The newest addition in a long line of hotels popping up in Los Angeles, The Whitley, is set to officially open in December. The 24-room boutique hotel was previously a rent controlled apartment at 1850 Cherokee Avenue.
The luxurious hotel is designed by acclaimed interior designer, Martin Lawrence Bullard, who’s known for designing homes for high-profile clientele like Elton John, Kylie Jenner, Cher, among many others, as first reported by Curbed. He’s also earned significant international acclaim and his work has appeared in the New York Times and AD, among others.
Bullard commented, “I’m delighted to be creating something design-wise that really honors the city and old Hollywood itself, which is still the backbone of style and economy in Los Angeles.”
The luxe interior is an homage to “Old Hollywood” with velvet accents, mix custom wallpaper, gold accents, and vintage hidden gems—creating a masterful blend of antique and modern.
The original structure of the building was built in 1939 and was home to several notable stars such as Jean Harlow and James Dean.
The opening of the hotel did not come without a heavy dose of controversy. Since the building was previously an apartment, the tenants who lived there were evicted in 2013 under the Ellis Act.
Essentially, the Ellis Act is a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants from buildings that fall under rent control if they plan to take the property off the rental market.
LA Magazine reports that L.A.’s robust tourism industry has fueled a massive boom in the hotel industry, so much so that the practice has grown increasingly common. Additionally, 246 hotels were planned, while 37 hotels were under construction as of 2018.
Another potential factor for the increase in hotels being built across L.A. is the announcement that the city will host the 2028 Olympics.
In response to the influx of hotel construction, protestors have come together. One group, in particular, is NOlympics whose slogan is “#HomesNotHotels”.
Annie Orchier, an organizer for the group, stated “Because of how spread out the Olympic bid is, we anticipate that places like South L.A., Inglewood, Hollywood, and Chinatown are going to be used… with hotels being planned and developed in conjunction with the stadium.”
“Because of how spread out the Olympic bid is, we anticipate that places like South L.A., Inglewood, Hollywood, and Chinatown are going to be used… with hotels being planned and developed in conjunction with the stadium.”
Ultimately, the major argument for an opposition is that while California is an epicenter of tech and wealth, it also has one of the highest rates of homelessness—and more hotels are being built that could be homes.
Rolling Stone reports that California has 3.5 million fewer homes than it needs to house all of the people who live there. Reports also indicate that it’s because of the booming economy that the rate of homelessness is on the rise.
More specifically, Santa Clara County, the 6th most populous county in the state, has a job growth-rate that’s twice the national one.
While California’s economy thrives and more luxury hotels are built, residents will look to legislators for proposed bills that could alleviate the housing shortage.