CGI Properties withdraws plans to convert Villa Carlotta into hotel

CGI CEO Gidi Cohen and the Villa Carlotta at 5959 Franklin Avenue
CGI CEO Gidi Cohen and the Villa Carlotta at 5959 Franklin Avenue

Developer CGI Properties has decided to end its fight to convert the Villa Carlotta in Hollywood into a boutique hotel — after its former rent-controlled tenants have already been evicted.

CGI is withdrawing its proposal to redevelop the 1926-built structure, which used to house rent-controlled apartments, after receiving negative feedback from the community, according to a statement released Wednesday by Councilman David Ryu, who consulted with the developer.

Last week, the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council voted against CGI’s plans, stressing the importance of maintaining affordable units in a city facing a housing crisis. Its decision was only a recommendation to City Council, which would have had the final say, if CGI had not reversed course.

“As stewards of this beloved local treasure, we appreciate the importance of Villa Carlotta to its neighbors and the Hollywood community,” CGI founder and CEO Gidi Cohen said in the announcement. “We intend to honor and celebrate that legacy by meticulously working to return the building to its original grandeur.”

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The firm will continue renovating the rental building at 5959 Franklin Avenue.

It’s unclear, however, whether the apartments will return to any kind of rent regulation. The Ellis Act allows the evictions of rent-controlled tenants if the property is going off the rental market. The Villa Carlotta went off the market — but may very well return.

“CGI will continue conversations with the city and community to identify the next chapter in Villa Carlotta’s storied history,” the statement said.

The Spanish Colonial Revival-style once housed Old Hollywood icons such as actress and comedian Marion Davies, “My Fair Lady” director George Cukor and “Gone With the Wind” producer David Selznick. — Cathaleen Chen