BERNARD Arnault (picture), the world’s richest man, will scrap a plan to build a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills after residents in the wealthy city appeared to vote against the project.
While some votes remain to be counted, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE confirmed that two measures on the Cheval Blanc Beverly Hills project have fallen short by a “narrow margin,” according to a statement late Friday by spokesperson Jessica Miller.
“If the final vote count confirms the voters’ rejection of our project, we will respect the outcome, and will not bring the hotel project back in any form,” Miller said in the statement.
Arnault had planned to build an ultra-luxury boutique hotel and private members’ club on Rodeo Drive. Supporters of the hotel project had said taxes and other payments would generate about US$800 million over 30 years for Beverly Hills, while critics argued the building would obstruct views and contribute to traffic congestion.
The most recent tally showed 50.9% of voters rejected the hotel project — a narrow 123-vote margin over the supporters. The final results will be certified on June 2, according to the Los Angeles County registrar’s office.
“The election results — if they hold — show that Beverly Hills is more than just a brand to be monetised,” John Mirisch, a city council member who opposed the project, said in an email. “It’s our home.” – BLOOMBERG