It has been over a year (see post of April 26, 2011) since Woodfin, LLC requested, at the last minute, that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors allow it to withdraw its previously approved proposal for a 19-story, 225 foot high hotel on Via Marina, in Marina del Rey. That request was, as Supervisor Don Knabe admitted, made in response to wide-spread and very vocal opposition to the project by local residents, neighborhood groups, political representatives, boating organizations and many others. The opposition was led by We Are Marina del Rey, a non-profit watch-dog organization. Instead, Woodfin, LLC said that it would submit a revised and down-scaled plan for a 5-story hotel which the BOS then remanded to the Department of Regional Planning and the Design Control Board for review.
As there have been no reports from any of these entities about public hearings on the revised plans for the hotel, The Silver Strand News queried Santos H. Kreimann, Director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors as to what progress was being made. In response, we received an email on May 20, 2012 from Carol Baker, the Department’s Public Information Officer, about the status of the hotel. The proposed lessee of the parcel 9, on which the hotel is to be sited, is now The Hardage Group which submitted a revised proposal of the scaled down hotel, to the Department of Beaches and Harbors on April 17, 2012. The Woodfin Hotels were formerly a subsidiary of The Hardage Group, but following several bankruptcy hearings in 2011, it appears that the Woodfin Hotels have been sold off. The Hardage Group, rather than Woodfin Hotels, LLC, is now listed as the proposed developer and lessee. According to Ms. Baker, The Hardage Group is proposing to obtain a franchise from the Marriott Corporation which currently has 2 hotels in the area. The Hardage website states that the hotel would be a Courtyard by Marriott. The CEO of The Hardage Group is Samuel A Hardage, creator of both the Woodfin and Chase Suite Hotels. In 1982, he became the first franchiser of Marriott’s Residence Inns. In her response, Ms. Baker says that:
We are aware of the recent Chapter 11 filings of certain funds operated by the Hardage Group for specific properties. The County’s review of Hardage’s revised project will include a determination that the company has the financial capability to construct and operate the proposed hotel under the terms of a County ground lease.
Ms. Baker says that there will be a number of opportunities for the public to review and comment on the revised hotel plan before it is approved. The first public meeting on the project will be later this year or in early 2013.