Thứ Ba, Tháng Năm 30, 2023
HomeNewsBeverly Hills voters seem to reject the luxury hotel project

Beverly Hills voters seem to reject the luxury hotel project

The people of Beverly Hills have spoken out, and it seems they have foiled the world’s richest man’s plan to build a luxurious hotel on Rodeo Drive.

In Tuesday’s special election, voters are deciding whether to rescind the City Council’s approval of a multibillion-dollar hotel project led by French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his group. His luxury group, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is at the top or not. The referendum, initiated by the hotel federation Unite Here Local 11, gathered the signatures needed to force the issue to hold a special election and criticized the city for not prioritizing affordable housing.

Total votes released by the Los Angeles County registry on Friday afternoon showed the campaign against the hotel leading with a little over 120 votes, or about 1.8 percent. The registrar’s office said 135 ballots remain unprocessed, pending signature verification; Additional mail-in ballots postmarked on election day and arriving before Tuesday will also be processed.

Beverly Hills voters appear to have delivered a stunning rebuke to a popular project backed by 4/5 of the City Council, the city’s business and ultra-funded coffers. of Arnault and his corporation.

In a city of just 22,160 registered voters, LVMH has spent at least $2.9 million on its election campaign, an amount that far exceeds that of its rivals.

“It is a sad day for our city. While I respect the democratic process, I believe our community has lost an incredible addition to Rodeo Drive, which will provide additional funding for vital city services. ,” said Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold, adding that it was “regrettable” that change “should have been driven by this labor union or any labor union.”

John Mirisch, the only council member to oppose the project, said he was “a bit shocked and speechless” on Friday afternoon, adding that it was “as if Houston Astros, trash cans and all … lost to Beverly Hills High School’s JV baseball team.”

He describes the results as clearly “a big win for Beverly Hills — meaning the Beverly Hills community, not the ‘brand’.”

Supporters argue that the Cheval Blanc hotel will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes over the next three decades. Detractors mainly criticize the project’s size compared to the surrounding business district, as well as the lack of revenue dedicated to affordable housing.

Along with Unite Here Local 11, the project was deprecated by Residents against overdevelopment, a grassroots group led by former City Council candidate Darian Bojeaux, who helped collect signatures for the referendum. Bojeaux and others on her team argued that the hotel would be too large for the community and would negatively affect quality of life.

Representatives for the union, which represents those working in the hospitality industry across the region, said they oppose the hotel because the development agreement does not spend any money on affordable housing. They argue that cities like Beverly Hills often change their development rules to make it easier to build commercial luxury projects, but that doesn’t always do the same for housing.

“We oppose the clear priorities of Mayor Gold and the former Mayor [Lili] Bosse, and not voting would show the voters of Beverly Hills agree that these council leaders made a mistake. We believe the city’s priorities should be building affordable housing and tackling the climate crisis, not changing development rules to make it easier to build luxury commercial projects. ,” said Kurt Petersen, co-chair of Local 11 on Friday.

The proposed hotel would range from four floors to a ninth-floor penthouse, which is higher than the current zoning rules allow and would include a members-only club, restaurant, boutique retail and spa. It will reshape Rodeo Drive’s northern commercial boundary along Little Santa Monica Avenue and replace several buildings on Rodeo and North Beverly streets, including a former Richard Meier-designed site in Central Paley Media Center.

Beverly Hills’ development agreement with LVMH stipulates that the company contribute $26 million to the city’s general fund, in addition to $2 million to arts and cultural programs. The city will also receive an additional 5% surcharge on top of the usual 14% temporary occupancy tax.

According to the city’s analysis, the hotel is expected to move about $725 million into Beverly Hills coffers over the next 30 years, most of which comes from a 19% combined bed tax.

Voters were asked two questions: whether they would approve a zoning amendment that would allow the developer to build a hotel significantly larger than the current regulation allows, and whether they approved the city’s development agreement with LVMH. Both the zoning amendment and the development agreement have been approved by the City Council.

Results were nearly identical for the questions, with the “no” campaign leading with around 120 votes for both as of Friday afternoon.

Voter turnout in the out-of-cycle special election was close to 32%.

When reviewing early voting results, consulting firm Politic Data Intelligence found that older voters outperformed; residents over the age of 65 accounted for nearly half of early voting, despite making up less than a third of all voters in Beverly Hills. The racial demographics of special election voters closely mirror the demographics of the broader constituency, with white voters making up just 10% of those registered in Beverly Hills and 9% of early votes are returned, according to the PDI.

PDI vice president Paul Mitchell said he thinks election day demographics will be similar to what was seen with early returns.

Anish Melwani, president and chief executive officer of North American subsidiary LVMH, previously told The Times that the company would not attempt to bring the project back before the board if voters overturn approval. of the project, saying that they have gone through “a very good run”. and rigorous processes with the City Planning Commission and City Council.”

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