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L.A. Live's Ritz-Carlton Tower Shines for Gala

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, January 14, 2010, at 12:44AM
Spirit of Life  Award Dinner Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Guests at a VIP reception atop the Ritz Carlton pool deck watch as the 54-story tower is lit up.



L.A. Live's typically flashy light show was just a bit brighter on Wednesday, as the 54-story Ritz Carlton tower was officially lit up for the first time.

The JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels inside don't make their debut until February 15, but the structure was whipped into shape just a little bit early to host a gala that raised $9 million for City of Hope.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilwoman Jan Perry, Marriott International President Arne Sorenson and Greg Vilkin of MacFarlane Partners joined AEG CEO Tim Leiweke in performing the ceremonial lighting after a brief reception hosted by Huell Howser.

"I just want to say congratulations to Tim Leiweke and to AEG for having the guts to go and to follow through and to turn their vision into reality," said Schwarzenegger, who also spoke at the tower's groundbreaking on June 1, 2007.

The elected officials all praised the jobs created by the project, but Councilwoman Jan Perry's thanks was personal. "You've made my night," she told Leiweke. "I walked in here and I'm walking down the hallway and I see one of the young people from a non-profit in the southern part of the district. He removes graffiti, and he has a job here now. You gave him a career path."

The tower is the centerpiece of the $2.5 billion L.A. Live complex. It contains an 879-room J.W. Marriott, a 123-room Ritz Carlton hotel and the 224-unit Residences at the Ritz Carlton.

Connected via a skywalk over Georgia street are the hotel's ballrooms, site of Wednesday night's City of Hope Spirit of Life award dinner. This year's award was presented to Leiweke for his and AEG's work in raising money for the Duarte-based research hospital and its quest to find a cure for cancer.

Video shot by Jordan Katnik for blogdowntown.

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