Downtown’s Hotel Cecil, the macabre inspiration for one season of FX’s “American Horror Story,” is under consideration for landmark status.
An application submitted to the city of Los Angeles on behalf of the 14- story hotel at 640 Main St. states its Beaux Arts style design and the noteworthiness of its architect, Loy L. Smith, makes it eligible as a historically significant site.
Built in 1924, the hotel was known as an affordable lodging option for traveling businessmen, but in later decades gained notoriety for its associations with various murders and mysterious deaths. It was also reportedly the home of serial murderer Richard Ramirez, better known as the Night Stalker, in the mid-1980s.
Hotel Cecil caught the attention of “American Horror Story” creator Ryan Murphy following the 2013 death of 21-year-old Elisa Lam, a Canadian woman who disappeared after checking into the hotel, then being found dead a few weeks later in the building’s rooftop water tank after guests complained the water tasted off.
Hotel elevator surveillance video of Lam acting strangely around the time she disappeared was shared widely on the internet.
Murphy used the hotel as well as other downtown Los Angeles sites as the model for Hotel Cortez, the setting for the show’s 2015 season.
In recent months, the building has been undergoing $100 million in renovations by the New York City-based real estate company Simon Baron Development, which leases the hotel and is looking to turn it into trendier destination. The hotel that now operates in the building goes by the name Stay on Main.
The Cultural Heritage Commission is set to consider the historic- cultural monument application at its Oct. 20 meeting.
—City News Service