The former Standard Hotel on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip is officially a landmark — a status that pays homage to its past but could complicate its future.
The City of West Hollywood’s preservation commission unanimously voted to give historic preservation status to the 139-key shuttered hotel on April 25. The recommendation will now go to the West Hollywood City Council, where final approval is expected.
“Great news!” read an Instagram post from Save Iconic Architecture, a group that helped write the nomination along with preservationist Steven Luftman.
Built in 1962, the three-story structure at 8300 Sunset Boulevard, with its wave-shaped balconies shaped in an L around a pool, was designed by Herbert Kameon, a prominent Californian architect known for his mid-century modernist takes. It opened as the Thunderbird Hotel.
“It was one of 12 buildings in the 60s that was part of a wave to clean up the Strip,” Steven Luftman told TRD last month. “It was the earliest and one of the few and that’s why it qualifies [for historic preservation status.]”
The decision presents challenges for the new owners, hoteliers Ian Schrager and Ed Scheetz, who are in a deal to buy the property and re-open the hotel under a new brand.
Demolishing the property would be Schrager and Scheetz’s easiest option to make a profit on the hotel — adding more rooms or amenities would lead to more revenue. But a landmark status will prove this to be difficult.
Any new owner will have to jump through more regulatory hoops to demolish or even substantially renovate the property. While historic preservation doesn’t limit what the property could be used for, new projects would have to go through more environmental reviews and a lengthier entitlement process.
Since Schrager and Scheetz have yet to close their deal, they could still walk away in light of the city’s decision. Neither have responded to requests for comment.