WEST HOLLYWOOD REAL ESTATE & DEVELOPMENT

Developers Seek U.S. Supreme Court Hearing on Suit Against WeHo

Developers Seek U.S. Supreme Court Hearing on Suit Against WeHo

Wed, Mar 22, 2017 3 Comments

Lawyers representing a couple who allege they were charged a $540,000 fee as the price for pursuing a modest condominium project in West Hollywood are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their clients’ case.

The attorneys, members of the Pacific Legal Foundation, seek reimbursement for developers Shelah and Jonathan Lehrer-Graiwer and are taking aim at the law under which the city acted, known as the inclusionary housing ordinance. The law requires developers to build and set aside a certain number of units, or pay a fee set by a formula as a condition for receiving a permit.

The law’s stated purpose is to address the region’s affordable housing shortage, but the size of the fee is not linked to any measurement of affordable housing needs that the proposed development might create, the developers’ attorneys state. City officials…

WeHo Puts Craftsman District Project on Hold

WeHo Puts Craftsman District Project on Hold

Tue, Mar 21, 2017 22 Comments

The West Hollywood City Council last night put the brakes on a survey of homes on the Eastside intended to create a “thematic district” of Craftsman-style houses.

The survey, which was proposed by Councilmember John Duran last year, already has identified 30 of 164 houses as eligible for that “thematic grouping” designation. A building in the area ultimately designed as being in the Craftsman style would be considered a cultural resource and could not be demolished unless its owner could prove that keeping it would cause him or her financial hardship. Any proposed alterations to such buildings would have to be reviewed by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

A standing-room-only crowd turned out at a March 15 hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission to oppose the designations.

Residents Object to Craftsman Designation of Eastside Homes

Residents Object to Craftsman Designation of Eastside Homes

Thu, Mar 16, 2017 11 Comments

There was anger and outrage at Wednesday night’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting as West Hollywood’s Eastside residents protested the city’s plans to create a “thematic grouping” district of Craftsman-style homes in the area east of Fairfax Avenue and west of Plummer Park.

In early 2016, the West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran proposed that the city conduct a survey of homes in the area bounded by Genesee Avenue on the west, Norton Avenue on the south, Gardner Street on the east and Hampton Avenue on the north. That survey found that 30 homes out of 164 were eligible for inclusion in the historic survey. These 30 homes are not clustered close enough together to create a historic district. However, the homes do quality for a “thematic grouping” designation since they all have common…

Jeff Klein to Keep His Stake in the Sunset Tower Hotel

Jeff Klein to Keep His Stake in the Sunset Tower Hotel

Thu, Mar 09, 2017 1 Comment

West Hollywood’s most prominent hotelier is going to keep his stake in West Hollywood’s most prominent hotel.

The New York Post reported today that Jeff Klein has made a deal with a new partner to buy the Sunset Tower Hotel.

Klein has a 20% share in the famous hotel and is its manager. The owner of the other 80% is ER Hollywood, which is controlled by Thosapong (“Mr. T”) Jaruthavee, the Thai investor.

It was revealed last month that JLL, a Chicago-based real estate broker, had secured three offers for the hotel in and around $100 million. The Post reported then that ER Hollywood “has the right to offer Klein’s 20% share as well. But he could stay in if he and the buyer agreed.”

According to The Post, the unidentified buyer has made a deal to buy the 80%

Online Map Charts Ellis Act Evictions in LA

Online Map Charts Ellis Act Evictions in LA

Thu, Mar 09, 2017 5 Comments

The Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) today released an online map, viewable here, that chronicles the number of evictions of tenants in Los Angeles under the Ellis Act from Jan. 1, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2016.

The map was created by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, which was formed to document evictions of San Francisco residents during the tech boom. While the map focuses on Los Angeles, it also shows the locations of buildings near West Hollywood where tenants have been evicted under the Ellis Act since 2001. The map uses data provided by the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA).

The release is timely, given that a discussion of the impact of the Ellis Act will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in the WeHo City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. State Sen. Ben Allen…

Design Changes Proposed for Building at 8550 Santa Monica Boulevard

Design Changes Proposed for Building at 8550 Santa Monica Boulevard

Thu, Mar 02, 2017 6 Comments

A developer is proposing some minor design changes for a mixed-use building that is expected to have a major impact on Santa Monica Boulevard.

The building, which will be on the lot on the south side of Santa Monica Boulevard at West Knoll Drive, will be three stories high and include a grocery store, a gym/fitness studio, a restaurant/cafe and office space with rooftop parking. The 20,000-square-foot grocery store space will be occupied by Sprouts Farmers Market, a Phoenix-based chain that sells natural and organic food. In addition to the roof, parking will be provided in the existing garage at the building on the site’s west side. The project developer, Michael Talla, owns that building, which houses Capitol Drugs, the LASC clothing store and the 24 Hour Fitness gym.

