New Projects Will Mean a Major Surge in WeHo Hotel Rooms

New hotels approved for construction in West Hollywood will increase the 2,058 hotel rooms in the city by nearly 50 percent in the next few years. And several other projects in other areas of WeHo that are not yet approved but under discussion would boost that increase to 62 percent.

The increase in hotel rooms has raised questions among hotel owners and managers about the impact on their occupancy rates and thus their profits. A study published last year by STR Global Inc., a hotel research group, reports WeHo hotel occupancy rates were up 6.4 percent in 2013 to 82 percent. That compares with 77 percent occupancy during that period in greater Los Angeles as a whole. An analysis by the city’s Finance and Technology Services Department last year said most West Hollywood hotels reported occupancy rates of nearly 95 percent in July and August 2014.

Rendering of Robertson Lane Hotel as seen from Robertson Boulevard. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)
Rendering of proposed Robertson Lane Hotel as seen from Robertson Boulevard. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)

On Monday the City Council will be asked to allocate up to $35,000 to study West Hollywood’s hotel market and determine the number of rooms the market actually can sustain. The study also will examine the impact of new hotel rooms and changes in occupancy rates on the city’s hotel room occupancy tax, which is the largest source of revenue for the city’s general fund. Those taxes were responsible for 26 percent of the general fund revenue budgeted for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The proposed study would look at the impact of new hotels under construction or planned in the city for the fiscal years 2016-17 through 2020-21. It will examine the impact by hotel type, price point, target market and geographic area (Sunset Strip, Design District/western Santa Monica Boulevard, Mid-City and Eastside). The study also will provide occupancy rates and hotel occupancy tax revenue projections for the new hotels.

Because of the hotel boom on Sunset Boulevard, the reputation of the Sunset Strip as a center of nightlife (and particularly rock music) has begun to change. A study published last year by Businessweek said the sound that best identifies it the Sunset Strip this year is not rock music but the sound of “buildings being demolished and new ones developed.”

The new hotels under construction are:

Kimpton, 627 N. La Peer, 105 rooms. Anticipated opening late 2016

James Hotel, Southeast corner of Sunset and La Cienega boulevards, 286 rooms. Anticipated opening late 2016.

Edition Hotel, Southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Doheny, 148 rooms. Anticipated opening early 2018.

Hotels projects that have been approved by the city but where construction has not begun are:

San Vicente Inn, 837-849 and 850 San Vicente Blvd., 32 rooms (three added to current 29). The project currently is under litigation.

Sunset Time, 8430 Sunset Blvd. at Olive, 149 rooms.

Hotel projects under review by city staff include:

8950 Sunset, 8950 Sunset Blvd., 165 rooms.

Robertson Lane, Robertson south of Santa Monica Boulevard, 250 rooms.

7811 Santa Monica, 7811 Santa Monica Blvd., 81 rooms.


14 Comments
  1. If we live anywhere near impact zone of 7811 we can forever say goodbye to peace and quiet, a decent quality of life and the things that make up the character of our neighborhood.

    We can say hello to increased gridlock, hundreds of transient tourists who care nothing about our neighborhood, truck traffic, microclimates, parking problems, and stretched services including fire, law enforcement, traffic enforcement and first responders to emergencies.

    This project has no precedent of its kind anywhere in this City, straddling two residential neighborhoods, so why should we allow it to set any kind of realistic example if it is in our power to halt it now. 7811 will cut into and through our neighborhood in cookie cutter fashion in an attempt by developers to put a square peg in a round hole. Scores of parking spaces will be lost. An establishment that serves alcohol will be butted up against a school.

    Compliance is not an easy do. The 7811 project outpaces available enforcement necessary to provide compliance with new and existing ordinances and covenants between the City and new businesses. Enforcement for the sake of compliance is already stretched in our City. The project stretches further the ratio of our law enforcement personnel to resident, the ratio of traffic officers to vehicles and the ratio of first responders to each and every one of us while creating more gridlock which will impede and slow down the arrival of these critical services to the elderly and others. I visited one of the east end fire stations. They are already inundated with phone calls and this before the megaliths already constructed are filled to the brim with residents. They have to take roundabout ways when they are on an emergency call just to avoid the gridlock that is West Hollywood. Does this then slow their response? In addition, what kind of oxymoron is this project to the anti grid lock signs the city has placed at nearby major intersections?

    7811 will diminish the quality of life and the enjoyment of the neighborhood for some while destroying it for others within the immediate impact zone and beyond. Picture: residential trash trucks, commercial trash trucks and commercial delivery trucks all lining up. Hear on Orange Grove the sounding of their alarms: beep, beep, beep every day in addition to those trucks already servicing Whole Foods.

    Scores of our residents, their dwellings and the properties on which we live will be cast into artificial darkness with 2 PM highrise sunsets, will experience the suffocating sensation of the cessation of our westerly breeze and will say a fond goodbye to real sunsets on the western horizon which will vanish behind over seventy feet of concrete and steel. A microclimate will be created because The 7811 Project will dwarf all surrounding structures effectively engulfing them with a fishbowl effect made of steel, concrete and glass.

