New Hilton Universal expansion design alternative presented, Los Angeles

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The Department of City Planning issued a draught environmental impact study this week that displays a second layout for a proposed expansion of the Hilton hotel near the front door of Universal Studios.

The hotel, located at 555 E. Universal Hollywood Drive, is a well-known sight for cars on the adjacent 101 motorway and theme park visitors. It is a 24-story skyscraper with 495 guest rooms, amenities, conference spaces, and basement parking.

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Since 2017, developer Sun Hill Properties has sought permission to add 395 guest rooms to the building. This brings the total number of rooms available at the Hilton to 890. Originally announced as a 15-story skyscraper, a 2018 renovation increased the tower’s height to 17 floors. The most recent modification changes the expansion’s profile even further, calling for an 18-story, about 231-foot-tall structure.

The revamp is also the work of a new architecture company, Ankrom Moisan, but it preserves elements from previous incarnations of the project, such as the diamond-shaped footprint and ideas for a rooftop pool. In addition, the proposal would add 460 new parking spaces to the existing 652 stalls on the property.

Construction timeline for the Hilton Universal project

Construction of the Hilton Universal extension is projected to take 30 months. It will begin in 2024 and end in 2027, pending approval of project entitlements by local officials in Spring 2024. Previously, construction was scheduled to begin in 2023 and end in 2025.

“It’s been a long time coming, and we are thrilled to have reached this critical milestone in our entitlement process, bringing us one step closer to making this expansion a reality,” Sun Hill Properties president and CEO Mark Davis said in a press release. “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.”