By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Of course, the Ambassador would still make an ideal school site. More than 2,000 high school students live within six blocks. According to district sources, the deal now under negotiation would include developers led by Magic Johnson’s business team, which would raise $20 million to $30 million to buy the front part. A high school would occupy the rear section, while Seventh Street would be extended through what is now the main hotel structure. The leftovers of the Trump team — Trump sold out in 1998 — would exit through foreclosure proceedings or become a party to the new development agreement.
But if L.A. Unified wants to build fast, it also may have to deal with preservationists from the Los Angeles Conservancy. In addition to being the site of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Ambassador played the role of both grand hotel and Hollywood nightspot, catalyzing the development of Wilshire Boulevard. Litigation from the Conservancy could delay demolition for a year or two. Instead, the conservancy is offering a fast-track compromise that would preserve the main hotel building, while also allowing some commercial development in front and a small high school in back. The old hotel could be re-used, for example, as the school-district headquarters, freeing the district’s downtown headquarters for conversion to a school, said Ken Bernstein, the Conservancy’s director of preservation issues. School-board member David Tokofsky, who chairs the district’s facilities committee, said the suggestion merits consideration.
District sources, however, report resistance from City Councilman Nate Holden to any high school. Holden could hold up commercial development, as well as any change to the city street grid. He did not return calls, but reportedly regards high school students as detrimental to business development on Wilshire.
“There is no clean, easy answer to any of these things, and there are an awful of moving parts right now,” said Ketchum. “The school district needs about 20 Howard Millers.”
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city