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Built in 1914, the Morrison Hotel is a Downtown Los Angeles landmark, having withstood the test of time while many of its immediate neighbors gave way for surface parking lots.  The four-story structure, located at 1246 S. Hope Street, was made famous by a Doors album of the same name, which used a picture taken of the band at the hotel for its cover art.

More recent years have seen the Morrison repurposed as single room occupancy (SRO) housing, although it has been vacant since 2008.

Now, under the direction of a new owner, the 102-year-old building is slated to return to its original function: a hotel.

According of an agenda item from the November meeting of CRA/LA, the successor agency to the Community Redevelopment Agency, developer Hollywood International Regional Center (HIRC) will soon aquire the Morrison for the purpose of converting it into a traditional hotel.  The proposal calls for 80 guest rooms, ground-floor retail space and various amenities such as a dining area, lounge space and a fitness center.

Construction is expected to begin before the end of 2017.

The property sits on the western edge of a booming stretch of Pico Boulevard, and emerges in the midst of the City's aggressive push to increase its hotel stock surrounding the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Just one block west, the New York-based Lighstone Group is planning a pair of high-rise towers which would account for more than 1,000 new guest rooms.

As the Morrison was most recently used as SRO housing, the proposed conversion would technically result in the loss of low-income units from the Downtown market.  To facilitate the project, HIRC is required by law to either build off-site replacement housing or to pay an in-lieu fee equivalent equivalent to site aquisition plus 80% of construction costs.

Should HIRC pursue the development option, the company would partner with Skid Row Housing Trust on a new building at 401 E. 7th Street in the Industrial District.  Elevation and floor plans from Steinberg Architects depict a five-story building, featuring 111 housing units in addition to amenities and bicycle storage space.

The new SRO building would sit a short distance west of larger high-rise towers planned at 7th Street and Maple Avenue, both of which would offer market rate and affordalbe apartments above commercial space.

HIRC, which specializes in projects funded with EB-5 money, has previously focused its attention on Hollywood, where the company is the driving force behind a series of trendy new developments such as the Dream Hollywood and a proposed Thompson Hotel.

The Morrison Hotel
Morrison Hotel site, highlighted in red (Image: Google Maps)

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