Following In The Footsteps Of Its West Hollywood Counterpart, The Standard DTLA Will Close ‘Indefinitely’
Like many other LA hotels, the Standard Downtown LA closed during the coronavirus pandemic. However, this closure is no longer a temporary one.
A recorded message at the hotel’s main phone number confirms the well-known, nearly 210-room property will close “indefinitely” on Jan. 22, following in the footsteps of the hotel's sister property in West Hollywood.
Company representatives did not respond to requests for comment from Bisnow.
A visit to the property last week found hotel entrances either boarded up or locked. The entrance to the parking lot was cordoned off and the gate to the parking garage was closed.
The closure is the latest blow to the brand in Southern California. The Standard’s West Hollywood location closed in January 2021; that building and the land it sits on was put up for sale in October by property owners. With ownership up in the air, the hotel's future is unclear. The lease for that location was held by Spanish real estate firm Ferrado Group, which also counts a location in Newport Beach.
Public records indicate Ferrado LA LLC owns the Standard's Downtown LA location at 550 South Flower St. Representatives for Ferrado could not be immediately reached.
The Standard Downtown LA was a regional trailblazer when it opened 18 years ago as a key part of the neighborhood's then-nascent renaissance, Downtown Center Business Improvement District Executive Director Nick Griffin said.
"It opened the door to a wave of boutique and luxury hotels that followed it," Griffin said.
Many have followed indeed. Downtown's hotel scene today has no shortage of lifestyle hotels that build on the model that the Standard established: rooftop pools and bars, and a close attention to design and aesthetic, Griffin said. Just this year, the CitizenM and Proper hotels have opened in the neighborhood with more openings on the way.
"It's very likely that the competition could have been as much of a factor [in the permanent closure] as anything," Griffin said.
These new hotel openings underscore the confidence in Downtown's long-term hospitality market, Griffin said, noting that the Standard was in the minority of DTLA hotels that had not reopened after their coronavirus-related closures.
But Atlas Hospitality Group President Alan Reay said many downtown hotel markets — those in LA, San Francisco and San Jose — have struggled through the pandemic and are still clawing their way back. Increased labor and operations costs don’t help either, Reay said.
The lingering effects of the pandemic on the hospitality market prompted a number of hotel owners to sell their properties last year. In the last 12 months, Reay said he has noticed a significant number of hotels being repurposed for residential uses after they either shutter or are sold.
Last year, California was the only state to have recorded an increase in the number of hotel sales in 2020 over 2019, a report from Atlas Hospitality Group found. About a third of the total dollar volume of sales was the result of transactions for Project Homekey, a state program that funded the purchase of hotels for use as homeless housing, according to the report.
Los Angeles' hotel bookings have reportedly bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, but in Downtown LA, the return is taking a bit more time. In November 2019, year-to-date occupancy averaged around 80% in Downtown, numbers from the city's tourism department show. The neighborhood's year-to-date hotel occupancy rate in Q3 2021 was 48.7%, according to a report from the Downtown Center Business Improvement District.
Though he does not have knowledge of the owners’ plans for the Standard Downtown LA building, Reay said he wouldn't be surprised if the hotel were converted to housing. Covid-19 put enormous pressure on cities to facilitate or provide housing, including affordable housing. In the past, cities were hesitant to approve projects that turned tax revenue-generating hotels into apartments or other housing, Reay said. Now, that seems to be less of a hurdle.
“Over the last 12 months, that pendulum has swung the other way,” Reay said.
Reay pointed to the Cecil Hotel reuse project, which was planned years ago with both affordable housing and hotel components. During the first months of the pandemic, the developer scrapped the hotel element and reopened the property last week as 100% affordable housing.
While Griffin agreed with Reay that the Standard DTLA location could be converted into residential uses, a hotel is still a viable option. Whatever happens, Griffin said, the building won't go unused for long.