Night Stalker killer Richard Ramirez reportedly lived there for a time during his bloody rampage in the 1970s and 1980s. He even supposedly disposed of his bloodied clothes in the trash chute. Other macabre events took place in the building, including the discovery of the body of a missing young woman in a water tank on the hotel’s roof.
The plan for the hotel is yet another example of the development boom sweeping downtown, where old buildings are being revamped and new hotel and condo towers erected, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
“We are gutting the entire building,” Matthew M. Baron, president of Simon Baron Development, which this month signed a 99-year ground lease with the building’s owner, 248 Haynes Hotel Associates, told The Times. “We are going to redevelop it from the doorway to the roof and everything in between.”
But the transformation of the hotel, which served as an inspiration for a season of “American Horror Story” — could prove controversial. The Cecil, a 600-room tourist and residential hotel, has been the subject of litigation in recent years as housing advocates looked to preserve cheap residential hotel units in an increasingly gentrifying downtown, according to The Times.
An effort was also launched to turn most of the building into housing for the homeless, though the plan collapsed amid opposition from downtown business leaders.
Today, the 1920s building is home to Stay on Main, a 299-room low-budget tourist hotel, where travelers can grab a private room with a shared bathroom for $75 a night.
The building’s remaining 301 rooms are small residential hotel units subject to preservation under a city ordinance and court settlements. Only about 30 are occupied, and tenants will be eligible for temporary or permanent relocation benefits, Barbara Schultz, an attorney for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, told The Times.
Baron said the company isn’t planning to convert units into full-fledged apartments. But depending on how expansive the renovations are to residential units, the developer could be forced to add affordable units within the property or nearby, Schultz, who was involved in the court settlements, told the newspaper.
—Staff and wire reports
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