By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor
InterContinental Hotels Group will be the operator of a luxury, 900-room, hotel being built by Korean Air and Hanjin Group on the top floors of the $1.1 billion Wilshire Grand mixed-use skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles. When completed in 2017, it will be the largest InterContinental hotel in the Americas.
The 73-story, 1,100-foot tall development will be the tallest building in the Western United States. The building will have 360-degree views of Los Angeles and the hotel will have a sky-lobby and observation deck on the 70th floor – the first on the West Coast.
Built on the site of the former Wilshire Grand hotel at Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street, the development will have about 365,000 square feet of office space. It will have 45,100 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 60,000 square feet of meeting space and a fitness center and spa.
The project has been in the planning stages for several years. Korean Air, which has owned the site since 1989, received approval from the City Council in April 2011 to move ahead with demolishing the existing hotel. Construction started in 2013.
Kirk Kinsell, president, the Americas at IHG, said the company will operate the Los Angeles hotel as an InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property.
“InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is IHG’s luxury brand, which we have grown to be more than twice the size of any other luxury brand globally,” Kinsell said in a news release. “We remain focused on building its presence in top-tier cities and resorts around the globe; and our partnership with Korean Air is very much in line with this strategy. We are pleased to be working with such highly experienced owners.”
The hotel, which will be the first owned by Korean Air in the United States, will be located on the 31st through 73rd floors.
“The InterContinental brand is well-respected by world travelers and embodies the luxury experience we intend to provide at the Wilshire Grand. They recognized the potential of this significant project, and that was important in our decision,” Heather Cho, vice president of Hanjin International Corp., said in the release.
Hanjin and Korean Air have become one of the largest logistics and travel/hospitality companies in the world, including the largest Asian airline in Los Angeles.
In addition to InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, British-based IHG has eight other hotel brands in its portfolio: Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, EVEN Hotels and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts.
IHG has 180 hotels in more than 60 countries. Last month, IGH announced it was in talks with Constellation Hotels Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of Qatar Holding, to buy the historic InterContinental Paris – LeGrand Hotel for about $442 million. IHG would continue to manage the hotel for at least 30 years if the deal closes as planned later this year. Earlier this year, an affiliate of Constellation Hotels Holding Ltd. acquired an 80 percent stake in Manhattan’s InterContinental New York Barclay hotel for $240 million. IHG still owns the remaining 20 percent.