Restaurant Woo Mi Kwan, on the second floor of JJ Grand Hotel, is temporarily closed. The restaurant, which also operated a banquet room, said it closed after reaching an agreement with the new landlord, with whom it had been in conflict.
However, individuals and organizations that had booked year-end events at the restaurant were left with no choice but to look elsewhere, as they were not informed in advance.
At the entrance of the JJ Grand Hotel at noon on November 28, about 10 members of the Koreatown Rotary Club of Los Angeles gathered, confused. They had convened at the hotel for their bi-weekly meeting. Upon discovering that the entrance to the first floor of the JJ Grand Hotel was locked, they quickly sought an alternative meeting place. Some members stayed behind to guide latecomers.
One member said, “A week ago, the restaurant informed us that the meeting could be held with no problem. We didn’t hear from the hotel about the closure until we arrived at the entrance today. It’s absurd that there is already $1,100 we paid to the restaurant in advance.”
The entire entrance of the JJ Grand Hotel was firmly closed that day. The entrance to the parking lot was also closed. A notice was posted on the front door on the first floor, stating that the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control would transfer ownership of the restaurant’s liquor license as of November 3.
Since September, Restaurant Woo Mi Kwan, on the second floor of the hotel, has been in dispute with the new owner of the hotel building, who acquired the property earlier.
At the time, the restaurant said, “We signed a contract with the new building owner in April. The owner said he would start remodeling the hotel next month and subsequently increased the rent by $2,000. However, the phone line was cut off because the new building owner did not pay for it.” They added, “The building owner even sent us an eviction notice.”
“The new building owner has to cut off electricity and water to remodel,” a lawyer for the restaurant, who filed a lawsuit with the LA County Court, said in a phone call with Korea Daily on November 28. “Two weeks ago, the building owner and the restaurant agreed to suspend the operation.” The lawyer declined to comment on the inconvenience caused by the sudden suspension of business.
Earlier in mid-March, there was a conflict between the hotel and some guests during the ownership transfer. The hotel asked guests to vacate their rooms regardless of their remaining reserved days. The new building owner said it would take three months to completely remodel the hotel, but no significant construction has started.
Meanwhile, the Korea Daily attempted to contact the new owner of the JJ Grand Hotel and the restaurant owner of Woo Mi Kwan but received no response. According to the real estate industry, the JJ Grand Hotel, with 71 rooms and various banquet halls, was listed for sale in February for $22.5 million and sold to a non-Korean company a month later. Despite the new owner’s assertion that it would remodel the hotel within three months, significant work has yet to commence.
BY HYOUNGJAE KIM, JUNHAN PARK [firstname.lastname@example.org]