamous Hotel Cecil is expected to begin before the end of 2019, according to a staff report submitted to the CRA/LA Governing Board.
The 14-story building, located at 640 S. Main Street, was completed in the early 1920s as a posh hotel catering to business travelers, but gradually transitioned to serving a transient population. Today, the Cecil is improved with 299 hotel rooms - branded "Stay on Main" - and 301 units of single-room occupancy (SRO) housing, the vast majority of which is vacant.
Simon Baron Development, which controls the property on a 99-year ground lease, to rehabilitate all of the hotel rooms - adding bathrooms to each room - and retrofitting major building systems. Downtown-based Omgivning has been tapped to design the renovation.
New York-based Simon Baron has partnered with Skid Row Housing Trust, which will assist with developing and managing the SRO units. Under the proposed arrangement, the developers will repurpose 10 existing units as offices for on-site supportive services. Additionally 30 units are to be removed from the building - creating space for manager's apartments and hotel amenities - and rebuilt in an adjacent building no earlier than July 1, 2028. If the 30 replacement units cannot be provided at the off-site location, Simon Baron would instead be required to convert 18 hotel rooms on the Cecil's eighth floor to SRO housing and pay an in-lieu fee to account for the remaining 12 apartments.
The 291 SRO units expected to remain after the completion of construction will range between 100 and 200 square feet in size. According to the staff report, all will be made affordable to households earning at or below 30, 40, 50, and 60 percent of the Los Angeles area median income level.
Though the Cecil's apartments are almost entirely vacant, the building's nine residents may be temporarily relocated during the course of construction. All would be allowed to return to the Cecil after work is complete.
Simon Barn expects to secure financing for the rehabilitation by the end of 2019. Construction is expected to occur over approximately 20 months, with completion anticipated in October 2021 and full occupancy by June 2022.
The Cecil has developed a sinister reputation over its 95 years of existence, being the site of numerous suicides, murders, and mysterious deaths. In 2016, it served as the inspiration of the fifth season of the television series "American Horror Story."
- Downtown (Urbanize LA)