Cohen Brothers to Present Megacomplex Plans to WeHo Residents on Dec. 17

A “preliminary conceptual development view” of the proposed project on the MTA grounds on Santa Monica Boulevard.
A “preliminary conceptual development view” of the proposed project on the MTA grounds on Santa Monica Boulevard.
The first of a series of community meetings that Cohen Brothers Realty is staging in an effort to get community support for its plans to develop a massive shopping center, residential complex and hotel on Santa Monica Boulevard is set for next Tuesday.

Chris Bowen, an employee of Afriat Consulting Group, Cohen’s lobbying firm, has reached out to opinion leaders in West Hollywood to announce the event, which will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Building of Cohen’s Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave. at San Vicente.

“We will have go-at-your-own-pace stations where attendees can ask questions and tell us what they think,” Bowen said in his email. He requests that attendees RSVP by emailing or calling (818) 558-6827.

This is the first of several community meetings that Afriat will hold in an effort to explain the Cohen project, which stirred controversy when WEHOville announced in February that it was being considered.

Residents expressed concern about the size of the proposed project, which would cover an area the size of ten football fields on the south side of Santa Monica Boulevard east of San Vicente where the Metropolitan Transportation Administration’s bus depot now is located.

Cohen’s early plans called for a 280-space, three-level underground garage for MTA bus storage, maintenance and operations topped with several buildings that would include 400,000 square feet of commercial office space in two high-rise towers, 600,000 square feet of residential/hotel space, 120,000 square feet of retail shops, a 2,500-seat movie theater complex and an 800-seat open amphitheater, plus a 50,000-square-foot sheriff’s station.

  1. Until the red building is leased and full the city should not consider anything else for the PDC area. We have no idea what impact the red buildings are going to have on traffic. The area is already bumper to bumper during the afternoons. Until they can prove the infrastructure exists to handle more development there needs to be a moratorium. As a Huntley resident just down the street from the PDC I thought it was interesting that Cohen Brothers decides to hold this event right before Christmas when people are busy or out of town. It’s obvious they are going to try and sneak this through. If there is so much demand for office space why is the red building still empty? I’m all for smart development but smart development means you build the infrastructure first and then allow development to follow. You can’t start building a mini city in the middle of West Hollywood without having a traffic flow plan and infrastructure to support it. I’m really amazed that the city would even consider anything like this right now.

  2. They just need to lop off the top 3-4 floors and put them in that middle area so Red isn’t covered up so much. Otherwise, bring it on!

  3. Actually, this isn’t LA it’s the City of Weho. When meaning small town feel- I meant people are super friendly here, I just want to keep it that way with or without a metroplex that’s all. Don’t send people to Mayberry or Ojai, when they have been living in a place longer than most (including taxes & supporting businesses) for more years than most. I just want this city to remain as amazing as it always has been that can be with or with out these new developments. My interest has and always been the betterment of Weho. Lets see what happens.

  4. I’m all for it if it means I can walk to catch a movie or shop rather than have to deal with schlepping to Hollywood or Century City or Santa Monica. So the Red Building was a flop? Who cares. That was their risk. They took it. Let’s be honest, traffic is never going to get any better until Metro builds trams or a subway through Weho. We’re smack in the middle of the 2nd largest city in America. And if I wanted a “small town feel” I would have moved to Calabassas or Ojai or Mayberry. This is LA.

  5. I am long time resident of WEHO- 15 years, I have very mixed feelings about this…West Hollywood is one of the last breaths of “mostly” locally owned amazing businesses.aside from a few chain businesses – do we want all of the big corporate companies coming in…also Weho is a close knit we want to lose the small town feel of knowing all of our neighbors & just become a hugely populated mass of people. Also you can kiss the term “boys town” goodbye because this will turn a gay culture town into a “gay friendly” neighborhood. I am fine with either because in the perfect world we should all be able to be together…but there is more at stake than just dollar signs. I know the renters will be concerned, but the landlords will be happy. How much longer when they decide rent control is just not worth it… Just a few thoughts.

  6. The model looks as if a player built hotels on Pacific and North Carolina but put nothing on Pennsylvania and the the other player put a hotel on Park Place and nothing on Boardwalk. There’s nothing in the community chest and no tribute to the railway. There does seem to be a “Get out of Jail Free” care. There’s Monopoly in the design and perhaps the politics. Surely West Hollywood can dare a better design next to the Modernist Design Center than this Miami Condo Curves design.

  7. Finally, an end to the dead-zone! I live a few blocks away from this proposed development and I am all for this development. The preliminary design needs improvement though. We are in one of the most largest and high profile urban area in the world and this area needs re-development like this to stay a world city. Let this city grow!

  8. What a sad excuse for a design for an area that could have been a centerpiece for West Hollywood.
    The design in no way compliments either the PDC or how it will front Santa Monica blvd (but actually blocks the million views out of the new build) . Yes the corner needs to be developed but what about a truly creative plan for the creative city ?
    Why could’nt they have come up with a building that looks like an extension of the PDC maybe one round building that is centered on the axis of the middle of the new red building set back off of Santa Monica blvd ? A take on the capitol records building that could bring music producers, recording venues and even small news, tv, and internet production along with a hotel ?
    Maybe an underground convention center that could house fashion shows,art auctions or large events that bring hotel guests and outside spending dollars to the city ? Maybe it could be capped in a green park like setting so The Cohen brothers new offices did not look out to the roof of a mall. This green cap could start at the highest garage point of the red building, block what is now ugly and slope downwards via contours of lawn trees and plazas and gardens that provide an amazing backdrop for the entire development and take advantage of the views in both directions. At the base of the slope finish the capped park design with a village along Santa Monica blvd to compliment the neighborhood. Let the village house the latest in creative and high end goods, restaurants and entertainment that want to be located here. Theaters are great Maybe along the line of “Gold class cinemas”.
    The Cohen Brothers are missing an amazing opportunity for themselves and their own pocketbook here. And as far as the architects They should be embarrassed to even show a project so so poorly thought out and designed.

