LA’s Infamous Cecil Hotel Goes Up for Sale

The Cecil Hotel — the infamous Los Angeles site of mysterious deaths and a Netflix true crime documentary — is now up for sale.

New York firm Simon Baron Development is selling the ground lease for the 15-story building, located at 640 South Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The property was developed as a luxury hotel in the 1920s but was converted to homeless housing in 2019 with $45 million in financing from the L.A. City Council. It reopened in 2021 as the Hotel Cecil Apartments.   

According to the listing on LoopNet, there are 91 years remaining on the ground lease for the 601-unit housing complex. The site is owned by 248 Haynes Hotel Associates, an entity tied to New York hotelier Richard Born, property records show. Born acquired the site in 2014 and agreed to a lease with Simon Baron two years later. 

Simon Baron was previously targeted by homelessness non-profit Housing is a Human Right. The group questioned why the units in the Cecil Hotel remained vacant as the city faced a homelessness crisis. According to the listing, the 105,400-square-foot property is currently 60 percent leased, with occupancy rates projected to jump to around 80 to 90 percent by the middle of this year. 

The asking price was not disclosed. 

The listing promises profits based on the site’s qualification for a state program that reduces its taxable value. 

“Affordable housing is known for its low turnover rate, providing a stable investment environment. The income from this investment is guaranteed by government subsidies, adding an extra layer of security to the financial performance of the property,” the listing reads. 

The hotel’s history is so grim that it has inspired both real and fictionalized accounts of horror. At least 16 people have died on the premises, according to Esquire. 

Perhaps the most famous case was that of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, who was killed in the hotel under mysterious circumstances. In 2013, Lam went missing for 19 days before being found in a water tank at the roof of the hotel. The mystery surrounding the case resulted in a Netflix documentary called “Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.” 

The property also housed serial killers Jack Unterwerger and Richard Ramirez (also known as the Night Stalker). Ramirez reportedly stayed in the hotel during his 1985 killing spree. 

This hotel’s notoriety reportedly inspired the fifth season of television anthology series “American Horror Story.” In a 2015 interview, Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, said that he based the season on the Cecil Hotel and the disappearance of Lam. 

A Colliers team composed of Adam Tischer, Jeffrey Donnelly and Dmitry Levkov who hold the listing did not respond to a request for comment.   

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