As Downtown Los Angeles lay dying a decade or so ago, few had the fiscal or political capital to really get things moving. Enter LA Live, an ever-evolving destination for entertainment, sports and dining, and a welcomed revenue magnet for the city.

With plenty of places to eat, park, stroll, catch a movie, see a show, or cheer your favorite Lakers / Clippers / American Idol finalist, L.A.
Live's sprawling campus is home to the Staples Center on one end, Nokia Theater across the street, and everything from Lucky Strike bowling to Katsuya sushi between and around the famous venues.  What it doesn't have is a place for people to sleep.

Come February 2010, a 54-story, glass shard of elegance will fix that problem with not one, but two, new hotels opening doors on the property. JW Marriott will assume the lower portion of the hotel's footprint with 878 rooms/suites while The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles takes the upper floors with 123 rooms/suites under their banner. The Ritz-Carlton will also offer 224 private residences (opening at $1.4M) for those sufficiently wooed by the City of Angels during their visit.

The new development will also house seven restaurants and bars -- some of which spill out onto the pedestrian 'square,' and some onto one or the other of the twin rooftops. Also opening on the premises is an upscale, full-service spa (for those twisting their necks at the persistent growth), and 6,000 combined square-footage of fitness centers.

JWM will have the Illy Coffee Bar, Glance, the lobby lounge, a mid-level experience called The Mixing Room, and a full-service restaurant called LA Market (celeb chef negotiations are ongoing). R-C will sport a rooftop resto (also with unnamed celeb chef) with a private dining room and wine cave, as well as an outdoor bar area.

Most importantly, the entire structure raises LA's convention cache, moving the city toward the top of the list where companies or trade associations would like to empty their wallets. Proximity to the Convention Center, means massive meeting spaces were built into the new digs --
77,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting and event spaces, three ballrooms, nine ancillary meeting rooms and three boardrooms comprise The Gallery Collection.

Of course, locals will also be drawn in by the newness of it all -- no Angeleno can resist a glitzy "urban resort" experience. The soaring building (a Gensler creation) is a testament to natural light with the exterior in shades of blue with gold accents. Soaring staircases (still under construction) and a four-lane, entry-only lobby are unique to LA, too (guests will exit via a different lobby).
 Towering glass doors mesh seamlessly with neighboring Live structures and make for easy interaction with the crowd or other nightlife spots. Illuminated against the night skyline this will undoubtedly become an iconic, signature structure for Los Angeles.

As for playing well with others, The Figueroa Hotel and comparable area landmarks have long held their own through niche appeal and historical charm. Plus, higher-end hotels can often rise the tide for all hotel boats -- the more convention business is attracted, the more occupancy rates will improve across the board.

At least, that's the theory.

...Want sneak peek photos? Check out our friends at Flickr and Hotel Chatter for some insider imagery.