Sun Hill Plans 400-Room Expansion at Hilton Universal in Los Angeles

New building will rise 18 stories adjacent to existing hotel and Universal Studios

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Sun Hill Properties wants to significantly expand operations at the Hilton Los Angeles-Universal City with revised plans to add a 395-key hotel adjacent to the existing hotel and Universal Studios.

The second hotel will rise 18 stories and complement the 495 rooms at the landmark 24-story Hilton in the unincorporated district named Universal City just off the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. The L.A. City Planning Commission and City Council are expected to consider and vote on the proposal in 2024.

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Seattle-based Ankrom Moisan Architects designed the expansion next to the hotel, which will also feature a rooftop restaurant and a luxury spa. The Hilton Universal at 555 Universal Hollywood Drive is also home to Café Sierra and Five on the Hill

“After over 30 years of serving Los  Angeles and the greater San Fernando Valley, we owe these additional rooms to the region, as we prepare to host the 2028 Olympic Games and tourism numbers continue to rise,” Mark Davis, president and CEO of Sun Hill, said in a statement.

Indeed, Los Angeles’ visitor count is approaching 2019 levels, and city hotels recorded the fifth-highest bookings in the U.S., according to a midyear hospitality report from Marcus & Millichap. However, hotel investment sales have nearly disappeared in L.A. due to interest rate hikes and the city’s new transfer tax on commercial real estate deals above $5 million. Just one hotel sold for more than $5 million in the second quarter this year, when there are typically 15 to 20 sales in the second quarter of the year, per Atlas Hospitality Group.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.