WEHOville

Faring Capital to Restore The Factory

Thu, Jul 14, 2016   By Staff    34 Comments
An image of the revised plan for Robertson Lane, included a restoration of The Factory.

An image of the revised plan for Robertson Lane, included a restoration of The Factory. (Design by Hodgetts & Fung).

Faring Capital has announced that it will restore most of the historic Factory building on Robertson Boulevard and integrate it into its Robertson Lane hotel, restaurant and shopping complex.

The decision, by Faring CEO Jason Illoulian, won immediate praise from the the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) and from the L.A. Conservancy, the most prominent historic preservation group in greater Los Angeles.

“The redesigned proposal for Robertson Lane incorporating The Factory is the result of continued efforts between preservationists and Faring Capital and should be a template for future cooperation as a win-win for all involved,” said Roy Rogers Oldenkamp, WHPA’s president.

Robertson Lane's front elevation, featuring The Factory, on Robertson Boulevard.

Part of the front elevation, featuring The Factory, of Robertson Lane. (Design by Hodgetts & Fung)

Thanks for the feedback. Any content paid for is labeled as “sponsored content” — the only example currently is the story about WeHo car accidents sponsored by Glen Lerner. It is a very serious violation oh journalistic principles and a major disservice to readers to write stories because an advertiser pays you to. And yet that does happen (the Publisher of a local magazine recently announced at a Chamber event that those who bought ads would get stories, a Practice that most Professional Publishers and Journalists view as corrupt. I do not accept free Travel, free admission to events, free drinks or any of the many free meals offered by new restaurants.

I have seen flurries of comments taking a particular position after publication of a story but cannot verify whether the commenters are paid to offer their opinion or truly mean what they day.

Thanks for the feedback. Any content paid for is labeled as “sponsored content” — the only example currently is the story about WeHo car accidents sponsored by Glen Lerner. It is a very serious violation oh journalistic principles and a major disservice to readers to write stories because an advertiser pays you to. And yet that does happen (the Publisher of a local magazine recently announced at a Chamber event that those who bought ads would get stories, a Practice that most Professional Publishers and Journalists view as corrupt. I do not accept free Travel, free admission to events, free drinks or any of the many free meals offered by new restaurants.

I have seen flurries of comments taking a particular position after publication of a story but cannot verify whether the commenters are paid to offer their opinion or truly mean what they day.

Thanks for the feedback. Any content paid for is labeled as “sponsored content” — the only example currently is the story about WeHo car accidents sponsored by Glen Lerner. It is a very serious violation oh journalistic principles and a major disservice to readers to write stories because an advertiser pays you to. And yet that does happen (the Publisher of a local magazine recently announced at a Chamber event that those who bought ads would get stories, a Practice that most Professional Publishers and Journalists view as corrupt. I do not accept free Travel, free admission to events, free drinks or any of the many free meals offered by new restaurants.

I have seen flurries of comments taking a particular position after publication of a story but cannot verify whether the commenters are paid to offer their opinion or truly mean what they day.

Thanks for the feedback. Any content paid for is labeled as “sponsored content” — the only example currently is the story about WeHo car accidents sponsored by Glen Lerner. It is a very serious violation oh journalistic principles and a major disservice to readers to write stories because an advertiser pays you to. And yet that does happen (the Publisher of a local magazine recently announced at a Chamber event that those who bought ads would get stories, a Practice that most Professional Publishers and Journalists view as corrupt. I do not accept free Travel, free admission to events, free drinks or any of the many free meals offered by new restaurants.

I have seen flurries of comments taking a particular position after publication of a story but cannot verify whether the commenters are paid to offer their opinion or truly mean what they day.

Thanks for the feedback. Any content paid for is labeled as “sponsored content” — the only example currently is the story about WeHo car accidents sponsored by Glen Lerner. It is a very serious violation oh journalistic principles and a major disservice to readers to write stories because an advertiser pays you to. And yet that does happen (the Publisher of a local magazine recently announced at a Chamber event that those who bought ads would get stories, a Practice that most Professional Publishers and Journalists view as corrupt. I do not accept free Travel, free admission to events, free drinks or any of the many free meals offered by new restaurants.

I have seen flurries of comments taking a particular position after publication of a story but cannot verify whether the commenters are paid to offer their opinion or truly mean what they day.

“We appreciate Faring’s willingness to work closely with us over the past year and listen to the concerns of the preservation community,” said Linda Dishman, president and CEO of the L.A .Conservancy. “They have made meaningful changes by removing full demolition from their proposed project and we look forward to the details.”

