Hotel Cecil to be transformed into 301-unit co-living concept for millennials

Matthew Baron and the DTLA hotel
Matthew Baron and the DTLA hotel

New York City-based co-living company Ollie is planning to bring 301 micro-apartments to the Downtown L.A. building which formerly housed the Hotel Cecil, The Real Deal has learned.

The space will be Ollie’s first on the West Coast. The 99-year leasehold on the building, at 640 South Main Street, was recently acquired by Simon Baron Development, a significant player in the New York City real estate market. The 600-room hotel, which is only a few blocks from Skid Row, was previously owned and operated by 248 Haynes Hotel Associates, LLC, a New Jersey-based company.

In New York, where Ollie recently launched a 55-unit co-living concept, apartment sizes range from just 265 square feet to 360 square feet and are designed to be affordable while still allowing residents access to all the amenities of a regular apartment. Bathrooms are shared between residents.

Residents of the DTLA co-living space, designed by Ollie in partnership with Simon Baron, will share a 30,000-square-foot communal amenity space, while the apartments themselves are outfitted with dual-function furniture systems which maximize space by allowing beds to transform into sofas. Residents also get free wifi and cable as well as a weekly visit from a home manager who will perform chores and run errands, thanks to Ollie’s partnership with home concierge service Hello Alfred.

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“Our team couldn’t be more excited to build on the current momentum and get started in Los Angeles,” said Chris Bledsoe, co-founder of Ollie, in a statement. “Thanks to the efforts of the Los Angeles Community Action Network and our partner Simon Baron, sorely-needed residential units are being preserved in the Downtown area.”

Ollie’s services are heavily geared towards unmarried millennials. In a statement, Bledsoe cited statistics showing that roughly six in 10 of the LA’s renters are single – a sharp increase from the 1970s, when the average age of marriage nationally was just 22 years old. Individuals living alone make up 30 percent of all Los Angeles households, while another 10 percent consist of unrelated roommates living together, he said.

“For too long, the industry has been pushing the same inventory, designed exclusively for the upper reaches of the market,” he said. “This is misaligned with the incomes of real Angelenos, and it fails to address the demographic shifts that have diversified the city’s household compositions away from the traditional nuclear family.”

The hotel, now known at Stay on Main, was best known as the real life inspiration of “American Horror Story,” after a dead body was found inside its rooftop water tank in 2013. Serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger also reportedly lived there in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively. A boutique hotel will also remain at the property.