London's private club gets Oscar residence
London’s Soho House Group is taking over the top floor of 9200 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, with the space to serve as its Oscar-week outpost. At least three nights of activities are planned.The 6,000-square-foot highrise space will become the org’s permanent private members club. Move marks a change in plans. The entertainment-heavy Soho House last year took over a long-term lease of the former Morton’s restaurant space (Daily Variety, May 11), with plans to make that space the private club. But the West Hollywood venue will remain as a restaurant, now becoming Cecconi’s. It an offshoot of London’s Cecconi’s, which has been owned and operated by Soho House Group since 2005. With the cancellation of Vanity Fair’s Oscar night soiree, Soho House could step up with an event that night, though there are no official plans for it at this time. Soho House Group founder and CEO Nick Jones said, “We have opened up temporary private clubs in West Hollywood in the week preceding the Academy Awards for the past four years and have always been welcomed warmly by the entertainment community — so we are delighted to be advancing plans that will make Soho House a permanent fixture in the city.” Cecconi’s, the famed Mayfair-area eatery, opened in 1978 and is a London industry mainstay. On Friday, Working Title held its third-annual pre-BAFTA dinner there, with guests including James McAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Thandie Newton and Rhys Ifans. The L.A. Cecconi’s is set to open in early 2009. The 9200 Sunset space will undergo significant renovation, with the club set to open in 2009. Both venues must still receive final planning approval. Soho House West Hollywood will be one of four U.S. clubs — along with New York and the in-the-works Miami and Chicago houses — run by the rapidly expanding group. Los Angeles is the only Stateside city so far where two venues are planned. Much of the growth is being powered by an influx of cash from U.K. clothing mogul Richard Caring, who bought out various existing Soho House Group shareholders last month. Over the past few years, Caring has gobbled up stakes in a number of London hotspots favored by top celebrities, including the Ivy and Le Caprice restaurants and Annabel’s nightclub.