Los Angeles Commercial Development News: There was a buzz back in August when the Los Angeles City Council gave the go-ahead to Township Partners’ Sunset Strip Project. The mixed-use development will be designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. However, residents, business owners, and LA councilman David Ruyu voiced concerns about traffic and congestion in this part of the strip. There were also concerns over the height of the 5 proposed buildings and a perceived lack of low-income housing. And now there’s anger over the historic building being demolished to make room for the development. Here’s a summary of the roadblocks the 8150 Sunset Boulevard project has faced since it was approved.
Plans to demolish Sunset Boulevard’s Chase Bank Building at 8150 Sunset Boulevard as part of the Frank Gehry-designed Sunset Strip Project are now on hold. On Tuesday, December 13th, the LA City Council unanimously voted to grant the building Historic Cultural Landmark status. (Learn More About Frank Gehry on Wikipedia)
Townscape Partners received the green-light to build a proposed mixed-use complex in July.
Originally proposed as five buildings with approximately 65,000 SF of retail space and 249 housing units, the project was scaled down in October due to traffic and congestion concerns. The size of the tallest building was reduced from 234 feet to 178 feet. Housing units were reduced from 249 to 229 with 38 units designated for low-income residents (up from the original 28). Townscape also promised to pay the city $2 million to improve the traffic island adjacent to the development.
Townscape has 180 days to re-evaluate plans and include the historic structure, but the building could still be raised since historic-cultural monument status is more of a recommendation than something concrete at the moment. (Read: “Could this 29K sf bank building get in the way of Frank Gehry’s biggest LA project” at The Real Deal)
This latest roadblock comes on the heels of the Los Angeles Conservancy filing a lawsuit against the city. The nonprofit, which works to preserve historic structures in Los Angeles, claims the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Their claim is the city approved the Sunset Strip project with no regard to the Kurt Meyer-designed landmark Chase Bank building. (Read: “City slapped with lawsuit over Gehry-designed Sunset Strip project” at The Real Deal)
The CEQA helps safeguard the natural environment as well as historically significant buildings. (Read: “California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Historical Resources)
According to Curbed, the Cultural Heritage Commission recommended landmark status for the bank, but City Council approved the project before the Planning and Land Use Management Committee made a decision on its historic and cultural designation.
Stay tuned, Los Angeles.