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$2.5-billion makeover of Century Plaza Hotel is set to start in March

$2.5-billion makeover of Century Plaza Hotel is set to start in March
After a $2.5-billion overhaul, the Century Plaza Hotel will include two 46-story residential towers. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will operate the hotel. (Next Century Associates)

A long-planned $2.5-billion overhaul of the Century Plaza Hotel and adjacent land in Century City, including the addition of two 46-story residential towers, is set to begin March 1.

When completed in early 2018, the 49-year-old landmark will be remodeled in hopes of becoming a five-star hotel, with the total room count reduced to 394 from 726, according to Woodridge Capital Partners, which is leading the project.

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The two towers, located behind the crescent-shaped hotel, will feature 290 luxury residences.

Under the makeover plan, an open-air lobby will connect public plazas and fountains to a central two-acre garden surrounded by restaurants and about 100,000 square feet of retail space.

The project was announced in 2010 and won Los Angeles City Council approval in 2013. The developer is Next Century Associates of Los Angeles and the architect is Pei Cobb Freed Partners, along with several other consultants.

The hotel is now operated by Hyatt Hotel Corp. but a new operator, yet to be announced, will take over once the hotel renovation is completed.

The hotel employs about 500 workers, who will be offered a chance to apply for their jobs once the hotel reopens.

The hotel saw its heyday in the 1960s.

An opening charity gala in 1966 was hosted by comedian Bob Hope and featured singer Andy Williams. The guests included Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Walt and Lillian Disney.

A year later, police clashed with thousands of Vietnam War demonstrators when President Lyndon Johnson spoke at a Democratic fundraiser at the hotel.

President Richard Nixon hosted a state dinner at the hotel's ballroom in 1969 to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing by astronauts.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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