We now know the general outlines of the hotel/conference center revised plan but the devil is in the details. We know the project is not replacing the Faculty Center. But at least one error in FAQ section – reproduced in the prior post – has been found. The earlier proposal for the Faculty Center site had a projected room rate of $360/day when put on a basis corresponding to what the recent FAQ response says would be $185 before inflation. But the FAQ put that number as $270, not $360. So there is an inconsistency, apparently, that someone will have to explain. And is it really likely that hotel room rates in the local area will almost double in nominal dollars in 4 years? That’s a lot of inflation for a depressed economy – one which the UCLA Anderson forecast suggests will be with us for some time.
More generally, we lack the business plan. We don’t yet have available a business plan that indicates, for example, what the assumed occupancy rate is projected to be. That rate matters a lot, given the size of the project: 250 rooms (down from 282, but still big). As the FAQ notes, the hotel/conference center cannot take commercial business. We don’t know what kind of forecast of (overnight) UCLA conference activity is being made.
It is important that the project have a viable business plan. Otherwise, the campus in some way or other will pick up the losses. If the project displaces existing parking and new parking must be built, will the cost be shifted into overall parking rates? It will displace an existing parking structure, according to the info made available.
Presumably, someone will eventually make the detailed plan available. Sooner would be better than later. In the meantime, below is a photo of the location where the new hotel/conference center will be.
Update: The LA Times story on the plan is at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ucla-hotel-20111102,0,2528189.story