This is huge! According to the LA Times, the Giannini Building at 7th and Olive was just purchased by NY-based hotel developer Sydell Group, which is also currently converting the Commercial Exchange a block south at 8th and Olive into the trendy hostel Freehand. The news of the Chetrit Group selling this amazing 12-story historic edifice for $39 million to one of New York’s best boutique hotel developers — they opened The Line here in Koreatown, for instance — is especially significant given the building’s strategic location along 7th Street.
Up until now, the completely abandoned and neglected Giannini has sat as an eyesore, becoming an outdoor public toilet for vagrants, and as a result, seriously impeded the revitalization of 7th Street from continuing eastward past Olive Street. That’s why this project will be extra amazing when completed not only because it’ll help clean up this seedy corner, but it’ll also allow the development momentum to flow into the moribund Jewelry District, whose days are numbered as well.
With a rich historical background, the Giannini Place was completed in 1923 as the Los Angeles headquarters for the Bank of Italy, which would eventually morph into the modern iteration of Bank of America. From grand opulence to obsolescence, after sitting abandoned for many decades, this historic gem with its beautiful corinthian columns that greet the front entrance will be reborn as a 250-room boutique hotel with a yet-to-be-determined hotel flag, but possibly the NoMad brand from New York (for North of Madison Square Park).
Some of the details related to the upcoming hotel revealed by Sydell CEO Andrew Zobler include a new restaurant and bar on the first floor. The hotel lobby will also have a grand living room lounge converted from the main former banking floor from its Bank of Italy days. This is where hotel guests can work or relax and unwind tucked away from the exciting bustle of an increasingly energetic Downtown LA. In addition, the rooftop will undoubtedly become the next hottest place to gather with a planned swimming pool and event space with spectacular city views.
Because of the unpredictable nature of adaptive-reuse projects, it is hard to say exactly when the hotel will open, but if Sydell has its way, we could be looking at our first reservations sometime in 2018.