On the cutting edge of what people want right now, The W Hollywood Hotel & Residences offers that otherwise unattainable, heady mix of relaxation and stimulation that is so sought after, yet so hard to find. Willed into existence by a group of visionary businessmen and brands that consistently envision and create only the best, the luxurious—and aggressively cool—W Hollywood is the epitome of what its creators do best.
So let’s talk about those creators. Just who are the power players behind the development that has everyone talking and the A-listers flocking? Who are the risk-takers that are courageous and confident enough to embark on a project that, after 10 years in the making, is finally breathing life back into a faltering neighborhood, and can be credited with igniting the restoration of Hollywood back to its former glory?
Think of classic film Pretty Woman. As the movie closes, a happy (but perhaps crazy) man walks the streets of Hollywood, near where Julia Roberts’ lady-of-the-night character staked claim on the Walk of Fame, and says, “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’. This is Hollywood.”
Real estate developer Marty Collins went to Hollywood at Hollywood and Vine 10 years ago with a dream: to build a property that would serve to revitalize this area back to the celebrated status of its glorious past. A property that would serve as an urban center for redevelopment, a transit-orientated development, a Silver LEED-certified icon amidst landmarks, a shining beacon of example for other like-minded entrepreneurs to follow. “Our desire is to get the business of Hollywood an offering that will reinvigorate this neighborhood to its former stature, a renaissance so to speak,” he explains. But he couldn’t make it happen by himself. So he convinced other highly successful brands, individuals, and firms to believe in his dream so that, together, they could make it come true.
First, with his broker and long-time friend Mary Ann Osborn, Marty found the ideal perch for his property at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The final location could not be more Hollywood; the Walk of Fame passes in front of the hotel. Capitol Records’ and Paramount Pictures’ headquarters are but a stone’s throw away. And the W Hollywood is on its way towards attaining the same type of legendary status as the renowned landmarks that surround it.
Next came the flag that the property is flying: The W. It didn’t take Collins much to get its parent company, Starwood, to believe in his vision for a transformative property in the midst of a not-so-haute neighborhood. Collins founded his development company Gatehouse Capital in 1995 and has since amassed a countrywide portfolio that is dominated by Starwood properties. Collins explains that he was drawn to the W brand because it is “always evolving along the parameters of design and entertainment. This, coupled with the global distribution, frequency programs, and service standards of a huge international company like Starwood has led to properties that are always authentic to the markets and customers that they serve.” And with the undeniable allure of the haute W brand in place, the project quickly caught the attention of a number of likeminded entrepreneurs and respected companies who wanted to be a part of the magic.
Marty found a solid financial partner in HEI Hotels & Resorts, a preeminent company focused on high-profile investments in the hospitality sector. Based in Norwalk, Conn., this leading hospitality firm only invests in in full-service, upper-upscale, and luxury hotels, representing significant institutional concerns, including a who’s who of the nation’s largest endowment funds. Then came Chef Sascha Lyon of New York five-star restaurant fame, who partnered with Innovative Dining Group for the in-house dining aspects of the W Hollywood. Followed by Victor Drai and Cy and Jesse Waits, the trio behind a slew of Las Vegas’ hautest nightlife venues, who will soon open a new club in the W. And, of course we can’t forget about heavyweight real estate company Sotheby’s, which lends its impeccable reputation and clout to the sales of the residential portion. The sales team is led by none other than Russ Filice, who happens to be the No. 1 agent in high-rise sales in all of Los Angeles.