Proposed Design for WeHo’s Movietown Plaza Project

West Hollywood Movietown Plaza
Movietown Plaza currently. (Photo by Christine Detz)
Here are illustrations by architectural firm MVE & Partners of Irvine of the new development proposed for West Hollywood’s Movietown Plaza that will be reviewed Thursday by a subcommittee of the city’s Planning Commission. The development, at 7300-7328 Santa Monica Blvd. at Poinsettia, would include 294 apartments rented at market rate and 76 apartments for seniors plus 32,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store that would replace the recently closed Trader Joe’s. Avalon Bay Communities, the developer, hopes to begin construction early next year. The meeting, at 5:30 p.m., will be in Room 5 of the Plummer Park Community Center at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. at Martel. Views of the proposed new project are on the following pages.


24 Comments
  1. I live block away. It’s gross. the sky is gone, shadows replace it. It’s too big and too boxy. There is no plaza to invite people. There is no great space. It’s shameful when you think what might have been if creative, community minded people had been at the helm. They have sold our city to the developers and the public have NO say in any of it. My days are numbered here. Gridlock will be a way of life- worse than now.

  2. I agree with Larry. It is like the great wall of China being built down Santa Monica Bl.
    If they are going build up to the property line, they might as well add the pillars. I always
    thought that West Hollywood was a creative city, i must have missed something. The Movietown project is nothing more than another ugly generic box, totally lacking in
    every way.

    As for the city developing a traffic plan? What a joke. The only fix is widen the street and
    add more lanes. You want to tell me how thats possible? I have heard that they are considering making the streets surrounding all of this mess one way. That would be great, lets make it even harder for the residence to get around the neighborhood.

  3. More tasteless nothing of a building ,,,west Hollywood will regret if ,who wants to visit a town that looks just like anywhere else in America ,,,,,,,I don’t,,,,the people that let them get away with rubbish ,, need to learn the meaning of creative,,,cause they have none,,,,,,they just seem to understand payola

  4. It’s hard to imagine the lack of setbacks on the east side of town where the buildings are towering over the people and the drivers. We are beginning to look like Wilshire Blvd.. only that street is wider.

  5. so the developers are talking to Steve about building condos and the city manager and planning are telling the public that they will be rental apartments.

    add me to those who find this design a little too big, too generic and a little too crowded. sure, anything is better than the abandoned strip mall we have now (though it is open space) but that is aiming really low. i largely agree with Todd on the other buildings.

    i’m looking forward to the new traffic plan the city is surely working on.

  6. @ Mike
    Did they get a tract map put on the property so that in the future they can flip it to condos. A pretty common practice so that the developer has the option to change their mind.

  7. I like it. It looks modern and fresh, and will be a tremendous step up both functionally and asthetically from the existing minimall. I know change is hard, but this side of town is undergoing a really exciting transformation and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together in the next few years.

  8. @Steve: I know your convinced that Movietown Plaza is condo/senior housing but, I did receive confirmation from the City Manager that it is now all rental/affordable/senior appartments. Today the Senior Planner and Project Manager Paul DeGrazia confirmed the same. No Condo’s.

  9. This project is hideous. It looks like the low-rise boxes were plucked straight from Playa Vista. I much preferred earlier designs that had different building heights and greater setbacks. Ultimately though, an improvement over the blighted Movietown shopping center.

  10. @Doria Biddle – What’s wrong, Doria? Not bowled over by these apartments – oops, I mean condos? Thanks for the many morning laughs – and no, I’m not talking about the Movietown project.

  11. Hi Mike,
    Happily I can say you’re wrong. The project evolved from Condos to rentals and now back to Condos. The only rental units are the affordable/senior units.

  12. @Steve: I checked with the Planning Dept. at City Hall and the revised project will be rentals and affordable units. I also agree with your assessment that it’s a decent looking project. Yes, my neighborhood too is greatly improving. There are some that seem only to be happy being unhappy with long overdue improvements.

  13. Hum… Nice to know you are working for/with the developer of the project. It adds perspective. If you have factual information on the number/size of condos versus apartments, I’m sure the non-news news outlets (purveyors of rumors, gossip and lies) would be eager to hear directly from the horse’s mouth.

