Seminal LA Live continues to spawn surrounding development

The 350-room, 18-story flagship Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown hotel is located at 899 Francisco Street.
Hotel Indigo Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an evergreen market for hotels—but one region of the city is getting some increased attention. Since opening nearly 10 years ago, the LA Live sports and entertainment district has helped boost development in the surrounding neighborhoods, which are considered the city's central business district.

“LA Live revitalized that whole area with the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott dual-branded property there next to the complex,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP for lodging insights. Three years ago, Marriott Hotels expanded its presence in the area with a dual-brand Courtyard and Residence Inn across Olympic Boulevard, and renovations and new openings have been ongoing ever since.

The opening of LA Live in 2007 was the first phase of the area’s new life, according to Bruce Ford, SVP and director of global business development at Lodging Econometrics. The second phase was a commitment to residential development, which has rolled into the nascent third phase: “More residential development, more retail development, more office development and a renovation of and addition to the hotel supply.” Hotels like the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles and the downtown Doubletree have gone through “sweeping revitalizations,” Ford said—a direct result of both improved performance in market and competition. 

What’s Up for Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles’ hospitality scene is poised to change in a few ways, Freitag said: “You see a lot of full-service development, which means ballroom space, which means larger groups.” This could create a domino effect, he argued, with limited-service hotels opening nearby to “siphon off” some of the demand. 

Large groups could spread across multiple full-service properties, he said, with different hotels hosting smaller meetings or break-out sessions as needed. “Since the weather is good, people will walk between hotels,” Freitag said. “That would then mean that there is more need for restaurants and bars and off-site venues that people can walk to when an event is over. That has a signalling effect to all the real estate around it—that they need more attractions, [food-and-beverage] or otherwise.”  

Newest and Next

InterContinental Hotels Group is behind two of this year’s biggest downtown openings: The 350-guestroom Hotel Indigo, part of the IHG portfolio, opened in April within walking distance of the LA Live complex. The 18-story property, developed by a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group, is the flagship hotel at Metropolis, a $1-billion mixed-use development. The 900-guestroom InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, meanwhile, is slated to be the tallest building in the area when it opens in late June as part of the Wilshire Grand Center, a $1.1-billion project developed by Korean Air and Hanjin Group. In March, Elie Maalouf, CEO, the Americas at IHG, said he wants the new hotels to become the “center of gravity” for downtown L.A.

The Sydell Group is behind the renovations of two downtown properties into boutique hotels. In June, the Commercial Exchange Building (built in 1924) will reopen as the 226-guestroom Freehand Hotel and Hostel. The property will include traditional guestrooms and “high-design” hostel options with eight beds to some rooms. In November, Sydell will open the NoMad Los Angeles, a renovation of the Giannini Place, a historic 1923 building. The 12-story hotel will have 250 guestrooms, and when it opens, the city will be the first to have three Sydell Group brands.

In November, Sun Holdings, Choice Hotels International, developer Barry Beitler and Pacific Property Partners filed plans to build The Cambria at LA Live, a new-build, 247-guestroom building. The project is expected to break ground over the summer and open in early 2019.

RELATED: Want to learn more about the dynamic Los Angeles market? The Hotel ROI Conference Series is headed to the City of Angels on June 22 with a star-studded lineup of LA-based hoteliers, who will offer insight into the dynamic downtown and peripheral markets. Find out more at

2018 and Beyond

Proper Hotels, the new brand headed by former Viceroy Hotels chief Brad Korzen, is slated to enter Los Angeles with a Downtown LA property located at the site of the former Case Hotel. The Downtown LA Proper will have 145 guestrooms when it opens next spring. In early 2019, Oceanwide Plaza, a $1-billion mixed-use development project across from the Staples Center, will include L.A.’s first hotel under the Park Hyatt luxury brand. The Park Hyatt at Oceanwide Plaza will have 184 rooms and 34 suites. And in the second quarter of 2020, The W Los Angeles Downtown will open across the street from LA Live, the brand’s third property in Southern California.