Outside of Cecil Hotel Los Angeles 2013. Photo by ZhengZhou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Outside of Cecil Hotel Los Angeles 2013. Photo by ZhengZhou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
A Los Angeles city panel agreed Thursday to consider a landmark status application for downtown’s Hotel Cecil, a nearly century-old inn that has been associated with mysterious deaths and murders over the years.

The Cultural Heritage Commission voted to do a more thorough investigation of whether the 14-story hotel warrants a landmark designation. The panel plans to visit the hotel, 640 Main St., on Nov. 10 to get a first- hand look at the property.

The application, submitted by the development company renovating the building’s interior, contends the Beaux Arts-style design and noteworthiness of its architect, Loy L. Smith, make it eligible as a historically and culturally significant site.

After the commission conducts its site visit, it will vote at a later date whether to approve the application. The issue would then move to the City Council for final consideration.

Built in 1924, Hotel Cecil was known as an affordable lodging option for traveling businessmen, but in later decades gained notoriety for its connections to the various deaths and murders that occurred there or were linked to people who stayed there. It was reportedly the home of serial murderer Richard Ramirez, better known as the Night Stalker, in the mid-1980s.

In recent months, the building has been undergoing renovations by New York City-based real estate company Simon Baron Development, which leases the hotel and is looking to turn it into a trendier destination. The hotel that now operates in the building goes by the name Stay on Main.

Hotel Cecil made headlines in 2013 when 21-year-old Canadian Elisa Lam disappeared after checking into the hotel. Elevator surveillance video of Lam acting strangely around the time she disappeared was shared widely on the internet.

Lam was found dead a few weeks later in the building’s rooftop water tank after guests complained about the plumbing and the water appearing discolored.

The hotel caught the attention of Ryan Murphy, creator of the FX show “American Horror Story,” who used it along with other downtown Los Angeles sites as the model for Hotel Cortez, the setting for his show’s 2015 season.

—City News Service

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