Developer snags $30M loan for Hotel Cecil conversion

Simon Baron’s plans for notorious DTLA landmark years in making

Slate Property Group co-founder Martin Nussbaum and the Hotel Cecil (Slate, Google Maps)
Slate Property Group co-founder Martin Nussbaum and the Hotel Cecil (Slate, Google Maps)

Simon Baron Development secured a $30 million mezzanine loan for its ongoing work to convert the notorious former Hotel Cecil in Downtown Los Angeles.

A joint venture of Slate Property Group and Atalaya Capital Management provided the debt, said Martin Nussbaum, a Slate co-founder. The loan is subordinate to a $15 million mortgage Centennial Bank provided in August that replaced existing debt, he said.

In 2016, New York-based Simon Baron acquired the 99-year-ground lease under the Beaux-Arts building at 640 South Main Street. The 600-room hotel was built in 1924, and Simon Baron successfully lobbied to have it declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2017.

Shortly after acquiring the ground lease, Simon Baron said it would convert the 16-story building into a boutique hotel and a 301-unit micro apartment. For the planned micro units, it teamed up with co-living startup Ollie. Those plans appear to have fizzled — Ollie’s technology, assets and management contracts were scooped up by a rival earlier this month. Simon Baron president Matthew Baron said new plans have not been set.

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“We will determine in the next year or so one of the best uses for the project,” he said.

The building has a notorious past that dates back to the 1980s. That’s when serial killer Richard Ramirez stayed there for a time. Another serial killer, Jack Unterweger, was also a resident in the early 1990s.

In 2011, it was renamed Stay on Main. But two years later, a Canadian traveler was found dead in a water tank on the roof, in what was classified as an accident. Her death became the inspiration for the fifth season of the FX series, “American Horror Story.”

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