Preservation of The Factory has been an issue for some in the local gay community because it was the home of Studio One, a nightclub that opened in 1975. Scott Forbes, the optometrist who opened the club, told the Los Angeles Times that the club was “planned, designed and conceived for gay people, gay male people. Any straight people here are guests of the gay community. This is gay!” Others have argued for its preservation because the Factory, built in 1929, housed the Mitchell Camera Company, which supplied cameras to the young movie industry.

“Robertson Lane and The Factory’s preservation is a perfect example of community collaboration and environmental guidelines working exactly as they should — enabling responsible development to move forward,” Illoulian said. “We now have a project that both celebrates our community’s history and gives these important structures new life.”

Faring plans to relocate a 140-foot long, two-story portion of The Factory so that it runs north-south along Robertson Boulevard. In a press release, Faring said it “will become the centerpiece of the forthcoming Robertson Lane project.”

Faring also will restore The Factory’s facade, replacing the current windows with salvaged original windows, reusing embossed steel cladding and removing non-historic elements from the building. Faring will commission an oral history project and installations celebrating Studio One and the Factory’s significance to the LGBT community.

The Factory on Robertson Boulevard (Photo: Los Angeles Times, 1929)

The Factory on Robertson Boulevard (Photo: Los Angeles Times, 1929)

Illoulian, a West Hollywood resident whose pending projects include a condo building on Doheny Drive and a proposed office building with restaurants on the site of the now-closed French Market, said he has worked with local preservation groups for two years. He said he also has worked with small businesses in the area, which are happy to see that the Robertson Lane project will include more parking for the area and is designed to make it more pedestrian-friendly. The underground parking area will have more than 1,000 spaces The project includes a “paseo” that links Robertson Boulevard with LaPeer Drive to its west. The hotel will have 241 rooms, and there will be small retail spaces that Illoulian says will be “curated” to ensure a variety of interesting shopping experiences.

Jeff Apter, co-owner of Hedley’s, the restaurant across Robertson Boulevard from The Factory, said the project will have a good impact on the neighborhood. “Right now there’s not enough parking in West Hollywood. And from what I understand from the plans, which are quite beautiful, they are going to put parking spaces in it. When you look at successful cities such as Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, you think ‘I never have to think of parking.’ When you come to West Hollywood, you wonder ‘Where am I going to park?’

A view of the Robertson Lane project from La Peer Drive

A view of the Robertson Lane project from La Peer Drive (Design by Hodgetts & Fung)

“I also think it will bring local people out into the streets. Right now everything is bars and clubs. With this project having more daytime things like restaurants, it will bring more people out and increase the vibrancy of the city.”

Over the years The Factory building transitioned from a camera manufacturer to a military salvage company to a nightclub for Hollywood celebrities to a Spaghetti Village family-themed restaurant. The building has housed numerous other venues, including the “Axis” club that helped make Sandy Sachs a lesbian icon, and has served as home to nights such as “Rasputin” and “Ultra Suede.” An effort to have it designated a cultural resource was rejected by the City Council in 1995.

The Robertson Lane project’s environmental impact report, required under state law, soon will finished by city development officials. It then will go before the city’s Planning Commission. The project also will likely be reviewed by the Planning Commission’s design review subcommittee and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

More information about Robertson Lane and the future plans for the Factory building can be found online.

An early rendering of the Robertson Lane project as as seen from Robertson Boulevard. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)

An early rendering of the Robertson Lane project before the incorporation of The Factory. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)

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34 Comments

  1. nir zilbermanTue, Aug 02, 2016 at 8:22 am

    just one more way to make money, this new look have nothing to do with the FACTORY, it’s same old B.S. we kissing people A*S, and they get everything they want. this look like any other “mall”, wake up, people. just give up, at least we don’t have to look like ….
    we know better.
    look at the pics, thanks for what?
    for one more cement and glass window, in a street that the traffic is so bad already. well, the next thing we will hear, but we got more parking.
    well, let’s work together to support our small businesses, bring more foot traffic not just from 10pm-2am when most people are “high” or drunk.

  2. kab1200Tue, Aug 02, 2016 at 2:22 am

    I am not sure why everyone is praising the developer for hearing them, and patting themselves on the back. I guarantee you, he only did it so the project would not be tied up in court for years and years. The original plan was beautiful, this is good too, but I hardly see the Factory in this, to be honest.

  3. JWed, Jul 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    yes !! YES!!! lets get this done….so many new projects and not many off the ground yet, THE TRIANGLE project, THE FACTORY project, THE FRENCH MARKET reno, THE OLD DONUT STORE (cres and smblvd). It seems that EAST WEHO has grown nicely and now lets come west

  4. danceforever1111Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    I think this is “much ado about nothing” and that truly that is one of the grossest parts of Robertson ….which is crazy becuz it is in the heart of the coolest city that the whole world is influenced by! Seem like these guys want to try to preserve the old building + add value and safety to north Robertson (it is a sketchy part of the city some nights) so….why not let them?

