With five prop­er­ties un­der Tao Group’s cool canopy and a dream ho­tel above, Hol­ly­wood is hav­ing an un­ex­pected resur­gence.

Hamptons Magazine - - Contents -

The brain­child of four guys who sum­mered in the Hamptons— Noah Tep­per­berg, Ja­son Strauss, Richard Wolf, and Marc Packer—tao Group is one of the coun­try’s pre­mier restau­rant and nightlife com­pa­nies, with a port­fo­lio that in­cludes the big­gest rev­enue driv­ers in both New York City and Las Ve­gas. But it’s the group’s new prop­erty in Los An­ge­les that is get­ting a whole lot of buzz right now. It’s lo­cated in what was once a less-than-ap­peal­ing part of Hol­ly­wood—the cor­ner of Selma Av­enue and North Cahuenga Boule­vard—but Tao Group and its part­ners at Dream Ho­tels had a long-term vi­sion to build a com­mu­nity buzzing with nightlife and restau­rants, and that is just what they have done. “It’s im­por­tant to put Hol­ly­wood back on the map,” says Ayo Akin­sete, gen­eral man­ager of Dream Hol­ly­wood, “mak­ing it one of LA’S sta­ple neigh­bor­hoods, sim­i­lar to Bev­erly Hills, West Hol­ly­wood, and other iconic LA lo­ca­tions.”

The 150,000-square-foot prop­erty, al­most as big as a block of mid­town Man­hat­tan, is a new cor­ner­stone for Tao Group, fea­tur­ing the 300-seat Asian eatery Tao Los An­ge­les; a rooftop restau­rant called the High­light Room, with a lounge, pool, grill, and views all the way to the Hol­ly­wood sign; Beauty & Es­sex, a flex­i­ble din­ing space with a vin­tage pawn shop; a night­club called Av­enue—all de­signed by the award-win­ning Rock­well Group—as well as Lu­chini Pizze­ria & Bar, de­signed by Stu­dio Col­lec­tive, for late-night eating, lo­cated con­ve­niently near Av­enue. All of the venues are ac­ces­si­ble from a peb­ble­stone street cre­ated to make the Tao world feel quite in­ti­mate, and it does. Ideally for Tao Group, guests will book rooms at the Dream Hol­ly­wood—whose in­te­ri­ors, de­signed by the Rock­well Group, pay homage to the city’s iconic Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture—and never have to leave the prop­erty, much like an ex­pe­ri­ence in Las Ve­gas.

Los An­ge­les is un­doubt­edly in the midst of a ma­jor ho­tel resur­gence, but Hol­ly­wood has not been con­sid­ered a de­sir­able lo­ca­tion for a long time. Ac­cord­ing to Tep­per­berg, how­ever, “We are al­ways very me­thod­i­cal when­ever we de­cide to ex­pand, es­pe­cially into a new mar­ket. In re­gards to LA, we were wait­ing for the right op­por­tu­nity to present it­self, but un­til now, it hadn’t felt right. This block al­lowed us to bring mul­ti­ple brands of ours to the LA mar­ket at one time.” The project rep­re­sents noth­ing less than the re­birth of what had been a run-down neigh­bor­hood rife with drug deal­ers and the home­less.

Tao Group has been known for re­vi­tal­iz­ing neigh­bor­hoods, and it was es­sen­tial to the com­pany to find an area where it could work its magic. “We are al­ways up for a chal­lenge,” says Tep­per­berg, “even if we’re faced with a lo­ca­tion in a neigh­bor­hood that re­quires us to cre­ate a new ge­o­graphic trend.”

The num­ber of new vis­i­tors that Tao Group is bring­ing to Hol­ly­wood weekly is as­tound­ing: Nearly 3,500 peo­ple en­ter and exit the prop­erty be­tween Thurs­day and Sun­day ev­ery week. That is hos­pi­tal­ity gold. “Our crowds are al­ways a mix,” Tep­per­berg ex­plains. “Whether an ac­tor, DJ, or per­former, it’s all about cu­rat­ing the best scene. We’re see­ing thou­sands of re­peat guests com­ing to our venues on a weekly ba­sis. It’s ex­cit­ing to see that the LA mar­ket is em­brac­ing what we’ve cre­ated.”

“Dream Hol­ly­wood is truly un­like any­thing this city has ever seen,” notes Jay Stein, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Dream Ho­tel Group, “set­ting a new stan­dard for hos­pi­tal­ity and be­com­ing a hot­bed for cre­ativ­ity, cul­ture, and en­ter­tain­ment. The Gun­nar Peter­son Gym at Dream Hol­ly­wood pro­vides guests with a one-of-a-kind well­ness ex­pe­ri­ence, cu­rated by the elite celebrity trainer. It is also home to Lipps, the epony­mous West Coast ven­ture of One Man­age­ment founder Scott Lipps, which will rep­re­sent top mod­els, celebri­ties, and other Hol­ly­wood in­flu­encers.”

So what’s next in Tao Group’s ex­pan­sion plans? A new bou­tique ho­tel in Man­hat­tan. “Moxy Times Square is sim­i­lar to Tao in Los An­ge­les in that it en­com­passes a few dif­fer­ent con­cepts un­der one roof,” says Tep­per­berg. “How­ever, for Moxy Times Square, we’re in­tro­duc­ing a unique collection of venues with en­tirely new con­cepts ex­clu­sive to this project. We col­lab­o­rated with Light­stone, one of the largest and most di­ver­si­fied pri­vately held real es­tate com­pa­nies in the United States, to de­velop these venues, which will each as­sume its own dis­tinct at­mos­phere. From the be­gin­ning, we knew that this would be a dif­fer­ent kind of project for us—we fo­cused on at­ti­tude rather than ex­clu­siv­ity for these prop­er­ties. And in part, it’s about the ex­pe­ri­ences to be had.” 6417 Selma Ave., Hol­ly­wood, CA, 323-844-6417; dreamho­­ly­wood; taogrou­

Both chicly mod­ern and a glam­orous throw­back, Dream Hol­ly­wood is the new lux­ury ho­tel from Tao Group and Dream Ho­tels.

The pa­tio of the restau­rant Beauty & Es­sex, hid­den be­hind a work­ing pawn shop.

The grill at the High­light Room, with spec­tac­u­lar views of the Hol­ly­wood Hills.

The daz­zling new Asian restau­rant Tao Los An­ge­les, headed by chef Ralph Sca­mardella.

Tao Las Ve­gas part­ners Lou Abin, Richard Wolf, Marc Packer, Noah Tep­per­berg, and Ja­son Strauss.

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