125 Votes Separate LVMH From Building Cheval Blanc Hotel in Beverly Hills


Bernard Arnault.
Bernard Arnault. AFP via Getty Images

A slim margin of votes separates French billionaire Bernard Arnault from building an ultra-high-end hotel that would allow the rich and famous to be as close as possible to the luxury items they love along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif. 

After a special election earlier this week, updated results released Friday afternoon show a 125-vote difference against conglomerate Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) from building a 109-room Cheval Blanc-branded hotel, according to Los Angeles County officials.

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Voters were asked two questions: if Beverly Hills should approve a zoning amendment to allow the hotel to be built taller and double the size that is currently allowed at the site, and if they approve of the development and tax agreement. Both need to pass for the building to move forward. With about 7,005 votes counted, 123 separates the former question, and 125 separate the latter.

Another vote update is scheduled for May 30, and results will be certified on June 2.

Opponents of the ballot measures include a community group and a hotel union fighting against overdevelopment and for an inclusion of affordable housing payments, according to the L.A. Times. But supporters don’t want to miss out on the huge tax revenue that the hotel would provide. 

If the project is approved, LVMH would contribute $28 million to the city. Beverly Hills would also receive an additional 5 percent surcharge over its regular 14 percent transient occupancy tax, and the hotel is expected to generate about $725 million over the next 30 years. LVMH is also reimbursing the city for the cost of the special election 

The City Council approved the project last year. But Unite Here Local 11, which represents hospitality workers across the region, collected the signatures to force a citywide vote.

LVMH plans to build the hotel up to nine stories, with a members-only club, restaurants, retail and a spa at the northernmost of those three blocks of Rodeo Drive. Designed by Peter Marino, it would be the small city’s 17th hotel, and the first North American property for the Cheval Blanc chain.

LVMH is deeply invested in Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle district, with 15 properties in the immediate area.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com