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Three historic downtown Los Angeles hotels sold to developers

March 04, 2012|By Roger Vincent

A trio of run-down, century-old hotels in downtown Los Angeles was sold to developers who hope to clean them up and make them attractive to young artistic types.

A partnership called Bristol 423 bought the Baltimore, King Edward and Leland hotels at a bankruptcy auction for $9.8 million, real estate broker Matt Case of Madison Partners said.

The hotels around the intersection of 5th and Los Angeles streets were built between 1904 and 1910 when Southern Pacific Railroad’s nearby station on Alameda Street was a key point of entry to the city, downtown historian Greg Fischer said.

The single-room-occupancy hotels with a total of 415 rooms will remain low-income housing, said Eric Shomof, a partner in Bristol 423 with Izek Shomof and Naty Saidoff. Their plans call for cosmetic improvements, enhanced security and the addition of ground-floor shops.

"We’ll try to bring back their original looks as much as possible," while adding lots of lights, Shomof said.

Drawing businesses to 5th Street will improve a part of downtown that has been dodgy for decades, Shomof said. "At night it’s very dark and people are standing around doing drug deals."

Plans call for offering cheap rent to retailers who will open restaurants, dry cleaners and other neighborhood-serving businesses. The strategy worked close by on Spring Street, where the developers control many of the buildings on a block between 6th and 7th streets, Shomof said.

That stretch is thriving now with restaurants, shops and nightclubs, but Shomof said he literally couldn’t give away retail space there when he first tried more than a decade ago.

Existing tenants in the three old hotels will not be evicted unless they break the law, he said. "We will not tolerate drug dealing."

He does, however, plan to target struggling artists, musicians and actors as future tenants, he said. "Los Angeles is a place where a lot of people come to try to make it."


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