Tuesday, June 30 2015

ARO 2.0: Hospitality

ARO 2.0 image_Final2 In 1999, the City of Los Angeles passed the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance providing flexibility within some portions of the planning and building codes that had made it prohibitively expensive to rehabilitate older historic buildings. KFA designed the first projects to take advantage of the ordinance in the Old Bank District, transforming the San Fernando, Hellman and Continental from dated office buildings into residential lofts. The population of DTLA increased five-fold over the next several years, and with over 40 development and rehabilitation projects, KFA has been a central player in the Downtown revival. It wasn’t until the great recession of the late 2000’s that enthusiasm for development downtown waned.

In 2011, Greenfield Partners and Ace Hotels saw a great opportunity in rehabilitating the abandoned United Artists Theater Building and former Texaco offices, commissioned by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin and built in 1927, into a boutique destination. Naysayers doubted the viability of a hotel south of the historic core, but since the Ace Hotel Link opened in January of 2014, its rooms, bars and restaurants have been packed, and it is credited with starting the boom that is currently happening south of 9th Street.

Identified by many as having an extreme shortage in hotel rooms, the City is now witnessing the development of previously overlooked DTLA historic buildings into hotels using some of the provisions allowed by the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. Of KFA’s 1000+ designed boutique guest rooms in Los Angeles, over 75% of them take advantage of the ARO. Buildings that may be less viable as apartments have become opportunities for hotel developers, with accommodations ranging from luxury hotel rooms to sleeping rooms in a private club to hostel style bunk rooms.

Development of existing buildings in Downtown Los Angeles offers locations within walking distance to hundreds of entertainment, convention, and restaurant venues, faster approval timelines through LADBS, and design opportunities for a unique, daring, and innovative product that challenges the hotel norms. KFA is excited to again be on the forefront of this second wave of adaptive reuse in DTLA.

  • Sydell Group is transforming the Commercial Exchange building at 8th and Olive into Freehand LA, a 226 key hotel that caters to the young international traveler with a range of room types from standard king rooms to rooms that accommodate up to 8 bunks.
  • The Giannini Building also being developed by Sydell Group, is a long vacant centerpiece of the 7th street corridor that will become NoMad, a luxury hotel with a different design experience in each guest room.
  • On the outskirts of the Arts District, a 1920s warehouse will become the latest SoHo House, an artist-focused haven with a range of ground floor retail and members-only club amenities.

The development of these ARO projects and others to be announced in 2015 and 2016 represent a solution to the hospitality shortage in Los Angeles that is creative, innovative, and perfectly Angeleno.