Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here We Go Again: The Century Plaza Hotel in Trouble

(Flickr pic by GurhanKara.)

Built in 1966, the Century Plaza Hotel -- located on land formerly inhabited by 20th Century Fox, which earlier had to sell off most of its lot to resolve a financial crisis -- might not live to see its 50th birthday.

As the L.A. Times reports, new owner Michael Rosenfeld would like to demolish the hotel and replace it with two high rises. Mayor Villaraigosa supports the plan, but some Westside residents, not so much.

The Century Plaza Hotel pretty much replaced the Ambassador Hotel as one of the prime go-to venue for events, banquets, etc.

The paper writes:

The 726-room Century Plaza has played host to U.S. presidents, rock stars and business moguls, and served as the location for countless galas and social functions since it was completed in 1966 as the centerpiece of an office, retail and residential development carved out of the former back lot of the 20th Century Fox film studio.

For many years the Century Plaza's doormen wore red Beefeater costumes. The hotel's ballrooms welcomed high-profile events, including an opening charity gala in 1966 emceed by Bob Hope, who with singer Andy Williams entertained the likes of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Walt and Lillian Disney.

President Nixon hosted a state dinner there in 1969 for the Apollo 11 astronauts after their successful journey to the moon. In 1995, Hollywood studio head and notorious embezzler David Begelman committed suicide in a room at the hotel.

The architect was Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed New York's World Trade Center towers.

The proposal by Los Angeles developer Michael Rosenfeld, who bought the property for $366.5 million in May, calls for razing the 19-story arc-shaped hotel on Avenue of the Stars and erecting two 50-story towers in its place. At 600 feet, they would be the tallest buildings in Century City and among the tallest in the region, with 293 condominiums, 100,000 square feet of office space, 106,000 square feet of retail space and a 240-room luxury hotel.

Is it too soon to start a "Save the Century Plaza Hotel" campaign?

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