Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beverly Hills Development Watch: Beverly Hilton Up for Sale, 1953 Hotel Preserved, But Make Way For Luxury Hotel and Residential, and "Last Straw" for Trader Vic's

Beverly Hilton Hotel - Los Angeles Modernism at Its Best (and Worst)
Updated February 11, 2012: RIP, Whitney Houston, who passed away this afternoon at the Beverly Hilton.  Another great artist gone before her time.

Those who live and work in Beverly Hills, Century City, and the Wilshire Corridor pass this 1953 iconic structure at the crossroads of Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard daily.  

At its very best, the Beverly Hilton was the pinnacle of Los Angeles grand modernism back in the smog-cloaked 1950's.

Like many buildings of its vintage, the building has more than once needed a facelift.  And as we enter this cyber-age, the grande dame needs more work than ever.  Will a Beverly Hills-approved project to remodel the hotel and build condos go forward?

Below ready our article from November 2010 about the $200 Million Sale of the Beverly Hilton 

When a neighbor is able to command a pretty penny for their real estate, an owner thinks it may be the right time to tiptoe into the market.

This is precisely what's happening with the Beverly Hilton, the 1953 hotel sited at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

Last month we reported that 9900 Wilshire, the adjacent parcel and home to the former Robinson May department store, sold for $148 million.  Prompted by unsolicited offers for his property, Beny Alagem, the current owner of the Beverly Hilton, has retained Cushman & Wakefield to market this prime wedge of real estate.

The idea is that either a new owner or the current owner will go ahead with a plan that was approved by Beverly Hills voters in 2008 to renovate the original 352 room hotel, and build 110 residential units and a 170 room luxury hotel.

How much will the site command?  The current owner paid $130 million in 2003 and then completed $80 million in renovations in 2006.  Is it possible that the hotel site will pierce the $200 million mark?  There are many hungry players with vaults of cash seeking the best global assets, and the Beverly Hilton is that sort of sweet plum, ripe for the picking.  Our hunch is that interest in this unique opportunity will be as strong as a Trader Vic's double Long Island Ice Tea.

The Beverly Hilton is a Los Angeles institution, not so much for its accommodations (its rooms are 4-star), but because of its size (an 8.9 acre parcel in the middle of Beverly Hills!), its prominent frontage at one of the most prominent intersections in the city, and because of its showbiz legacy.  Merv Griffin was the previous owner (interesting to note that he paid $100 million for the property in 1987), and the hotel's International Ballroom has been home to the Golden Globes since 1961 and is the site of the Academy Award's Governor's Ball.

Beverly Hilton hotel may get new owner [Los Angeles Times]

Hilton on the Market [Los Angeles Business Journal]