With the “Sunset La Cienega” giant retail, hotel and residential project due to break ground Monday, Aug. 12, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously Monday night to hire construction management company Heery International to oversee construction of the project.
Located on Sunset Boulevard at La Cienega Boulevard, the project is still commonly referred to by its original name, the Sunset Millennium project. Due to the size and complexity of the Sunset La Cienega project, the city has hired Heery to oversee the job onsite, and act as an “advocate” if issues arise. Heery will also act as a liaison to residents and businesses should concerns develop.
Dan Adams of Heery International will serve as the project manager, reporting to the city. Adams also served as the project manager overseeing construction of the West Hollywood Library and the redesign of West Hollywood Park.
All traffic lanes on Sunset Boulevard will remain open during the demolition phase of the existing buildings at Sunset La Cienega, although occasional sidewalk closures will be needed. The demolition phase is expected to last three months.
At Monday’s meeting, Councilmember Jeffrey Prang wondered why the project didn’t go out to bid.
According to City Manager Paul Arevalo, in 2009 the city did issue a “request for proposals” (RFP) for oversight of construction of the West Hollywood Library. Heery was hired. Since then, the city has continued to use Heery for other projects, including overseeing plans to “mothball” (temporarily preserve) the city-owned house known as “Tara” at 1343 N. Laurel Ave. at Fountain until public meetings are held to determine its ultimate use.
“RFPs are on a single project basis,” said Prang, “not ongoing, blanket oversight.”
Councilmember John Heilman assured Prang the city would issue an RFP the next time construction oversight is needed.
The first major construction project approved after incorporation of the city in 1984, the Sunset Millennium project was hugely controversial because of its size. The City Council approved it in 1999. The plan has always been to build it in three parcels – east (southeast corner of Sunset and La Cienega), middle (southwest corner of Sunset and La Cienega) and west (southwest corner of Sunset and Alta Loma).
To date, only the west parcel, with 100,000 square feet of retail space (including the Equinox gym) and a 10-story office building, has been completed. Due to problems securing financing, the original owner, Sunset Millennium Associates, sold the property to the CIM Group in 2011. CIM Group also owns the Lot movie studio on Formosa Avenue and the Hancock Lofts in Boystown.
CIM Group will reimburse the city $500,000 for hiring Heery for the oversight job. The city’s contract with Heery runs through December 2016, although construction is expected to be completed in 2015.
The east parcel will have two 10-story towers with 296 hotel rooms and 15,000 square feet of retail space. The middle parcel will have two eight-story towers with 190 residential units and 55,000 square feet of retail. Both parcels will feature large public plazas with viewing terraces.