Breaking News: Exclusive First Look Inside “Empire Hotel” at Trinity Auditorium in Downtown LA

Downtown LA photographer, Hunter Kerhart, reveals the inside of the mysterious hotel in the works at Trinity Auditorium in Downtown LA (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Downtown LA photographer, Hunter Kerhart, reveals the inside of the mysterious hotel in the works at Trinity Auditorium in Downtown LA (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Just last week, we saw some pretty exciting activity happening at the Trinity Auditorium at 9th and Grand Ave. Brand new mattresses were delivered and plywood boards that covered up the doors and windows of the historic structure for years — concealing the construction activity inside — were finally removed allowing pedestrians who walked by to get a first glimpse into a mysterious hotel development that has perplexed the downtown community for almost a decade since the Gansevoort West Hotel debacle. Thanks to our valiant downtown photographer, Hunter Kerhart, we are offered a first peek inside the surprisingly (and thank goodness!) beautiful work being completed inside as the hotel really begins to take shape. And some more digging online reveals more juicy details about the forthcoming Empire Hotel in Downtown LA.

Everyone knows that the Trinity Auditorium is being converted into a hotel (albeit at a glacial pace), but not much else is known about the project due to the building’s media shy owner Chetrit Group. Even so, a few key pieces of info and some diligent research reveal a possible clearer picture about what’s going on. Basically, let’s speculate here!

So here goes:

A Los Angeles Notice of Public Hearing from June 2012 revealed that the hotel in the works would be named “Empire Hotel.” But wait, there’s another posh Empire Hotel in NYC across from the Lincoln Center (featured regularly on CW’s Gossip Girl) that was developed into a 423-room hotel back in 2007 by, you guessed it, the Chetrit Group.

Then in 2009, apparently another renovation of the Empire Hotel brought it up to its current upscale standard and control of the property was transferred to the Amsterdam Hospitality Group run by the Podolsky family, which now operates and manages 6 boutique hotels in New York and two others in Asbury Park, NJ and Charlotte, NC.

According to online site Capital New York: “Property records show [Amsterdam Hospitality] have opened several hotels in partnership with Joseph Chetrit, a secretive Moroccan-born property mogul.”

Also, apparently Downtown LA’s Hotel Clark and Giannini Place — two historic structures owned by the Chetrit Group — were both slated at one time to become part of the Amsterdam Hospitality Group giving credence to the idea that their relationship with the Chetrit Group goes pretty far back. And now the Trinity Auditorium seems to be added to that hotel development list here in Los Angeles.

Lastly, pretty much all of Amsterdam Hospitality Group hotels have been designed by NY-based Goodman Charlton. The images captured of the hotel rooms inside the Trinity Auditorium are perfectly in line with the design aesthetics seen on Goodman Charlton’s website. I am pretty sure Goodman Charlton not only designed the rooms for the Trinity Auditorium, but possibly the Hotel Clark as well even though that was slated to become a King & Grove Hotel.

In conclusion, this is what the picture is looking like:

  • Empire Hotel DTLA managed by Amsterdam Hospitality Group
  • 183 rooms
  • 7,600 square foot rooftop pool and bar
  • Ground floor hotel restaurant with outdoor seating
  • 2 health beauty spas
  • Original Trinity Auditorium will be reactivated as entertainment venue
  • Hotel interior, including rooms, designed by Goodman Charlton
  • Timeline still unknown

All photos courtesy of Hunter Kerhart Photography.

The former Embassy Hotel mosaic floor tiling greets the front entrance along Grand Ave

The former Embassy Hotel mosaic floor tiling greets the front entrance along Grand Ave

A look at the front entrance to the Trinity Auditorium and future hotel lobby

A look at the front entrance to the Trinity Auditorium and future hotel lobby

The amazing Trinity Auditorium is being renovated with plans to bring it back as an entertainment venue

The amazing Trinity Auditorium is being renovated with plans to bring it back as an entertainment venue

The gorgeous round ceiling of the Trinity Auditorium

The gorgeous round ceiling of the Trinity Auditorium

Beautiful stained glass windows

Beautiful stained glass windows

The historic Trinity Auditorium was the first home for the LA Philharmonic

The historic Trinity Auditorium was the first home for the LA Philharmonic

Refurbished staircase on the second floor with new wallpaper

Refurbished staircase on the second floor with new wallpaper

The second floor

The second floor

Elevators on the second floor

Elevators on the second floor

A hallway on the second floor

A hallway on the second floor

A hotel common area

A hotel common area

A future hotel clubroom perhaps?