  9. If you’re going to comment anonymously it’s difficult to take your opinions seriously. Do the anonymous commenters live in West Hollywood or Omaha? Are they real people in WeHo or are they lobbyists/developers? I am not convinced the supportive comments are stemming from people who live here in West Hollywood. The only resident I can identify on this thread is Larry Block. Block votes, owns a home here & maintains a business in West Hollywood which makes his opinions valid. The other 9 of you should properly identify yourselves if you expect to be taken seriously by people like myself who are still forming their opinions. Thank you Larry Block for clearly identifying yourself.

  10. I pity the people who have to commute through this area right now. Wait until if/when this project gets built.

  11. Building more commercial space, coupled with high priced residential space is not bringing mass transit to West Hollywood. There are other ways to achieve that goal. What the Cohen Brothers neglect to tell us is what will happen to the empty Red Building and why, in spite of this large canyon of commercial neglect we need MORE commercial space that according to this data means MORE EMPTY space. Once the Red Building fills up then maybe we have a conversation but not until that space is fully utilized do they get a chance to move forward.

  12. Great project and long overdue! That space has been such a dead-zone and has hindered “the village” for years. It was wrong for the MTA to have built their garage there in the first place. And lastly, once again, why aren’t all of you screaming for mass transit. Get the trams moving down Santa Monica Blvd., allow it to make the “loop” around WeHo via Santa Monica Blvd., La Brea, Sunset, Doheny and back to Santa Monica. Get out of your cars and take the train for God’s sake. We live in the second largest city in the country and one of the largest in the world, for God’s sake, start acting like it. Village my ASS!

  13. @ Larry Block – you said “..payola going on with this project. Everybody should be outraged.” Every time there is new development in this City the same bunch always make accusations about payoffs. There is no proof of you claims. It’s a smart idea to create a vibrant, tax generating shopping/dining/retail area out of a dead, wasted space in an area that is prime within our City. Right now my husband and I go to Hollywood or Century City to go to a movie. We would love to be able to keep our dollars here in West Hollywood. I say bring it on.

  14. My husband and I live just a few blocks north of this corner and fully support this project!
    How wonderful it would be to finally take this “dead corner” at one of the major intersections of our City and turn it into a great place to shop, eat or catch movie!! It only makes sense to take those damn buses and put them underground! We bought a home here knowing full well that we live in a major city and don’t view development as horrible thing. Bravo for the overall concept and we’re hoping that it becomes a reality!

  15. I’m a big proponent of new development. I think the red building is a spectacular, but I’m concerned that there are no tenants for it at this point and we do not know what impact the leased up office building will have on traffic. Is this why the developer is dragging its feet in leasing the building out? I’m sure there is heavy demand for the office space but I’ve heard nothing about expected tenants.

    It will be interesting to see what sort of sweeteners the developer can propose to get the community’s support.

  16. How many additional cars? How many additional trucks? What improvements to the streets to handle them? Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Ave are already gridlocked. And what will it do to the businesses across the street? That land will become more valuable, rents will increase, and current businesses will be driven out.

  17. @J Man – It is time you learned that West Hollywood is not part of Los Angeles. We are a separate city and we, and only we, goes on in our City.

  18. This is not Times Square New York with a bus depot and mall built in. I live on Huntley Drive and we went through the years of construction of the Red Building and pile driving noise. I used to be able to sunbathe in my backyard until the skyscraper took away any privacy. Now this massive development? In West Hollywood we don’t sell air rights like in New York City. This is an earthquake zone, and also a flood zone, and also has an extremely high water table. There was many problems with the construction of the Red Building that led to ground shifts, broken sewer lines, etc. This massive development will not bring new roads or entrances to the area. Traffic and more traffic. There is no reason why we have to have this massive thing above the ground towering over our heads. Move the bus terminal and build a normal development.

    The complainers above say nothing about the payola going on with this project. Everybody should be outraged.

  19. J Man:

    You may push this forward all you like. But, please don’t let us know how to have an opinion. We each get one of those. Unfortunately, we don’t each get a vote on the Council….those are stacked against us by big developer money and really shady and in-the-pocket politicians. I hope Duran falls on his face in pursuit of Supervisor. Hopefully Bobby and Sheila will have him for breakfast.

  20. The current sheriff station and bus depot are a major dead zone in an otherwise vibrant area and I’m happy to see these sort of proposals. I’m all for developing more places for our current and future residents to live, work and be entertained. However, I believe all of the development in WeHo should be done in tandem with the expansion of real mass transit solutions.

  21. Larry,

    What do you expect, for Los Angeles to maintain its low-density sprawl and deny the fact that we are economically growing? The only thing being swallowed is you by your own negative thoughts. This development will bring in more than large buildings. It will bring in jobs, community services, entertainment, and much more walkability.

    Stop your bitching and move out if you can’t admit Los Angeles is a global city that is literally and figuratively on the rise…

  22. Afriat presenting. The same guy who runs Prang and Duran’s campaign. The same guy that ran Heilman’s and Lands campaign in years past. The same guy that is running their campaigns for county where Duran will vote on this plan. Lord save our city before we are sold out. Term limits did not come fast enough. All these votes on a lame duck council with 5 members possibly up for re-election. Follow the money.. no campaign reform, just council members who are in the pockets of the big money. Stop this madness. We are being swallowed up by these developments.

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