The project was approved by WeHo’s Planning Commission in…

Local Forum to Address Impact of the Ellis Act on WeHo

Local Forum to Address Impact of the Ellis Act on WeHo

Wed, Mar 01, 2017 2 Comments

State Sen. Ben Allen and Assemblymember Richard Bloom will join a panel of public policy and housing experts on March 9 to discuss the impact of the Ellis Act on tenants in West Hollywood and across California.

The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict residential tenants if they decide to “go out of the rental business” and convert their property to condominiums or other uses. Tenants evicted from those buildings, which typically are older and often covered by the city’s rent stabilization law, can find it difficult to rent an affordable apartment in West Hollywood.

The city’s rent stabilization law, which covers only residential buildings built before July 1, 1976, restricts the amount by which a landlord can raise a tenant’s annual rent to a percentage of the Consumer Price Index for the greater Los Angeles area. Landlords…

WeHo Saw 16% Increase in Condo Prices in 4th Quarter of 2016

WeHo Saw 16% Increase in Condo Prices in 4th Quarter of 2016

Fri, Feb 24, 2017

West Hollywood saw a 15% decrease in condo sales and a 16% increase in condo prices in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to data from Multiple Listing Services Los Angeles (MLS).

The MLS report shows that 81 condos were sold at a median sales price of $725,000 in October through December last year. In the same period the year before, 95 were sold at a median price of $725,000. Median is the middle value in a list of prices of condos, not the average price, which is calculated by adding all of the prices and dividing that by the number of condos sold.

In terms of price increases, WeHo’s 16% puts it below 12 other areas. Prices in Ladera were up 38% according to the MLS report. Belair-Holmby Hills had an increase of 37%, and prices were up 30% in Silver Lake-Echo Park, 23% in Hancock Park and 17% in Westwood.

In terms of…

Iconic Sunset Tower Hotel Is On the Market

Iconic Sunset Tower Hotel Is On the Market

Fri, Feb 24, 2017 4 Comments

The Sunset Tower Hotel, one of Sunset Boulevard’s most iconic buildings, reportedly is on the market.

The New York Post yesterday reported that Jeff Klein and Elevated Returns, owners of the hotel, have engaged JLL, the Chicago-based real estate broker, to find a buyer and is asking $100 million for the property. WEHOville has learned that there are three offers for the property, one somewhat above $100 million, one near that mark and one somewhat below it.

The building opened in 1931 as an apartment hotel and was designed by Leland Bryant, a prolific architect who specialized in luxury apartments, and it is noted for its Streamline Moderne style. It has been described by Robert Winter and David Gebhard, authors of “An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles,” as being “as much an emblem of Hollywood as the Hollywood sign.” It was…

The Factory Determined Eligible for National Register of Historic Places

The Factory Determined Eligible for National Register of Historic Places

Tue, Feb 21, 2017 6 Comments

The U.S. National Park Service has decided that The Factory building on West Hollywood’s Robertson Boulevard is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Its eligibility is based on the fact that it was home from 1929 to 1946 to the Mitchell Camera Co., manufacturer of Hollywood film equipment, and from 1974 […]

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Thu, Mar 02, 2017

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Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to  WeHo’s Sidewalks

Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to WeHo’s Sidewalks

Mon, Feb 20, 2017 16 Comments

It can be annoying to watch your trash can overflow with those mailers touting candidates in the March 7 WeHo City Council election. Then there even more mailers about the L.A. County Unified School District election. With candidates portrayed as “the Billionaires’ Puppets,” a headline saying “FBI seizes LAUSD records related to troubled iPad program” and an anti-Steve Zimmer mailer titled “Making of a Scandal” that creepily alludes to the “Making of a Murderer” documentary, at least those are entertaining.

But now it’s not just your trash cans. Two battling billboard companies are stopping voters on West Hollywood’s sidewalks asking them to sign petitions. One petition, backed by Regency Outdoor, demands the City Council reconsider its Feb. 6 approval of the Ace Outdoor Advertising billboard at the Rainbow Room on Sunset Boulevard….

Crescent Heights Methodist Church Is Sold for $4.5 Million

Crescent Heights Methodist Church Is Sold for $4.5 Million

Fri, Feb 17, 2017 1 Comment

The Crescent Heights United Methodist Church building, which was closed in 2011, has been sold for $4.5 million.

The sale, currently in escrow, was announced by Malcolm Bennett, CEO of International Realty and Investments. Bennett’s firm has managed the building and the pastor’s house adjacent to it since the United Methodist Church closed the church. The purchaser, who has not been identified, was represented by Jack and Steven Ravan of South Park Group Commercial Real Estate.