    Residents of Ogden Drive, Orange Grove and Genesee, if we think we have trouble now exiting our neighborhood to get to work in the morning just wait for the inception and completion of 7811. Exit onto SMB from any of these streets is already nearly impossible and many times requires illegal maneuvers of a third world nature.

    Structural damage to existing buildings in high impact areas is inevitable because they were not built to withstand the rigors of the construction of 7811. How can the City allow the tearing down of affordable housing where elderly, disabled veterans under rent control abide for 7811 and then query us by email survey about the lack of affordable housing in West Hollywood? Developers have not acquired the proper parcels of land to merit the approval of such a project. A seven story project would not normally be allowed on this site. The reason the developers are able to build 7811 seven stories high is that they included in their plan nine units of affordable housing, but 7811 will level nine or more units of affordable housing already in existence and occupied by elderly, disabled veterans who are under rent control. By merely replacing what is already there the City will grant the variance to far exceed what would normally be allowed.

    We will have 24 hour permit parking and pay for it. We will have fewer street parking spaces. People will park illegally in spite of signs as they do now. Orange Grove will become a one way street. Our neighborhood will be overrun with tourists who have no stake in our neighborhood and who therefore care nothing about its upkeep or the quality of life of the residents who inhabit it. Our neighborhood will loose much of its character.

    When the City parking lot is taken away from Orange Grove where will the droves of Whole Foods patrons park? The lot available to them is already a cluster and the truth is that The 7811 Project is perfect for the corner of SMB and Fairfax BUT NOT straddling two residential streets. The encroachment upon residents right to maintain their quality of life, the enjoyment of their property and the character of their neighborhood by the City and its developers must cease. Our quality of life shall not be taken in trade for your dollar. 7811 is ill-conceived, misplaced, misbegotten and should never leave it’s planning stages unless it is moved to a proper location where peoples lives and their quality of life will not be destroyed.

  2. FYI, West Hollywood’s transient occupancy tax is 12-1/2%, except for whatever constitutes the West Hollywood Tourist Improvement District (I’m assuming this is the Sunset Strip) where a total of 15-1/2% may be charged. For reference, LA City transient occupancy tax is 14%, Beverly Hills is 14%, Santa Monica is 14% and unincorporated LA County is 12%.

  3. The hotels are not the problem for affordable housing. Air BnB/VRBO on the other hand has a serious impact on affordable housing.

    Think about it. Venice has 1-2 small inns and i’m sure are constantly booked. But Venice want’s to ban Air BnB why? no parking and it takes up much needed housing stock.

    Hotels don’t have anything to do with affordable housing. A room rate for $600 a night doesn’t impact the annual rent for apartment rentals…if it does i’d like to have it explained here. Wheras if an apt that was rented for 1500 a month comes up – the landlord has to ask – do i hire a mgr and rent it short term at 150-200 a night and if i rent it 15 days out of a month i make more than i would renting it long term.

    The Hotels and mixed use projects, in fact make WeHo a much more desirable place to live.

    I think the argument is density.

    There seems to be a big question with whether density is good or bad for the city. Clearly the more density the less one needs to drive, thus more density makes for more convenience in a neighborhood. Traffic in WeHo is marginally impacted by development in actual weho. A hotel for instance…the traffic is spread out over all hours as opposed to a huge condo/apt complex where average flow of traffic would be in the morning hours and the evening hours…typical rush hour patterns.

    So if people are concerned about traffic they should want more hotels than housing…weird as that sounds. But there lies the conflict.
    You can’t have it both ways. – affordable housing is built off the developers and hotels that provide the lions share of funding for affordable housing. However affordable housing or any type of sizable housing units built in Weho will definitely add to the traffic woes.

    The reality is some people like to rant on here about what weho looked like 20 years ago or more. It doesn’t look like that anymore…The demographics are changing. If you lived on Christopher St and Bleeker 30 years ago…The neighborhood changed…no gay nightlife or streetlife exists there as one knew it.

    Times change neighborhoods change…I for one like the direction that WeHo is transitioning into – Fashion Beauty nightlife and glamour – along with great residential neighborhoods.

    1. Thank you. You are 100% correct and beautifully succinct in your writing.

      Any reference I made to so many new hotel rooms versus low income housing, was meant to point out the years of never ending declarations from City Hall that they are committed to creating affordable housing units, when in fact they caused the shortage due to the imposed rent control when the city was created.

      I have a double degree in Business and Economics from UCLA. The entire field of Economics starts with and can be summed up in full by teaching the analysis of RENT CONTROL.

      It is not a dem/repub issue. It is not a liberal/conservative issue. It is not a have/s/have not;s issue, nor rich people and poor people.

      The “science” of Economics has universally confirmed that RENT CONTROL is an UNSUSTAINABLE process of creating a means off creating enough low income housing for the need of the poor, disabled,, injured or have been born into the poverty side of our society.

      Yet to blur the current overgrowth of new hotels apts/condos that are high end, the city ramble on about RENT CONTROL.

