Permits to city of Monrovia indicate Aztec Hotel may reopen in coming months

Two conditional use permits approved by the city planning commission for the city of Monrovia, California, indicate the historic Aztec Hotel will reopen as a lodging establishment with a restaurant after being closed for about nine years.

Keith Johnson reported on the Route 66 Los Angeles page on Facebook that the planning commission on May 27 approved the permits for the hotel and its Mayan Bar and Grill restaurant.

According to a planning commission staff report, Qin Han Chen acquired the property at 311 W. Foothill Blvd. (aka Route 66) in 2012, though it hasn’t been open since about 2011.

The report stated:

The Aztec Hotel has not operated in many years due to decades of accumulated poor maintenance and poor repair practices. Over the past several years Mr. Chen has expressed a desire to complete the necessary renovation and rehabilitation tasks, as well as secure the appropriate land use approvals to reopen the hotel for business. Although progress has been slow, he has made several improvements. In 2013, the Historic Preservation Commission approved a scope of work that allowed the removal and replacement of walls within the hotel guestrooms. A new roof was installed in 2012, and parking lot improvements were completed in 2016.
In 2019, Mr. Chen completed renovations on three significant features that were in disrepair and visible from the public right-of-way. This was a condition of approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness COA2017-05 (Appeal) in order to maintain non-period guestroom doors that were initially installed without permits. Specifically, the conditions of COA2017-05 (Appeal) required Mr. Chen to:
— Repair the collapsed non-structural pyramidal decorative element on the southeast corner roof parapet;
— Rehabilitate the guestroom windows that are visible on the south and east building elevations;
— Repair the neon sign lighting on the front façade; and
— Obtain permits for the guestroom doors. […]
In compliance with the PD-26 land use regulations, Mr. Chen is seeking approval of Conditional Use Permit to commence operation of the Aztec Hotel in conjunction with guestroom service (food and alcohol) provided by the Mayan Bar and Grill restaurant.

Here’s more in the report about the owner’s plans for the property:

Mr. Chen intends to operate the Aztec Hotel as a boutique hotel, capturing a majority of guests who are interested in its association with Route 66 and its Mayan Revival themed architecture. It may also attract those interested in its haunted history and legends of paranormal activity. All of the 44 guestrooms can accommodate a maximum of two people. The traditional guestrooms are designed to provide overnight stays ranging from one to seven days. These rooms have a private bathroom and have been recently furnished with antique furniture and artwork. The studio apartment units are proposed for extended stays. Each studio contains a private bathroom and a small kitchen.

The Aztec Hotel was built in 1925 and designed by the architect Robert Stacy-Judd. In 1978, the Aztec Hotel was designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was later designated as a Monrovia Local Historic Landmark in 2003.

(Image of the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, California, by Steve Walser via Flickr)

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