Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Is downtown LA ready to let go of the Cecil Hotel?

by Take Two®

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The exterior of the Cecil Hotel is seen in Los Angeles California February 20, 2013. The body of 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam was found in a water tank on the roof of the hotel three weeks after she went missing, police said. The corpse was found February 19 after hotel guests complained of low water pressure. AFP PHOTO/Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

There's a notoriously creepy hotel in downtown LA that inspired an entire season of American Horror story:

AHS Hotel

In the show, they renamed it the Hotel Cortez, but there's no mistaking the similarities between that place and LA's Cecil Hotel, which is now a hostel renamed Stay On Main. 

But New York developers have stepped in and are looking to give it a makeover.

Will Angelenos embrace the change, or will they never be able to let go of the Cecil's past?

For more, Bianca Barragan Associate editor at Curbed LA joined the show to discuss the new developers, the hotel's creepy past, and public opinion of the project.

Interview Highlights

Who are these developers?

"Richard Born is kind of a boutique hotelier in New York. He runs trendy hotels like the Mercer, the Bowery, the Maritime. Often these are properties that need deep renovations and one of them, the Jane even had a seamy history."

What plans do these developers have for the hotel?

"Just earlier this month, a new developer came into the mix. Simon Baron development inked a 99-year ground lease for the hotel and what's going to happen next isn't really clear. Richard Born had a plan to turn the hotel into reasonably priced residences aimed at young professionals. But Simon Baron hasn't really said exactly what the price point is going to be for his project, but he did say that it's going to be a hotel and apartments."

What's a brief history of this Hotel's past?

"The hotel opened in the mid-1920's. When it opened it was aimed at business travelers but with the great depression by the 1950's it had become pretty run down and started acquiring a reputation after a lot of people committed suicide by jumping off the building or dying in otherwise unfortunate circumstances in the building. In the 1980's the night stalker Richard Ramirez took up residence in the hotel and by the 1990's another serial killer had moved into the hotel and he was living there sometimes his name was Jack Unterweger, and those are just the serial killers that we know about.

And in 2013, there was that unfortunate event with that tourist named Elisa Lam and was found dead in the water cistern on the roof. It was actually the inspiration for a TV show."

What has public opinion been on this?

"I think that public opinion has been divided, as many discussions about downtown's quote, unquote resurgence, or rise have been. There are those people who are definitely excited to see an influx of money, they're definitely excited to see a building that they imagine as kind of a hotbed for violence and a run down place. There are also people though who are really worried about what's going to happen when downtown...more projects like this and there are a lot of projects that are coming in and making run down hotels fancy or run down buildings fancy, I think they're worried that they're going to push out the people that have called this place home for a long time before it was cool."

To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.

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