Tonight’s grand opening ceremony for The Redbury Hotel is the culmination of an interesting journey for 1717 Vine Street. Just a few years ago, this site used to be a parking lot for adjacent offices, the Pantages theatre, and various nightclubs over the years such as The Palace which became Avalon, Deep which became Basque and its successors Spider Club which became Bardot. Then the real estate markets went insane along with the hype of the Hollywood renaissance, enticing developers to build projects such as the W Hollywood, The Broadway lofts, and in the case of 1717, the Palihouse Vine.
Ah yes, the Palihouse Vine. It was supposed to be the second British-themed hospitality project for Avi Brosh’s By Palisades development company, as a follow-up to the Palihouse that we have grown to love on Holloway in West Hollywood. Unfortunately, after completing about 85% of the Palihouse Vine, the real estate and hospitality markets took a turn for the worse and By Palisades defaulted on its rumored $28 million note from East West Bank. According to the LA Times, it’s estimated that Brosh spent about $50 million building the Palihouse Vine.
Like more and more deals over the past couple of years, one man’s loss breeds another’s opportunity. It turns out that CIM Group, led by billionaire Richard Ressler, bought the defaulted note from East West for $15.8 million sometime in late 2009. CIM then foreclosed on the property, and took possession of the unfinished hotel earlier this year. They then brought in Sam Nazarian’s SBE Group as a partner to complete the hotel at a cost of approximately $5 million, and this is why we now have The Redbury, at a cost basis of roughly 40 cents on the dollar from what Palihouse Vine would have cost! What this means to you: No Mortgage Debt + 60% Savings + CIM + SBE = Lots of money to ensure everything is done right.
Now onto the grand opening of The Redbury, brought to us by SBE and the wonderful staff at Jessica Meisels’ Fingerprint Communications. Upon check-in, guests were given a ticket with a detachable stub rather than the typical wrist band. Nice touch. As one enters, one of the security staff detaches the stub to permit entry into the hotel. Was this a party or a show?
First impression upon walking in is that the hotel has a lot of red. Not only is the building’s exterior painted red, but lots of red lighting throughout the party. On the north side of the lobby is Cleo, SBE’s modern interpretation of Mediterranean cuisine. One thing that we noticed is that this party had a very tight guest list. As a result, service for the grand opening party was impeccable; with plenty of tray passed finger foods, a full sampling of Cleo’s menu via an entrée buffet complete with a carving station, dessert trays, a charcuterie, appetizer buffet and multiple bars throughout the property serving top shelf liquor, specialty cocktails, and very short wait times at the bar. Drinks and food were very good, especially given the number of guests served. Our readers can definitely expect a full review of Cleo in the coming weeks. Such execution was possible only through the combination of smart logistics, plenty of staff, and inviting just enough guests to make the party lively, but also relaxing and enjoyable. Truly a job well done, and in this respect, one of the best grand opening parties of the year, maybe even the past few years.
This makes a lasting and positive first impression for The Redbury, and in this case, I believe the hundreds of thousands spent on this party were well worth it.
The Matthew Rolston (who was discovered by Andy Warhol and is an accomplished music video, commercial and art director) designed space was an interesting mix of British, contemporary, and urban-industrial. For example, there was comfortable European and British furniture on top of hardwood floors, red painted walls with various rock and fashion themed photographs and ornate mirrors, yet the ceilings had exposed ventilation ducts and pipes. This eclectic look is quintessentially Hollywood, where the tastemakers enjoy the juxtaposition between contemporary minimalism and ornate homage to classic European design in the same room. Compared to SLS, the Redbury’s design was cleaner, simpler, and forward thinking, which should appeal to its target market of young jet-setters.
Rooms are a generous 800 square feet, complete with a balcony, separate parlor, and kitchenette. Some have views of the courtyard, others of Hollywood, and there are even those that face Avalon’s wall and fire escapes. The suites are “industrial chic” like one would find in a Downtown or Hollywood loft apartment with exposed pipes and ducts but softened with the aforementioned cozy furniture and bright colored accents. One interesting design element is a shiny beam that accents the countertop which flanks the kitchenette area. This beam (a pole, really) bears a striking resemblance and functionality to one found at a gentlemen’s club, but cleverly integrated. I wonder how many injuries will occur in the wee hours of the morning, given the combination of a high countertop, high ceiling, and hard floors without carpeting!
Towards the end of the night, after a speech thanking his family, friends, and partners, Sam Nazarian was presented an award by President of the LA City Council Eric Garcetti (Harvard-Westlake ’88), Mayor Antonio Villaraigrosa, and LA Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. According to Nazarian, The Redbury is providing 75 new jobs in the hotel, and an additional 75 new jobs for the restaurant. We at DT [Daily Truffle] are very glad to hear that companies like SBE are doing their part to help our dismal economy and job market. In addition, it was also revealed that CIM will be joining forces with SBE for the SLS South Beach in Miami, slated to be open in 2012. Also, Nazarian dropped hints about another SBE nightclub opening just down the street on Wilcox. We will of course keep you posted….
Notable People: Sam Nazarian, musicians Franky Perez, Macy Gray, Camp Freddy members Dave Navarro, Donovan Leitch, Matt Sorum, Billy Morrison and Chris Chaney, Councilman Eric Garcetti, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Entourage’s Dania Ramirez, Lady Victoria Hervey, music manager Peter Katsis, Adrianna Costa (entertainment reporter and FHM’s 100 hottest women in 2009), Lady Victoria Hervey, RJ Williams (Younghollywood.com), Doug Reinhardt, Trousdale’s Darren Dzienciol, Bobby Ghassemieh, and Los Angeles real estate royalty including John Lyons (owner of Avalon and Bardot), Nicolas Berggruen (real estate investor), Jay Luchs (real estate agent), Richard Ressler (Founder/Principal of CIM reality investment group), Rick & Kathy Hilton (Hilton & Hyland), Kurt Rappaport (real estate agent), Tyson Park, Brooke Mueller (real estate investor and ex of Charlier Sheen), and party co-host art director and designer of the The Redbury’s interior Matthew Rolston.
Camp Freddy, featuring Billy Morrison, Dave Navarro, Matt Sorum, Donovan Leitch, and Chris Chaney then closed out the party with a great performance with special appearances by Franky Perez and Macy Gray. Just seeing Macy Gray perform The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket” with the Camp Freddy crew made the party well worth it.
That, and the girls walking around, wearing chandeliers on their heads; a nice Gaga inspired touch!
We also feel the need to give a shout out to our hard-working friends at SBE who have treated us so well over the years and made us feel so welcome at The Redbury last night. Though there are undoubtedly many names we left out (our sincerest apologies), here’s who we saw last night, and in no particular order: Chanell Oliver, Matt Erickson, Costas Charalambous, Boe Trumbull, Mio Danilovic, Terrance Burton. These professionals who we are lucky enough to call our friends collectively make up the backbone of SBE in Hollywood.
So all in all a spectacular night with great food, drinks, service, music, people and a great property in ground zero Hollywood. We truly hope The Redbury and Cleo will find great success in this tough hospitality market, and if last night was any indication, there are plenty of reasons for Nazarian to be optimistic in fulfilling his vision of making Hollywood into LA’s version of NYC’s meatpacking district.
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