The decision by the UMC’s California-Pacific Conference to close the church was acrimonious. The church’s pastor, Scott Imler, refused at first to leave the property. Imler accused Methodist leaders of closing the church because he advocated for legalizing marijuana and because it had a largely gay congregation. But United Methodist leaders noted that the…

Oops! WeHo’s Beach Nation Likely Won’t Be Back After All

Oops! WeHo’s Beach Nation Likely Won’t Be Back After All

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 18 Comments

Looking to dine and drink on the beach? Maybe you need to go to Malibu.

WEHOville published a story yesterday http://wp.me/p2Ph78-gpH quoting a minority owner of Beach Nation who said that our city’s sandy outdoor dining spot isn’t going away but is temporarily closed for renovations. This morning, however, Paul Kalt, the majority owner of Beach Nation, called to say that the return of Beach Nation is highly unlikely.

Kalt, whose Kalt Property Management is a contractor that invests in restaurants, said he hasn’t decided what will replace the current restaurant and coffee bar on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer.

“At this point, what is likely is that it will be a new concept,” Kalt said. “It’s most likely it won’t be Beach Nation.”

Kalt said the City of West Hollywood is reviewing requests for…

Beach Nation Isn’t Sinking. It’s Under Renovation

Beach Nation Isn’t Sinking. It’s Under Renovation

Wed, Feb 15, 2017 2 Comments

No, Beach Nation hasn’t been washed away.

Yes, it is closed for now. But the popular outdoor restaurant and coffee bar on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer will be back at it in a few months.

Michael Berman of Schoos Design, an owner of Beach Nation, said the City of West Hollywood has approved its plans for building out a full kitchen and adding an outdoor eating counter.

Beach Nation opened on that desolate lot in May 2014. A story published in WEHOville at the time described it as the opposite of paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, which was Joni Mitchell’s famous description of what happened to Alla Nazimov’s Garden of Allah at 8152 Sunset Blvd. at Crescent Heights.

Beach Nation opened with a front yard filled with white sand, creating a beach-like atmosphere that allowed visitors to…

Opinion: ‘Alternative Facts’ Surface in the Debate Over the 8150 Sunset Project

Opinion: ‘Alternative Facts’ Surface in the Debate Over the 8150 Sunset Project

Mon, Feb 13, 2017 15 Comments

Is Donald Trump the investor behind the controversial project at 8150 Sunset Blvd.? Do “alternative facts” matter?

Some opponents of project have launched a vicious campaign against its developers, Townscape Partners, and three West Hollywood City Council members that they have labeled the “Townscape Three” and who they say are backing the 8150 Sunset project.

The assertion that Trump is backing the enormous multi-use project was raised again by a speaker during the public comment period at last week’s West Hollywood City Council meeting. The attacks on WeHo City Council members John Duran, John Heilman and Lindsey Horvath — the so-called “Townscape Three” — have been made in a flurry of emails over the past few months from someone who identifies himself as Michael Grace. Grace has not responded to emails from WEHOville to…

Jason Illoulian Proposes Nine-Story Hotel on Beverly at Robertson

Jason Illoulian Proposes Nine-Story Hotel on Beverly at Robertson

Fri, Feb 10, 2017 13 Comments

A nine-story hotel on the southwest corner of Robertson and Beverly boulevards?

That was the idea that local developer Jason Illoulian proposed during a neighborhood meeting on Thursday night. The idea was met with mixed reactions. Several residents living nearby were strongly opposed, saying nine stories was far too high, while other residents and nearby business owners liked the idea, hoping it could help revitalize Robertson Boulevard, which has a number empty storefronts just south of Beverly Boulevard.

Emphasizing that this was merely a preliminary proposal, Illoulian said he wanted input from the community early in the development process to help create a building people would be happy with.

“This is where we start the project, not where we end it,” Illoulian told the group of approximately 30 people attending the…

Prominent Collection of WeHo Buildings Is Sold

Prominent Collection of WeHo Buildings Is Sold

Mon, Feb 06, 2017 1 Comment

A prominent collection of buildings on the southwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westmount, housing everything from the Trevor Project to Fresh Corn Grill to Eddie’s Barbershop, has been sold.

The sale was brokered by Cushman & Wakefield. The firm’s Manfred Schaub said he could not reveal the price and would only identify the purchaser as a East Coast family that invests in real estate. The property was purchased from PICOA Inc. (formerly Portland Investment Company of America), a Los Angeles-based real estate investment company.

The buildings run from 8700 to 8714 Santa Monica and include 33,640 square feet. On the eastside is See Materials, a vendor of interior design products. Fresh Corn Grill, a popular fast food stop, is on the west side. In the middle is the four-story building at 8704 Santa Monica. It houses Eddie’s…

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