LVMH to scrap Rodeo Drive hotel after Beverly Hills ballot rejection

51% vote against building the 109-room Cheval Blanc

LVMH's Bernard Arnault, Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse and a rendering of Cheval Blanc
LVMH's Bernard Arnault, Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse and a rendering of Cheval Blanc (Getty, Peter Marino Architect)

LVMH has lost its plan to build its first hotel on Rodeo Drive, after Beverly Hills voters rejected a proposal to build the 109-key Cheval Blanc. 

The future of the development at 468 Rodeo Drive was left in the hands of voters, after labor union Unite Here Local 11 gathered enough signatures to trigger a citywide ballot. The ballot asked voters whether the City Council’s approval of a development agreement for the project last year should be overturned.

LVMH, run by the world’s richest person Bernard Arnault, will now scrap the plans for the project and will not contest the election, a spokesperson for LVMH said in an email. 

The decision came down to 80 votes, according to data from the Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office. The final tally was 50.6 percent in favor of rejecting both the agreement and the city’s approval.

About 32 percent of registered city voters showed up for the special election, according to the clerk’s office.

Since the Beverly Hills City Council approved the project in September, and passed a development deal two months later, LVMH has been at a standstill, waiting for the results of the special election. 

The vote is a blow to both the French luxury retailer and city revenue — the hotel was expected to generate at least $725 million for Beverly Hills over the course of 30 years, according to the agreement. LVMH also agreed to pay at least $28 million in public benefit fees. 

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“It’s a staggering amount of money,” Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Julian Gold said at a council meeting in November. “There are cities where that is their general fund.”

At the same meeting, a representative for Unite Here Local 11 voiced opposition to the project, saying more needed to be set aside for affordable housing for workers.

Before the vote, Anish Melwani, who runs LVMH’s North American subsidiary, told the L.A. Times that the company has no plans to revisit the project before the council if voters rejected the approvals. Instead, the firm would revert the site into more retail. 

“We have no interest in building a hotel in a community that doesn’t want us to be there,” he said. 

LVMH already has 15 stores on Rodeo Drive and in the larger Golden Triangle area of Beverly Hills. 

And the company could get a second shot at a hotel on Rodeo Drive. In 2021, the firm spent $200 million to buy a recently shuttered 86-key hotel at 449 North Rodeo Drive from Australian hotelier Efram Harkham and his family. No plans have yet been submitted for that property.

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