A cool boutique hotel would be a big change from the Barclay’s current use as much-needed single-resident occupancy (SRO) housing for low-income tenants. (The LA Conservancy describes it as a “low-income residential hotel.”) If the building sells and the owner wants to make it into anything besides an SRO, finding new housing for those tenants first would be the responsibility. The approximately 30 residents would all have to be relocated to different SRO housing situations—a process that could cost somewhere between $2 and $3 million (but is pretty vital considering housing affordability issues the whole city’s grappling with). *Barbara J. Schultz of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles adds in an email that the Barclay is covered by both a city ordinance and a legal settlement that mandate a “no net loss policy,” meaning any new owner would have to replace all SRO units demolished or converted for another use, beyond just relocating tenants; the new affordable units created would have to be rented at 35 percent of the area median income.
Another expense to consider is that the 100,000-square-foot hotel is also a city Historic-Cultural Monument, meaning that a future buyer “will also have to be familiar with the restoration of historical properties” if they wanted to make any changes (which is highly likely).
The 165-room structure began its life as the high-end Van Nuys Hotel, designed by architects Morgan and Walls, and the first in LA to provide electricity and telephone service to every room, the LA Conservancy says. The interior still holds plasterwork, columns, decorative ceilings, and stained glass that hints at the structure’s glamorous past. Perhaps for those features and others, the hotel has steadily attracted location scouts, who’ve put the Barclay Hotel in films like Inception, Armageddon, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, (500) Days of Summer, and As Good As It Gets, according to I Am Not A Stalker.
The building’s owner, Vasquez Trust, was in the news last year when they gave the boot to long-time weirdo bar tenant Bar 107, which is also in the Barclay building. Known for affordable booze and an eclectic atmosphere in a sea of so many fancy mixology spots, Bar 107’s owner and the Barclay’s owners were unable to reach agreeable lease terms and so Bar 107 shuttered (but not without a fight).