Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The venerable Century Plaza will close March 1 to accommodate a restoration and development project also featuring two 46-story residential towers, restaurants and retail shops, it was announced Tuesday.

Woodridge Capital Partners founder and CEO Michael Rosenfeld, who is leading the $2.5 billion project, said the hotel — where Ronald Reagan routinely stayed during his presidency — is expected to re-open in early 2018.

Situated in the heart of Century City at the intersection of Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard, the 1.5 million-square-foot hotel and mixed-use development is  adjacent to the Westfield Century City Mall and more than 10 million square feet of offices, residences, restaurants, retail and entertainment venues.

The crescent-shaped hotel designed by Minoru Yamasaki will be “meticulously restored” as a five-star property with 394 guest rooms and suites and 63 residences, according to Rosenfeld.

The open air lobby will be transformed by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg to connect public plazas and fountains to a central two-acre garden surrounded by restaurants and retail shops.

In total, there will be 100,000 square feet of retail space on the site. The two 46-story towers designed by Pei Cobb Freed will feature 290 luxury residences.

Rosenfeld also announced the successful completion of a $450 million funding package for the project.

“Mayor Eric Garcetti and his staff were instrumental in paving the way with their strong international outreach,” he said, noting that the project is expected to create thousands of construction and permanent jobs and substantially increase tax and sales revenues to the city.

Hyatt will no longer manage the hotel after it closes in March, but an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11 provides its members with an opportunity to return to the hotel upon its reopening, according to Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld’s Next Century Associates, LLC worked on the project with input from Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, neighboring homeowners associations, Century City business stakeholders and organized labor.

The Century Plaza opened in 1966. Rising from the backlot of 20th Century Fox Studios, the hotel has hosted a wide range of politicians, foreign dignitaries and celebrities over the years, as well as every United States president since its opening.

The hotel was the residence of choice for Reagan, who stayed at the hotel so often that the press named it the “Western White House.” He chose a high-rise nearby for his penthouse offices after leaving Washington.

Republicans and Democrats often held fund-raising events there, including Gov. Jerry Brown during his first two terms in office during the 1970s. However the hotel became infamous in the 1960s when an appearance by President Lyndon B. Johnson inside the hotel took place while a full-scale riot occurred outside along Avenue of the Stars. Numerous anti-Vietnam war protesters were met with force by hundreds of Los Angeles police officers. Dozens of civilians sustained injuries in the controversial melee.

The hotel has hosted the Grammy Awards and the “Dinner of the Century” in 1969 honoring the first astronauts to reach the moon.

Los Angeles-based Woodridge Capital Partners owns hotel, resort, residential and commercial properties throughout the country, including the Fairmont San Francisco hotel, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel and Stanford Court in San Francisco and the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua, Maui.

— City News Service 

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