LA Convention Center plans $1.2B project, which will be a massive expansion

The project would include 350K sf of new space and an 850-key hotel

The Los Angeles Convention Center (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Los Angeles Convention Center (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The operators of the Los Angeles Convention Center are planning a $1.2 billion project, which will include a massive expansion, along with the addition of a new hotel.

It will be the first major work at the convention center in 20 years, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the story.

The expansion will add 350,000 square feet to the South Figuera Street building, in addition to the construction of an 850-room hotel, a redesigned Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, and increased parking, the Times reported.

Anschutz Entertainment Group sent a letter to city officials this week outlining the proposal.

The convention center expansion has a price tag of around $500 million, while the 40-story hotel is expected to cost around $700 million to build. The hotel would replace the West Garage on Chick Hearn Court and would have its own 51,000-square-foot ballroom.

Pedestrian bridges would connect it to the existing JW Marriott and the convention center’s west hall, according to the report.

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If the plan is approved, it would add to the 5,000 or so hotel rooms available or under construction near the convention center. That number is double what was available before 2013, when local Councilmember Jose Huizar set a goal to construction more 8,000 rooms as part of a wider push to increase tourism in that area.

An ambitious two-tower hotel project by Lightstone Group on West Pico Boulevard would add another 1,150 rooms to that count if approved by the City Council.

Gilbert Lindsay Plaza would be turned from a bus and car drop-off location to a garden and space for outdoor events under the latest plan. Part of the goal is to connect the convention center with the Staples Center and L.A. Live entertainment center to create a more seamless 100-acre campus.

AEG’s plan has the tentative support of Mayor Eric Garcetti and local City Councilmember Curren Price, according to reports.

AEG and its partners would pay to build the hotel, but likely seek significant tax breaks as AEG did when it kept $270 million in hotel room taxes to build the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels over a decade ago.

It would also finance the $500 million convention center expansion, but the city would cut the developers checks each year after the project wrapped up. The city now contributes $48 million each year to pay off debt it raised to pay for the last convention center expansion in 1997. Its final payment of $22 million will wrap that up in 2022.

The convention center opened in 1971 and has been expanded three times since, but in many respects hasn’t kept up with the competition from larger and more modern facilities in Anaheim, San Francisco and Las Vegas. [LAT]Dennis Lynch