      The City (many people can say many things about JOhn Heilman, but he can not be call “Stupid” He is very intelligent, educated, informed and knew by offering Rent Control in the 80’s, the price will be paid some day long in the future. The known results of Rent Control are now what has become of weho rental properties.

      There has been a 30 year decline in upkeep, maintenance and willingness to continue to own property and be prohibited fro making a fair return on the money invested in the business of being an Landlord.

      We have seen all the apartment units that made up the overwhelming vast majority of people voting on creating the city of weho or not, in the 1980’s.

      If the city were in any way serious about Low Income Housing – they have spent 30 years watching the rental housing stock of weho deteriorate, be converted to condos, or redeveloped into other use, without a single effort or plan to prevent the KNOWN ECONOMIC FACT that the results of imposed rent control will have the opposite end result and reduce the number and ability for low income people to find anywhere in weho they could afford.

      BUT YOU SAID IT MUCH BETTER. I opposes the open Hypocrisy still going on to date, from the city about low income housing needs, while only working to reduce the number, and increase both the expensive hotel and condos – and YES, all in all, the property owners living in weho will benefit from the increase in their property values as the city becomes more and more nothing but rich hotels and condos.

    1. and West Hollywood is not Las Vegas. Sorry Larry but that was pointless. Of course we have smaller hotels. We are not as big a tourist attraction and if somebody wanted to build a giant hotel like that here, all hell would break loose. A public uprising would occur like this City has never seen.

  4. The hotel industry already knows that “the number of rooms the market actually can sustain” is much higher than the current number. Otherwise they wouldn’t be investing big money in more hotels. Same in the Hollywood area. I bet they don’t need a $35.000 study to tell them that. Looks like AirBnB is hardly having an impact on hotel occupancy.
    The finer points of the study will hopefully be more useful for us to learn about.

    Correction: Robo parking is currently at $18 million.

  5. I think the time to study this was before they approved all these new hotels. Our City, in this case, is doing things ass backwards.

    1. @Allison I am surprised to see a real and true comment on this blog. Thanks. All the trite boxed answers that don’t really address the issues (like “I , I don’t think an increase in hotel rooms affects affordability in the area” has me thinking there is only the PARTY LINE WEHO BACKERS who will never say anything about the real issues in weho)

      The Hotels seemed to get approval with no meetiings, reviews or delays, yet small condo projects get hammered in endless “planning meetings” which is all a dog and pony show so the big money can put up the big hotels, with no endless stupid planning reviews.

      The key – the hotel tax in weho is unbelievable. I had to stay 2 nights when my bld was fumigated. It is around 18% of the daily 200-300 dollar a night rooms, plus the extras.

      Wonder why it works. It works the way the American system works. People only do things for their own monetary profit. So why would the city council members and city manager go to such efforts to get the hotels built? For the city to have an even bigger bankroll???? Or is there some other financial reason the time, effort and city assets, money and attorneys fees are spent to help the hotels and mega mixed use construction going up.

      Or perhaps there is some philithropical reason the city is spending money, raising parking tickets, building $16 million dollar robo garages in the one lot where there was never a parking shortage, behind city hall??

      I am less out raged about low income housing, than the results of the city being so wealthy and still courting the largest developer to overbuild every spot in weho.

      But this blog seems to lean way toward city hall, and “poo-poo’s” contrary factual opinions that not more than a handful of people ever read.

      Thanks for making a real and true comment.

      1. You’re welcome. I always make real comments on here. I can answer one of your queries. They (the City) help the mixed use projects because that is where the low income housing comes from. They approve variances to make them bigger in exchange for low income units. That alone relieves the City from having to build any of their own. It is my belief that the Robogarage is a total waste of money, but I hear talk of them wanting to build more of them across the City in the future. We, the people, need to stand up and let them know we do not approve.

  6. Yes, I don’t think an increase in hotel rooms affects affordability in the area. It offers more rooms to compete with AirBNB, and people need to remember that people don’t just stay in West Hollywood to visit West Hollywood. This city is central to many places in Los Angeles, and people from the entertainment industry, businesses, as well as tourists all have a desire to stay here. I see now problem with it. If anything, it strengthens the local economy.

  7. Jonathan, money is required to build affordable housing, and more money from hotel rooms may mean more money that we can spend for affordable housing.

  8. I don’t see how all these NEW hotel rooms fulfill the City’s self proclaimed commitment to creating more affordable and low income housing units, to protect the poor, disabled and elderly, which is the kind of population that makes weho the unique community of arts, culture and acceptance of all.

    Creating close to 1000 new high end expensive hotel rooms for visitors to weho, IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO ALL WEHO RESIDENTS WHO BELIEVE THE CITY WILL WORK TO CREATE A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF AFFORDABLE/LOW INCOME HOUSING UNITS!

    I am not surprised. I’ve been watching the city work directly with the hotel and mixed use projects, while creating a relative nominal number of low income housing units, but congratulating themselves for keeping that meaningless diatribe about the city’s commitment to what THEY made up.

    (I am not against development. We live in a market economy, with rules to prevent overbuilding. weho just changed those rules in 2011, by getting enormous zoning size increases for large commercial developments.)

Comments are closed.