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Glam and Glitz for the Ritz

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, June 01, 2007, at 01:50PM
Ritz-Carlton Groundbreaking at L.A. Live Dave Bullock

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Ritz-Carlton tower at L.A. Live on June 1, 2007.

You can now add Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a future Downtown Los Angeles property owner. AEG President and CEO Timothy Leiweke confirmed to the crowd gathered at L.A. Live for the groundbreaking ceremony of the The Ritz-Carlton Residences,  Ritz-Carlton Hotel and JW Marriot Hotel, that the Governor placed a deposit on a Ritz-Carlton condo. "From petty cash," joked the Governor wearing alligator, while sitting in the front row with the Mayor, Speaker of the California State Assembly Fabien Nunez, and California State Senator Gil Cedillo.

Groundbreaking glitz it was; a large chandelier hung from a crane, a string quartet was playing, and maƮtre d's with bright white towels showed dignitaries the red carpet that lead them to front row seats overlooking the actual groundbreaking site. Billed as the event of the emerging vibrant Downtown, everyone was in peak form showing absolute enthusiasm for the area referred to as the "magnet for tourism and investment."

L.A. Live will contain the hotel condominium tower totaling 2 million sq ft on 2.5 acres, alongside Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center. Sometimes referred to as a West Coast version Times Square, a topic of debate here and elsewhere, the Mayor added it as a place where L.A. comes together.

Before the speakers took the stage, J.W. Marriot Jr. said before the ceremony that it was the changes in Downtown that brought in investors like MacFarlane Partners.

Yet, 9th District Councilmember Jan Perry brought forth to the crowd an important idea. L.A. Live as a whole has to take into consideration those who want to -- not just those who have to -- walk to jobs and residences. "Jobs" and "tourism destination" are words shared by everyone, but how L.A. Live serves Los Angeles day to day is vital once the construction is done and in between events.

We can't all live next door to Arnold.


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