TRANSPORTATION CENTER -- A Los Angeles developer has revived plans to
build a downtown hotel almost three months after the City Council quashed
his earlier bid.
Karl Sternbaum, president of the Accord Group, said Thursday he wants
to build a 12-story, 253-room hotel -- 53 more rooms than the earlier
proposal -- on the site of the former Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant.
The Planning Board is scheduled to review Sternbaum’s approximately
$30-million project Dec. 13.
On Sept. 14, the City Council rejected Sternbaum’s first proposal
because it didn’t conform to the city’s 250-room requirement for the
site. At the time, council members said Sternbaum’s project -- an
extended-stay hotel with several enhancements including a restaurant --
was being disguised as a full-service facility.
Sternbaum said his latest proposal gives the council a project that
meets its requirements for the property at the northwest corner of First
Street and Verdugo Avenue.
“This looks like a full-service hotel,” Sternbaum said. “It smells
like a full-service hotel.”
Sternbaum said he is negotiating with Marriott for a Residence Inn at
Councilman David Laurell welcomed Sternbaum’s latest plan, but said it
still falls short of what the council originally envisioned for the site.
“Our city has a need for an extended-stay facility,” Laurell said. “My
only hope is that the look of the project is an upscale look that
complements the downtown area.”
Sternbaum said his hotel would have an Art Deco look to match City
Hall and other historic downtown buildings. According to the terms of
his deed agreement, Sternbaum would be permitted to build a 250-room
hotel on the site without the council’s approval. However, Sternbaum is
seeking the council’s support for a number of changes, including
adjustments to the height of the building and how far it sits from the
In 1983, the Redevelopment Agency sold the 1.73-acre property to
Associated Hosts Development Co. for $500,000 to build the Bombay Bicycle
Club. The restaurant filed for bankruptcy about 18 months ago.
After an earlier proposal by another developer fell through, Sternbaum
negotiated an agreement with Associated Hosts to buy the property for $4
Sternbaum’s proposal joins at least three other hotels planned for the
nearby Burbank Village in the near future, with a fourth targeted for
Former Councilman Ted McConkey said hotel operators will be wary of
the glut and the possibility of an overly competitive market. He said he
doubted all four downtown hotels would be built.
“It isn’t going to work,” McConkey said. “You’ve got to take the
eternal optimism of the developers and lace it with a bit of reality.”
But Community Development Director Bob Tague said the downtown economy
can support the projects.
“There’s always a big push for hotels,” Tague said. “There’s a market
for these hotels.”
COST: $30 million.
AMENITIES: Restaurant, swimming pool, room service, in-room kitchens,
ample meeting space.
POSSIBLE OPERATOR: Marriott Residence Inn.