  5. JJMon, Jul 18, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Right on Caboom & Stuart Denenberg!

  6. Stuart DenenbergSat, Jul 16, 2016 at 11:53 am

    In the spirit of compromise, Reality plays a rather large role. Jason is progressive, and as always, open minded, creative, and attentive. High praise to his selection of architects Hodgetts and Fung–it can only be brilliant!!

  7. Ron HamillSat, Jul 16, 2016 at 3:22 am

    It never ceases to amaze me how snarky people always never put there true names on their posts. That’s why I don’t usually post on these things. Over and out.

  8. David ReidFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Win.

  9. Gloria VassyFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I din’t believe a word of this proposal. the people running, or should I say, ruining West Hollywood, are the only one’s who will benefit. Ka-ching ka ching, in their pockets. What is presented for the public to ooh and ahh over, is not what they will get. Do we really need more shopping when most of the shops in Weho are empty? Do we really need another hotel in our 1.9 sq. miles of land? Illoulian is ruining the look of Weho and Los Angeles. Money talks, here, and this is already a done deal. Forget all of the meetings to take place. They already have behind closed doors.
    Gloria Vassy.

  10. CaboomFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    The LA conservancy and preservationists are aware of the ability to dismantle and restore. It is a completely legitimate and clean way to preserve a building. The irony is the silhouette of the structure will have a much better aesthetic on a north south axis than the existing footprint. Beyond this, lets be real! the building now houses 2 – 3 nights a week a reckless and rowdy crowd that creates massive traffic and chaos. The club doesn’t even cater to a gay crowd any more, on the contrary. So all of you haters that want the building kept for posterity sake get serious. It’s a disaster as it is and this project will make the area safe and elegant and create an incredible energy that will far surpass the little minds that dream of times past where drunken gay men frolicked free and easy during the 70 and 80’s which doesn’t really seem like the kind of history that needs to be preserved.
    The developers are practical and are willing to help keep a tacky building to appease the community is great. Everyone is going to benefit from the area getting a much needed facelift and I can’t wait!!

  11. JJFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I’ll be happy when the damn thing is built (with our without the old factory building). It will be a wonderful addition to the city and I love that there will be more dining options in the neighborhood!

  12. Ron HamillFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    The only thing that’s being jacked here are all the people that were trying to get the building on the National Registry. I’m not sure but in my engineering experience this building cannot be jacked up off the foundation and moved. It is not that type of construction. It cannot be lifted. It could be dismantled and rebuilt but then it sheds the meaning of saving it. I don’t see why it can stay where it is with the annex taken off (or left on) and make it look like the rendering art above. Once it’s cleaned up there could be so many uses for that square footage. Design the new buildings around it. I don’t know too much about what land is being used for this project but it seems that it also takes up the land just south of the existing Factory building. Build the hotel/ condo/ apartment there leaving the whole lit up north side to be seen from SM Blvd.

  13. JasonFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Looks similar to the platform in Culver.

  14. KarenKFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Great article. Great collaboration and communication between business, residents and community. This is the model example of how it should be done. 👍🏻

  15. ClayFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I think this will be a beautiful addition to the neighborhood and am so glad to see a developer working with the community in this way.

  16. John KingFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 8:34 am

    I could be wrong but I seriously doubt they are going to the expense of jacking up and turning a 140 foot 2-story section of that old warehouse. More than likely they will rebuild (with modern materials) a facsimile and use some salvaged parts of the old building. Is that really “preservation”? Frankly, I liked the proposal better without that hulking old black building. The hotel was set back from the street more and there was more open space. But, everyone has an opinion.

  17. Oy VeyFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 8:24 am

    tap tap tap …. Is this thing working?! tap tap tap … WehoVille? Hello?
    I guess it’s just not the City Council, our planners and the rest of our City’s cabal susseptable to the charms of WeHo mag cover boy Jason Iloulian….

    That snark aside, I’ll join the chorus and congratulate Mr. Iloulian and the preservationists who fought hard to retain the fabric of time and add a touchstone of history and place to give his project “soul.” This now has the chance of being a project of, by and soon embraced by Wehoans. It was a smart move for Faring Capital to do this – I’m sure not cheap (especially relocation), but in the end I’d bet a far more lucrative outcome as retailers love this sort of project made better by our areas exceptional demographics. Now all is Wehoville snarkers do need to be sure the City doesn’t roll over on any/all other issues needing to be addressed. For now – great job on the revised design / concept.

  18. MikeFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I really hope that the city will re-configure Robertson Blvd. Rush-hour traffic is a major pain if you have to go shopping at Pavillions and exit onto Robertson. Keith Ave seems to be a popular alternative to SMB when traffic is backed up all the way to Doheny. Oh, and what about the Melrose Triangle Project? Talk about more congestion.

