The West Hollywood City Council gave its final endorsement to the Melrose Triangle project tonight, allowing the developer to proceed with a development that has been in the planning stages since 2003.
The Council agreed to grant the developer, the Charles Company, a demolition permit and a development permit. At its meeting on Aug. 18, the Council had certified the project’s environmental impact report and changed the city’s zoning ordinance to accommodate the project.
With its approval, the Council asked that city staffers consider several steps to reduce the possible impact of the project on area traffic. These include the possible construction of traffic circles on Almont Drive at Rangely, Dorrington and Ashcroft avenues and converting the north-south alley just east of Doheny Drive to a one-way alley. The Charles Company has agreed to cover the $250,000 cost of those measures.
Council members expressed opposition to a proposal by city staffers to study the impact of eliminating left turns from northbound Doheny Drive by drivers wanting to head west on Santa Monica Boulevard. The Council agreed, however, to a proposal by Councilmember John Heilman that the city determine if there are ways to reduce the impact of traffic moving from Doheny to Santa Monica Blvd. without necessarily barring lefthand turns.
The Melrose Triangle project will consist of three buildings containing 303,000 square feet of commercial and residential space that will sit on a plot of land bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Almont Drive at the city’s border with Beverly Hills. The latest iteration of its design, by the Studio One Eleven architectural design firm, positions it as a dramatic gateway into West Hollywood for those traveling east from Beverly Hills.
The majority of residents speaking to the Council tonight expressed support for the project. Those who opposed it, including Lyndia Lowy of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance and Adrian Scott Fine of the Los Angeles Conservancy, said they were concerned that the design calls for the demolition of the Streamline Moderne building at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd. that was known as the Jones Dog & Cat Hospital. That building, now empty, was built in 1928 and renovated in the Streamline Moderne style in the 1930s.
The LA Conservancy has filed a lawsuit to stop the demolition of the building, arguing that the city failed to study alternatives that would have allowed the preservation of the Streamline Moderne building. The city has argued that that building has not been designated as a local cultural resource and that it has been altered in various ways since its redesign in the Streamline Moderne style in 1938.
The Charles Company has agreed to find a way to preserve the entrance to the 9080 Santa Monica building within the project.