Expansion Planned for Hilton Universal City Hotel Would Add 395 Guestrooms

Universal City, Los Angeles, Hilton Universal City Hotel, Ankrom Moisan Architects, SALT Landscape Architects, Sun Hill Properties, Atlas Hospitality Group

By Catherine Sweeney 

A large expansion plan is one step closer to realization at the Hilton Universal City Hotel. A recent draft environmental report for the project shows that the planned expansion at the Universal City hotel would include a total of 890 guestrooms upon completion.  

The project is located at 555 Universal Drive and comes from Sun Hill Properties with designs from Ankrom Moisan Architects, Inc. and SALT Landscape Architects. Overall, the project includes the addition of an 18-story, 295,688 square foot hotel building containing 395 guestrooms. 

The project would also provide approximately 464 new vehicle parking spaces, a new lobby, three restaurants and a bar and lounge space, a spa, a rooftop pool area and more. Various other improvements – including landscaping, additional meeting spaces and added square footage for plumbing and electric equipment – are also part of the project. 

Upon completion of the project, the Hilton Universal City Hotel would provide approximately 696,609 square feet of total floor area. Currently, the 7.26-acre site is developed with a 24-story hotel building with 495 guestrooms. Also onsite is an attached ancillary hotel building with meeting and banquet rooms, a three-level parking garage, an outdoor pool area and two plazas to the north and south of the site.

According to city documents, public comments on the draft environmental report will be accepted through Jan. 15. of 2024.

The project comes as the state as a whole is experiencing a significant decline in overall hotel development. In the beginning half of the year, just 20 hotels opened throughout the state, according to a report from Atlas Hospitality Group. This was a decline of 31 percent when compared to the same period in 2022. However, the number of hotels under construction saw a slight increase by around five percent, while the number of rooms was relatively flat, around 16,000 rooms for both periods. 

Across the state, however, Los Angeles County recorded the strongest hotel growth. During the first six months of 2023, a total of six hotels opened in Los Angeles County. The county also had the largest number of hotels under construction, with 21 hotels and just over 2,300 rooms built during that time. This number is set to grow in the coming quarters as the region has 230 hotels and over 35,000 rooms in planning.