Early news of a proposed hotel at Los Feliz's tricky five-way intersection of Sunset, Hollywood and Hillhurst has triggered nervous rumors that the 91-year-old Vista Theatre may lose its lot and close.
The gossip even alarmed the Vista employee who runs the company's Facebook, who wrote a since-deleted post asking Quentin Tarantino to buy the theater. (The Django Unchained director purchased the New Beverly Cinema's building in 2007.) The post was shared hundreds of times and more panic ensued, enflamed by the SaveLosFeliz blog that concluded that between El Chavo, The Good Luck Bar, the Vista, and the new hotel, the already-crowded corner simply wouldn't have enough parking.
Vintage Cinemas owner Lance Alspaugh was out of town at CinemaCon, the annual conference for the National Association of Theatre Owners, and was unable to quell the fear. But now he can.
“It's absolutely untrue,” insists Alspaugh. “It's just totally 100% false.”
Yes, a new hotel has been proposed, though Alspaugh stresses the discussion is in the early stages. There's only been one meeting about it and the city has yet to approve. Regardless, the new hotel won't elbow into the Vista's lot. In fact, he welcomes the development. ]
“We're excited about the hotel,” says Alspaugh. “I just think it makes the area that much more happening.”
While the plans are preliminary, in its current incarnation the new build will be a small, boutique hotel with – whew – underground parking. There's also been a brainstorming session about finding an off-site lot with shuttle service, though for now, that, too, is just an idea.
As for the suggestion that the Vista file to become a historical landmark, Alspaugh would rather not as that status comes with restrictions that could limit any future remodels or technological upgrades.
“We're here to stay as long as the customers are happy,” says Alspaugh, who's already thinking about the Vista's 100-year anniversary celebration in 2023. He laughs confidently. “Trust me, I would be the first one screaming if there was a problem.”
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