WESTWOOOD—The Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center is expected to face a loss of $3.7 million by end of its first year operating. The center experienced low occupancy rate, with only 44 percent of the space booked in the first half of this year, the Daily Bruin reported.
Peter Angelis, assistant Vice Chancellor of Housing and Hospitality Services, talked with the Daily Bruin, noting that the low figure was partly due to the fact that the center only just started accepting booking in September even though its fiscal year began last June.
The center will not make any profits because it owes on a $112 million loan that funded construction, despite a $40 million donation from the Luskins. Located in Westwood Plaza near Ackerman turnaround, the $152 million structure contains 259 guest rooms, with 25,000 square feet of space. Over 219 conferences had been booked, with over 20,000 guests staying.
According Angelis, conference attendees accounted for 60 percent of booked rooms, with 40 percent of those conferences UCLA-related. Personal affairs made up the rest, such as visiting parents or faculties from other universities.
Save Westwood Village, a non-profit organization, filed a lawsuit in 2012 with the Los Angeles Superior Court, stating that the center violated zoning laws and that it took away business from local hotels, as reported by the Daily Bruin.
Laura Lake, co-President of Save Westwood Village, said, “We are in support of the Conference Center, but it does not need to be a hotel, too.”
“We want UCLA to be a responsible neighbor,” said Lake.
UCLA released a statement in response to the opprobrium, explaining that the center would not actually be competing against local hotels because guests must be affiliated with the university.