The Real Deal Los Angeles

Lizard Capital clears hurdle for 28-story DTLA hotel project

Firm settled with hotel labor union over environmental challenge to the project
By Dennis Lynch | January 23, 2019 03:00PM

Lizard Capital CEO Bingyi Huang and a rendering of the DTLA project by Adam Sokol Architecture Practice

Lizard Capital has cleared a major hurdle in its path to building a 28-story hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Beijing-based firm settled an appeal on Tuesday with hotel worker labor group UNITE HERE Local 11 over the environmental impact review and entitlements for the project, called Lizard in Los Angeles. The settlement means Lizard Capital has the approvals it needs to start work on the 170-room project at 633 S. Spring Street.

In late December, the union appealed the city’s approval of the project, claiming the city failed to take into consideration impacts on local historic resources. Department of City Planning staff recommended denying the appeal.

UNITE HERE Local 11 has fought hotel projects in the past. In October, it appealed a 120-key project in Pico Union through the California Environmental Quality Act.

In December, members of UNITE HERE Local 11 voted to approve new contracts with nine hotels in L.A., averting a potentially costly strike over the holidays.

Lizard’s project could still be challenged through CEQA. That appeal would go to the L.A. City Council for review. Land use attorney Matt Dzurec, who worked on the project on behalf of Lizard, said that possibility was “remote” because the labor group’s appeal had been resolved.

Part of the settlement included adding a request that the city fund streetscape improvements along Spring Street in front of the hotel because the project received a transfer of floor area totaling 50,000 square feet.

Plans for the hotel include a 7,000-square-foot restaurant, a rooftop bar and a lounge.

Lizard Capital is also planning a 178-unit mixed-use rental project in L.A. called Lava House. The firm has worked on the finance side of two development projects in China — a hotel in Shanghai and a hotel in Beijing. It has also advised on two infrastructure projects in China.