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New bid for Bombay site

Paul Clinton

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

the location.

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

Pass Avenue.

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.”


ROOMS: 253.

COST: $30 million.

AMENITIES: Restaurant, swimming pool, room service, in-room kitchens,

ample meeting space.

POSSIBLE OPERATOR: Marriott Residence Inn.