A future hotel clubroom perhaps?

Elevator on the third floor

Elevator on the third floor

The design theme changes when you go above the second floor

The design theme changes when you go above the second floor

New wallpaper and sconces

New wallpaper and sconces

An example of a guest room with two queen sized beds

An example of a guest room with two queen sized beds

Another example of a guest suite

Another example of a guest suite

The furniture and decor used throughout harkens back to a vintage Hollywood design that's modern yet classic

The furniture and decor used throughout harkens back to a vintage Hollywood design that’s modern yet classic

A marble tiled bathroom

A marble tiled bathroom

Now on the rooftop where you see the future pool in the foreground

Now on the rooftop where you see the future pool in the foreground

The gorgeous rotunda on the roof will likely become a bar/restaurant lounge

The gorgeous rotunda on the roof will likely become a bar/restaurant lounge

A view at the rotunda ceiling

A view at the rotunda ceiling

A shot of the beautiful stairwell that will eventually be renovated as well

A shot of the beautiful stairwell that will eventually be renovated as well

12 responses to “Breaking News: Exclusive First Look Inside “Empire Hotel” at Trinity Auditorium in Downtown LA

  1. Wow, it’s looking fantastic! And they’re pretty far along, too (furniture being moved in, still needs some work on the floors and details).

    I wonder how it could be used as an “entertainment venue” with hotel rooms above. Sound insulation would have to be pretty good. Were the rooms previously used as hotel rooms? If so, maybe the sound isolation is already there.

    • Yes, it was half hotel, half offices for many years. As for sound insulation, that only depends on what sort of things they plan to book. The LA Phil started there, and it’s a great space for small live theatre productions, so those things likely won’t need as much insulation :)

    • Yes, it was a 183 room hotel and 1600 seat concert hall in the mid-1980’s, with performances by the LA Chamber Orchestra, L.A. Opera, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and lots of others. It also had two 99-seat theaters and two large dance studios, and there weren’t any real problems with noise..

      At that time, it was owned by the Knill Trust, and it was completely refurbished in 1983. The project architect was the late Charles Moore. I was the hotel manager back then, and I’m so happy to see that it’s being restored again after so many years! And really glad to see that most of the original is still intact!

  2. Wow, this is beautiful. The floors will probably get red carpeting like the upper floors, that gets done in 1 to 2 days. I’m thinking of reserving one night there when it gets done.

  3. Yes they moved beds into the Clark two years ago and now…..? Quit being fooled people, moving around furniture methodically is just another way to deprecate and write off.

    The guys worth billions, don’t you think if he was serious he would have permits pulled and you’d see a construction crew on site?

  4. That interior is impressive… the stairwell, the windows, wow!

  5. In the Clark, the workers would pull up and go into the garage and they’d quickly shut the door behind them. Other than when they worked on the facade you could hardly see any work actually being done.

    While they’ve obviously made progress here, I highly doubt we’ll see an opening any time soon.

  6. Fakey McFakename

    Being delayed due to Union trying to block Conditional Use permits, presumably to extract labor concessions. http://cityplanning.lacity.org/MeetingsNHearings/dsp_viewFileDetail.cfm?filename=46544

  7. The auditorium/theater is huge. It was 2300 seats when it was built. But in the photo it appears as if the seats have been removed on the ground floor either for dancing & dining or standing audiences during concerts.

  8. How exciting….now more than ever…more activities for tourism and residents DTLA.

  9. Thank You DTLA rising! (Brigham)

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