Once a den of prostitution and drugs, the Cecil Hotel in downtown L.A. is set to undergo a $100-million renovation

The Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles is set to undergo a $100-million renovation by a New York City developer, which aims to transform the former den of prostitution and drugs into a hip boutique hotel and micro rental units. The plan for the hotel is yet another example of the development boom sweeping downtown, where old buildings are being revamped and new hotel and condo towers erected.

“We are gutting the entire building,” said Matthew M. Baron, president of Simon Baron Development, which this month signed a 99-year ground lease with the building’s owner, 248 Haynes Hotel Associates. “We are going to redevelop it from the doorway to the roof and everything in between.” But the transformation of the hotel – which served as an inspiration for a season of “American Horror Story” – could prove controversial. The Cecil, a 600-room tourist and residential hotel, has been the subject of litigation in recent years as housing advocates looked to preserve cheap residential hotel units in an increasingly gentrifying downtown.

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