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Local Hotels: UCLA Hotel Would Have Unfair Advantage

The proposed $152 million guest center on campus is on the agenda for a UC Regents meeting this month.

The proposed UCLA conference and guest center is facing its next challenge, this time from a coalition of local hotel owners and managers who say the hotel presents an unfair advantage in the local hospitality community, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports.

The university announced plans to build the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center in 2011 to accomodate conferences and other university events in a larger conference room. After several revisions to its design and proposed location, the business plan for the hotel will be reviewed at a meeting of UC Regents on March 27. Currently, a seven-story, 255,000-square-foot building with 250 guest rooms located on the site of Parking Structure Six near Pauley Pavilion is on the table.

But Westwood hotel managers and owners, who benefit from all kinds of UCLA visitors, say the UCLA hotel will have a competitive edge. Because the UCLA hotel would be publicly owned, hotel owners say guests won't be charged an occupancy tax. Rates at the UCLA hotel are estimated to be about $185 -- $34 cheaper than the average room in a Westside hotel.

Bob Amano, executive director of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Business Journal his organization is seeking a "fair-competition, equal-playing field."

"The association is not saying that we are against any hotel development," Amano told the Los Angeles Business Journal.

The Hotel Association of Los Angeles is considering a legal challenge, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.

In response, UCLA has acknowledged the difference in cost and pledged to open the hotel to UCLA visitors only.

"We aren't competing for tourists or business travelers," UCLA Vice Chancellor Steve Olsen told the Los Angeles Business Journal.

To read more about this in the Los Angeles Business Journal, click here.

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