Studio City's famed Sportsmen's Lodge hotel could be replaced by 520-unit apartment complex

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Friday, July 28, 2023

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Studio City staple might be a thing of the past.

The Sportsmen's Lodge already underwent a major remodel to bring in housing and shops, but now developers are considering getting rid of the historic hotel all together.

The Sportsmen's Lodge has been part of the area before movie studios existed. It's changed over the years.

With the new plan the hotel would be gone and replaced by apartments.

It would be called the Residences at Sportsmen's Lodge and would bring 520 apartments, shops and restaurants. To do this, the existing hotel would be demolished.

"We believe that the currently proposed project's additional 45,000 square feet of retail space for 10-15 tenants would enhance a direct connection to Ventura Boulevard, and the overall success of the shops as a community benefit," said Scott Hayner with Midwood Investments.

But the size of the project is a huge concern for residents.

"Studio City has been and continues to be bombarded by overdevelopment," resident Lori Rittenberg said.

It would be along the Los Angeles River and normally there are restrictions regarding the height of a building, but because it includes low-income housing it can go much higher.

"With the density bonuses and all the incentives, they can go 94 feet or even higher - that would be the tallest building in Studio City," said Scott Mandell with the Studio City Neighborhood Council.

The hotel has some Hollywood history. Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn all went there. Some feel it is historic and should be preserved.

At Thursday's planning commission meeting, one worker said through an interpreter he worked at the hotel for 27 years and doesn't want to see it get demolished.

Juan Muñoz with the Hotel Workers Union called the Sportsmen's Lodge a historic hotel and a significant resource that is "important to labor history and to the surrounding community."

In the end the commission voted to approve the project. That has residents disappointed.

"I don't actually blame the developer," Mandell said. "These are all state mandated incentives where they can, in our view, overbuild."

If it gets final approval construction would take nearly four years.

Correction: An earlier version of this report stated that hotel employees were concerned about losing their jobs. The Sportsmen's Lodge hotel was permanently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.