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Even in 1971, Convention Center Hotel Rooms Were a Hot Topic

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007, at 09:04AM

On this date in 1971, the Times devoted a great deal of coverage to the opening of the new Los Angeles Convention Center, which had held its dedication the day prior. When Mayor Sam Yorty cut the ribbon in front of the facility it capped a thirty-one year effort to build a convention facility in LA (including an ill-conceived attempt to locate the structure in Elysian Park).

Then just as now, one of the major concerns in the convention business was the availability of hotel rooms. One of the pieces that ran in the coverage package was titled, simply, "Hotels: Are there enough?"

Los Angeles has been criticized for not having enough hotel rooms. It has been feared that the convention-exhibition center, at least during the first few years of operation, will suffer from a lack of in-town accomodations for thousands of delegates, wives, and other visitors who will be attending large, major conventions. But the hotel situation is now as bleak as it would appear, according to the Los Angeles Convention Bureau, a nonprofit civic organization created nearly 50 years ago to solicit and service conventions and trade shows for the city.

The article touts the Convention Bureau's ability to offer a convention a block of up to 4,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the center. Including in the list of participating hotels are a few that seem quite a bit odd today: 550 rooms at the Hayward Hotel, 500 rooms at the Alexandria, and 550 rooms at the Hotel Clark. No longer in hotel operation, even then those facilities seem to stretch the normal definition for how far "walking distance" might reach.

Of course today this is all topical thanks to the current construction of the Convention Center hotel as part of LA Live. The 1000-room facility will finally offer the Convention Center a chance to make good on definitions its been trying to stretch for 36 years now.

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