The Sportsmen’s Lodge, a landmark hotel that was once a local haunt for old Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne, could be transformed into a 5.8-acre mixed-use community featuring rental housing, shopping and dining.
The current hotel building dates back to the 1960s, although the original was built in the 1880s. The sprawling complex currently includes an Olympic-sized pool, two bars, a café and landscaped grounds. During the 1930s, it even featured a trout-fishing lake with an onsite restaurant that would cook up your catch.
According to reporting by The Los Angeles Times, the owners of The Sportsmen’s Lodge — Midwood Investment & Development — intend to demolish the 190-room hotel to make way for 520 apartments, 78 of which would be slated for affordable housing. Dubbed The Residences at Sportsmen’s Lodge, the apartments would feature studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floorplans.
Designed by Los Angeles-based design-build practice Marmol Radziner, the three residential buildings would pay homage to the hotel’s Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. Ranging from three to seven stories, the rental residences would be situated near the Los Angeles River and a verdant stretch of the Riverwalk Path.
Ground-floor retail and restaurant space would be included, in addition to subterranean parking for 1,385 vehicles. A new 90,000-square-foot retail development called the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge is scheduled to open this fall adjacent to the planned residential complex, replacing a former banquet center. The shopping center will be anchored by tenants like Erewhon Market, Equinox, Sugarfish, Madison Reed and Amazon 4-star.
The development plans call for publicly accessible open space to be used for dining, shopping and recreation purposes. A new pedestrian path leading from Ventura Boulevard to the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge would be added, along with a new community plaza by the river. Encompassing nine acres, the entire project is estimated to cost $500 million with an approval timeline of about two years.
Midwood’s Senior Vice President of Development, Ben Besley, told the Times he intends to discuss the development plans with local residents and stakeholders to garner their support. The Sportsmen’s Lodge has been closed to hotel guests since the pandemic began and was used for 12 months by Project Roomkey in an effort to shelter Los Angeles’ homeless population.
According to a recent Instagram post, The Sportsmen’s Lodge will make a “reopening announcement this fall,” suggesting the hotel could stay open until construction begins on The Residences at Sportsmen’s Lodge.