Hotel Cecil could get historical, cultural status

Simon Baron CEO Matthew Baron and the building at 640 South Main Street
Simon Baron CEO Matthew Baron and the building at 640 South Main Street

The infamous Cecil Hotel could receive special recognition from the city of Los Angeles, despite its creepy history.

The Cultural Heritage Commission recently voted unanimously to consider the Downtown structure as a Historic-Cultural Monument, a status that comes with certain local protections and the possibility of a property tax reduction.

Its owner, Simon Baron Development, noted the building’s Beaux Arts exterior in its designation application, according to the L.A. Downtown News. Located at 640 South Main Street, it was built in 1924 by William Banks Hanner and designed by local architect Loy Lester Smith.

Simon Baron acquired a 99-year-ground lease on the property in May, and has plans to renovate the property into micro-units. The New York firm brought on board co-living company Ollie to operate 301 tiny apartments.

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More so than its aesthetic merits, the Cecil is known as a haunted space. In 2013, a Canadian student was found dead in a water tank on its roof. And in the 1980s and 1990s, it was reported that serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger were residents of the hotel.

Now known as the Stay on Main, the Cecil was the real life inspiration of American Horror Story’s fifth season.

The final vote on the property is tentatively scheduled for December, according to Ken Bernstein, manager of the city Office of Historic Resources. [LADTN]Cathaleen Chen