Sonder taps adaptive reuse to set up two hotels in Downtown LA

Conversions involve 1920s buildings designed as a clothing store and a mortgage office

Sonder to run two short-term rental hotels in Downtown Los Angeles
Bonnis Properties' Dimitri Bonnis and Sonder's Francis Davidson with 701 South Hill Street, Los Angeles and 206-208 West 8th Street, Los Angeles (Wikipedia/Downtowngal, Loopnet, LinkedIn, Sonder)

Sonder Holdings will run two short-term rental hotels from a pair of century-old buildings in Downtown Los Angeles 

The San Francisco-based short-term rental startup has opened The Winfield in a former clothing store at 701 South Hill Street, and will soon open The Craftsman in a former mortgage office building at 206-208 West 8th Street, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.

“We’re excited to continue expanding in Southern California, with the opening of The Winfield and The Craftsman, two incredible historic buildings in Downtown Los Angeles converted to hotels via adaptive reuse,” Sonder’s Area General Manager Scott Blakeslee said in a statement.

Sonder already has a presence in Southern California, operating properties in Beverly Hills, Inglewood and Santa Monica, as well as Woods Cove, a new property in Orange County.

Its new 125-room Winfield at Hill and 7th streets takes advantage of the Foreman & Clark Building, built in 1929 to house a men’s clothing store of the same name. It was converted into apartments — then into a short-stay hotel — by Bonnis Properties, based in Vancouver.

The 13-story Art Deco and Gothic building, designed by Curlett & Beelman, includes a gold-plated and marble lobby. 

The Winfield, named after Foreman & Clark founder Winfield Foreman, includes a kitchenette and laundry facilities in each room. It holds two penthouse suites, a gym, yoga room and a terrace deck on the fifth floor.

Rooms in the L.A. historic-cultural monument in the Jewelry District start at $158 a night, with rentals handled through a hotel app, according to its website.

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Sonder will also open the 110–room Craftsman inside the Lane Mortgage Building at 8th and Spring streets.

The 12-story tower, designed by Loy Lester Smith, opened in 1923 in Downtown’s Fashion District, with a signature tiled lobby created by Ernest Batchelder, who inspired its Craftsman name.

The Delijani family, which owns the property, began converting the former office building five years ago.

It’s not clear when Sonder will open the narrow building, which contains some two-bedroom suites, for hotel guests.

Sonder, founded in 2014, has 17,400 short-term rentals in more than 40 cities in 10 countries globally, with offices in San Francisco, Denver, Montreal, London and Amsterdam. 

The startup went public last January via a SPAC merger with a blank-check firm sponsored by billionaires Alec Gores and Dean Metropoulos, debuting at $8.95 per share. The SPAC deal valued Sonder at $1.9 billion. 

But in April, the public company was hit with a delisting notice from Nasdaq after its share price dropped below $1 for 30 consecutive business days following layoffs and tens of millions of dollars in losses.

— Dana Bartholomew

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