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.