Ambassador Hotel Site, California

The Ambassador Hotel, torn down in 2005, was a legendary urban resort built on Wilshire Boulevard in 1921, with over 600 rooms and 13 acres of floor space, designed by architect Myron Hunt. For a few decades it was a popular place for celebrities, from Hollywood stars to politicians, to wine, dine, and mingle. The Academy Awards ceremonies were held in the Cocoanut Grove theater in the hotel six times in the 1930s and 1940s. Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the hotel's kitchen in 1968. The hotel closed in 1989. In its final years, the empty hotel was used exclusively as a film and television shooting location, hosting as many as 100 productions a year. After a prolonged legal battle among competing development interests, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) acquired the site for $76.5 million in 2001, with the intention of building a large public school complex. A decision having been made to raze most of the old hotel (excluding a portion of the Coconut Grove), demolition began in 2005, and was completed in 2006. The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex opened its doors in 2010, at a final cost of $578 million, making it the most expensive school ever constructed in the U.S.