  19. Roy OldenkampFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 7:44 am

    There is talk of another club going in the project. Large gay bars are on the decline, sadly.
    And YES Kim Cooper kudos to West Hollywood Heritage for leading the efforts to save The Factory from demolition, which is now off the table per Faring Capital..

  20. J SimmonsFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 5:31 am

    Huh? I am lost. The old building is a gross old commercial building (I must be getting really old, but I remember Koontz Hardware being on the lower floors).

    BUT … The problem I see is EVEN MORE TRAFFIC, CONGESTION AND GRIDLOCK with a major new hotel and shopping complex on THAT SPECIFIC LOT.

    Robertson, narrowing and ending where it does, and the enormous foot traffic at night in the streets (j walking) and normal crosswalk foot traffic makes it seem like a recipe for a nightmare as well as a complex with shops and I assume rooms SO EXPENSIVE, it will exclude the long term regular gay nightlife goers. So a loss of a major dance club and a whole different clientele added to that already problematic narrowing and ending of the streets on both sides.

    I don’t go out anymore, but part of the fun of Studio One et sec … Was the big old dirty nature where dancing and spilling beer on the old floors was all apart of the experience.

  21. nir zilbermanFri, Jul 15, 2016 at 12:19 am

    WeHo jewish pride.
    Thanks to the Illoulian family.
    this is First Class Act..

  22. Tony VillanuevaThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Finally! A perfect example that reuse is a wonderful viable solution. Proof Preservation and development can work together with a positive result. The rendering that includes the restored Factory building is much more interesting with character AND history.
    Thank You West Hollywood Heritage Project, West Hollywood Preservation Alliance, and The Los Angeles Conservancy for all of your interest and hard work. I really hope this project is inspiration to other developers. Wonderful we have the actual building instead of a plaque commemorating another historic structure that was lost to us.

  23. Christopher RothThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    nicely done!

  24. KyleThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I’m excited about this. Robertson lane will make that entire district more walkable.

  25. Kim CooperThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Wonderful news! But I read through this long piece surprised to see no mention of West Hollywood Heritage Project and their remarkable efforts moving the Factory site well on the road to a National Register designation. All local preservationists can share in the joy of this happy solution, but much of the credit deserves to go to two dedicated West Hollywood historians, Kate Eggert and Krisy K. Gosney.

  26. Larry BlockThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I would like to thank Jason Iloulian for having open ears and texting me today a copy of this article with the words “You said to do this at the scoping meeting” – Jason is one developer that we can trust to think of the community and listen.

  27. Brian SlaterThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Finally something meaningful will be done with that building. It’s been an eyesore for so long now. The nightclubs that operate there are more of a nuisance than anything wonderful or culturally significant. The prospect of it being left as it is is just too depressing. Kudos to the developer for a vision that befits the neighborhood.

  28. SaveWehoThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I’m thrilled that Faring Capital is actually listening to many residents that want to preserve The Factory. Compromise is a wonderful thing. The area gets revitalized and we also get to preserve our history. I look forward to the project. But what is most important…is city council needs to make sure they dont strike some kind of deal in lieu of parking potential on this site. WE NEED PARKING in Weho. A TON of it.

  29. elan nathenThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    this is fantastic news.. we are eager to see what this development has to offer with new restaurants and shopping to continue to improve the neighborhood! we are in desperate need of more parking also. its great that the project will honor the legacy of the factory and studio one!

  30. Woody McBreairtyThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    That’s wonderful news. That means there will at least be a visual concrete memorial to the Factory, Studio One, the Back Lot etc, & to all the wonderful people who accompanied the historic presence of these ground breaking & trend setting places in West Hollywood. If those walls could talk. That property alone warrants a history book & I could write some of it,

  31. MattThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    I am excited at the new dining and turning the Factory into a destination in WeHo. The city definitely needs a facelift in this area and I am looking forward to the concept coming to life. Exciting stuff!

  32. PaulThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    The Robertson Lane concept is incredible and will transform the entire area. A hotel in that part of boystown is desperately needed and it’s nice to see the developer work with the community to get the vision right. The building is not a particularly appealing building architecturally but i guess some people in the community think it’s worth saving. kudos to Faring for actually listening. Excited to see this get built.

  33. AlexThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    im on board with this. The factory looks great, the concept is cool, and it is the right part of the city to pump new energy into. Win – win I feel good about this one

  34. Sarah JaneThu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I’m loving that there will be some new and exciting options for shopping, dining, and gathering in this area. I’m more excited that the Factory will be restored to reflect it’s former glory. What an exciting way to take something old and make it new again for this city!

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