Another hotel for the Sunset Strip? L.A. Business Journal reports that VE Equities, which closed last month on its purchase of the Hustler store at 8920 W. Sunset Blvd. at Hilldale, hopes to add a 164-room hotel to the site along with its previously disclosed private membership Arts Club. That proposal will go before the city’s Planning Commission this fall.
The Hustler store is owned by Larry Flynt Publications, which closed on the sale last month for $18.3 million, about $900 a square foot. Flynt bought the property in 1998 for $4.7 million, or $230 a square foot. The project will be a joint venture by VE London & Regional Properties and the Arts Club, both based in London.
The planned sale of the Hustler location became public in April with news that Gywneth Paltrow, the actor and a minority partner in the Arts Club, would be involved in operating the West Hollywood location. London’s Arts Club was founded in 1863 by a group that included Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope.
While the Arts Club in London is exclusive and expensive (membership is said to cost $2,000 a year), its dress code is relatively relaxed like that of the Soho House, also founded in London, whose 13 locations include one at 9200 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.
The Hustler store sells “adult” entertainment items. It is noted in part for its “porn star walk of fame“, which features the handprints and footprints of ten adult film icons such as Jenna Jameson, John Stagliano and Ron Jeremy.
According to the Business Journal, the Hustler store will downsize and move 6538 Hollywood Blvd. later this year.
New hotels approved for construction in West Hollywood will increase the 2,058 hotel rooms in the city by nearly 50 percent in the next few years. And several other projects in other areas of WeHo that are not yet approved but under discussion would boost that increase to 62 percent.
The City Council has approved a proposal for a study of West Hollywood’s hotel market to determine the number of rooms the market actually can sustain. The study also will examine the impact of new hotel rooms and changes in occupancy rates on the city’s hotel room occupancy tax, which is the largest source of revenue for the city’s general fund. Those taxes were responsible for 26 percent of the general fund revenue budgeted for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The increase in hotel rooms has raised questions among hotel owners and managers about the impact on their occupancy rates and thus their profits. A study published last year by STR Global Inc., a hotel research group, reported that WeHo hotel occupancy rates were up 6.4 percent in 2013 to 82 percent. That compares with 77 percent occupancy during that period in greater Los Angeles as a whole. An analysis by the city’s Finance and Technology Services Department last year said most West Hollywood hotels reported occupancy rates of nearly 95 percent in July and August 2014.