Downtown’s historic King Edward Hotel to become transitional housing

Healthy Housing Foundation purchased the former SRO

The King Edward Hotel at 121 E. 5th Street
The King Edward Hotel at 121 E. 5th Street

UPDATED, May 1, 11:51 a.m.: A nonprofit housing group has purchased Downtown’s historic King Edward Hotel with plans to convert it to housing for homeless and low-income renters.

The Healthy Housing Foundation — a group the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation created in October — announced the purchase of 121 E. 5th Street on Monday.

HHF paid just above $15 million for the hotel and its four ground-floor retail spaces. The previous owners were a group of investors who purchased the building in 2012. They were represented in the sale to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation by Marc Cohen of the Downtown-based firm Cohen Law Group.

Ged Kenslea of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said about $4,000 to $5,000 will be spent on renovations per room. The rooms will be rented out at $400 to 500 per month.

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The 150-room hotel borders Skid Row and was a single-room occupancy for years. SROs offer rooms to low-income tenants on a long-term basis, typically by the month. The Healthy Housing Foundation will continue to rent rooms on a month-to-month basis and will install small kitchenette units in rooms that can accommodate them. Around 40 of the rooms have private bathrooms. The hotel’s three dozen or so existing tenants will remain.

HFF purchased the 220-room Madison Hotel on 7th Street in October and the 27-room Sunset 8 hotel in Hollywood in January.

The King Edward was built in 1906 as a luxury hotel and is home to the popular King Eddy Saloon. The bar catered to the patrons of the hotel for decades before it declined, along with much of the neighborhood during the 1960s, according to Eater. It was updated following ACME Hospitality Group’s 2012 purchase.

The bar and a ground-floor coffee shop will keep their leases. HFF will either rent out the remaining two retail spaces to outside parties or use them for its own pharmacy brand and thrift store.