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Hotel Cecil
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia/Jim Winstead

Hotel Cecil—L.A.'s infamous 'murder hotel'—could become a historic landmark

Brittany Martin

The creepiest hotel in L.A., Hotel Cecil, is up for landmark status to preserve the building—and, presumably, any ghostly spirits living inside—from possible future demolition. Already a landmark in ghost-hunting circles, advocates think that the 1924 Beaux Arts building by architect Loy L. Smith should be an official historic site.

Considered by many to be one of the city’s most haunted places, Hotel Cecil has been linked to dark and eerie business for decades. Murders and suicides have plagued the building since it opened; in the 1980s it served as home base for serial killer Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker, who committed 13 murders while living there), and was the site of the headline-grabbing rooftop water tank death of Elisa Lam in 2013. From its earliest days, Hotel Cecil was known as a stomping ground for transients, prostitutes and assorted other questionable folks. Anyone who watched American Horror Story will likely recognize Cecil as the inspiration for the series's 2015 season.

Recently, NBC4 reports, the current owners of the building, Simon Baron Development (owners of several swanky lodgings in New York City) have been making renovation moves. Their goal is to try to update things and make Hotel Cecil into a trendier, less terrifying place to stay. There has also been talk of converting some portion of the hotel into apartments, for people really willing to bunker down with all those possible poltergeists around. Perhaps with the landmark designation, they’ll be able to promote the hotel’s long history in Downtown L.A. without having to talk too much about all the grizzly stuff.

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