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Though new hotel construction continues to lag across the U.S., downtown Los Angeles will soon receive a jolt of activity in the form of a $172-million Marriott project.

Located across West Olympic Blvd. from LA LIVE and the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels, the 373,000-sq-ft, 23-story development will include a 174-room Courtyard by Marriott, and a 218-room Residence Inn by Marriott, including 11,754 sq ft of meeting facilities and 5,100 sq ft of restaurant space.

Construction is expected to begin this spring, with the grand opening slated for summer 2014.

The project is being built by SODO Builders LLC, Seattle, with architecture by Portland’s GBD Architects and interior design by Seattle’s Degen & Degen.
A partnership of Seattle’s American Life Inc. and Portland-based Williams/Dame & Associates are the owners and developers.

At an event to launch the project this week, Project Executive Jim Atkins said the project is “a significant milestone in the continuing renewal and explosive growth of downtown Los Angeles.”

“According to a study by CLS International that was recently commissioned by the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the average city has 7,300 hotel rooms available within a half mile of its convention center,” said City Councilwoman Jan Perry during the event. “Los Angeles has less than 1,700. These two Marriott properties will add nearly 400 rooms and boost our city’s competitive edge when it comes to attracting more convention business.”

Homer Williams of Williams/Dame and Associates said the project is expected to fuel new economic activity in addition to drawing new convention business to downtown L.A. “The property is optimally located within walking distance of the Los Angeles Convention Center and will drive convention and group business," he said. "Also, the influx of hotel guests will contribute over $89 million annually in off-site taxable spending throughout the area.”

Equity funding for the project has been provided through American Life Inc. Henry Liebman of American Life Inc. referred to the development as a stellar model of his company’s EB-5 financing program, which provides Green Cards for foreign nationals who invest a minimum of $500,000 for job-creating projects in targeted employment areas. Under the EB-5 program, each investment in a hotel development must encourage economic growth and result in the creation of 10 new full-time jobs.

The hotels represent the first dual construction of a Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott on the West Coast. According to Marriott President and CEO-elect Arne M. Sorenson, the hotels will also be the “only nationally-branded extended-stay and select-service venues within walking distance of the Los Angeles Convention Center, and will complement the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles, L.A. LIVE and The Ritz-Carlton hotel across the street. The Residence Inn provides a good option for families, while the Courtyard offers a variety of price points, appealing to a wider diversity of guests.”

Looks like Marriott definitely has that corner sewn up.