No love in Venice for landlord’s apartment-to-hotel conversion plan

Carl Lambert wants to make permanent his short-stay hotel, but LA planning commissioners are balking
March 22, 2019 09:00AM

The Venice Suites

A Venice businessman is facing strong opposition to his plan to permanently convert a rent-regulated building into an extended-stay hotel in the seaside community.

Los Angeles city planning commissioners ruled against Carl Lambert’s request to continue to operate the property at 1305 Ocean Front Walk as a hotel, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lambert said he’ll appeal the decision to the Los Angeles City Council.

The ruling is part of a larger political and legal battle that Lambert’s been fighting with the city of L.A. since 2016. That’s when the city filed a civil suit against Lambert and a handful of other landlords, charging they were illegally operating rent-regulated apartment buildings as hotels.

Last year, a Superior Court judge threw out some of the city’s claims, but a trial is set to begin at the end of May on remaining claims of false advertising and unfair competition.

Lambert bought the 32-unit building in 2005. He then renovated it, renamed it the Venice Suites, and has since been advertising it an extended-stay hotel with furnished rooms with small kitchens. Studios rent for between $2,180 to $3,550 per month, according to the property’s website.

Rent-stabilized tenants paid around $500 per month for apartments in the 1990s, former tenants told the Times, but Venice is far different today than what it was two decades ago.

The once quirky haven for beach bums and artists now regularly sees homes trade in the millions and the Silicon Beach tech boom has put a premium on Venice real estate of all types, including for convenient, well-placed rooms like those at the Venice Suites. [LAT]Dennis Lynch