    Let’s see. As I said before, the 8500 Burton Way building has grown on me. It’s unique and daring. I like CIM’s project that is being built across from Emerson College at Sunset & Gordon – and no, I don’t think the Old Spaghetti Factory building was historic and should have been saved. I like two WeHo low income projects – the new one being built on La Brea @ Lexington and the other one on Santa Monica Blvd @ Sierra Bonita. I like the reuse of the building on the SE corner of La Brea & Romaine. I like the yet-to-be-built Walgreen’s mixed use project on SMB @ Crescent Heights. And the proposed hotel/condo project on Sunset @ Doheny looks pretty good too. For a purely commercial building, I have to say the PDC Red Building is fantastic. Sure wish the Cohens could find tenants. I also like what IAC did to its HQ on Sunset.

    If I wanted Disneyland, I’d go to Disneyland. But I don’t need to drive that far. We have The Grove and The Americana at Brand. Faux anything usually doesn’t work – a drive through Beverly Hills will certainly convince anyone of that.

    I guess the Google Machine still works. I did write one article (yes, only one) ON Faith Plating, as requested by WeHoNews.com. It was long before the property was sold to a developer. I’m not going to defend their use of toxic chemicals to plate metal, but I read (I’m sure erroneously) that the developer of that project didn’t think that the contamination to the ground was that bad. Who knows? Who to believe?

    Perhaps you could help me with another economic lesson. Does the cost of land figure into the profit a developer earns?

  14. Shockingly Todd, Curbed and Wehoville are wrong. Hard to believe isn’t it? My information is from the developer who is actually building the project, not based on rumor, gossip and lies that so many on these sites tend to resort to.

    Please point out to me 5 examples of new mixed use projects either in or out of West Hollywood that meet with your approval. You don’t want height but complain about boxiness. What do you propose for these large parcels? I’m serious, I’d really like to know what you think makes sense here. Do you want faux french normandy like some of the disney-land like buildings on Fountain? How about faux spanish…that’s always a great look that lasts years and years.

    I’m glad you appreciate the economics lesson because you surely need it.
    Aren’t you the one who opposed the new Domain project on Formosa because it was removing Faith Plating…the single biggest toxic polluter in the region?

    That was a rhetorical question because I recall your numerous articles on other websites about the need to preserve that lovely business.

  15. @Steve Both Curbed & Wehoville reported that the condos had been scrapped in favor or rentals. I’m interested if you have more information on the condo element of the current project. Thanks for the economics lesson on real estate development. I had no idea that developers were in it for the maximum profit. However, fantastic architecture also makes a project more desirable and therefore, more profitable. Sometimes a little bit less total square feet means just as much or more in the end.

    @Chloe Ross – It’s pretty underwhelming, isn’t it? It looks like the Monarch project (Santa Monica & La Brea) or the other Monarch property at La Brea & Fountain (The Huxley).

  16. Todd: you are wrong…they are condos. Maybe Steve Martin told you otherwise.

    People complain about the height…people complain about “boxy”. There is absolutely no winning with the complainers. How do you propose to make a project work for a developer? You can’t have it both ways. The overwhelming complaint about the original design was 10 stories. The developer addressed that. And before you jump on my statement about “making it work for developers”, remember that every single structure ever built, was built by a developer including Movietown Plaza, Tara, The Palm Restaurant…

    Not “grateful”? The developer is scrapping an ugly, underutilized, under-used relic of a bygone time in favor of condos, senior housing, relevant retail, improved safety, improved appearance. I am grateful that my neighborhood continues to improve and that much needed NEW blood will be moving in.

    I’ve said it many times before, this city won’t know what that hit them in 10 years when the political landscape has dramatically shifted to the east side.

  17. @Steve Last I read, the condos had been scrapped in favor of market-rate apartments (with the obligatory senior/low income element). I agree that the Faith Plating project looks to be the most interesting architecture in this area. This just looks like standard “modern” mixed-use architecture. Nothing special. Hey, the same architects did the 8500 Burton Way mixed use building for Caruso (it’s growing on me). So with the right developer, they are allowed to be creative. Not so much with Movietown Plaza.

    I hate being “grateful” that the latest design was smaller than what was originally permitted. Perhaps the varied heights of taller buildings with shorter ones would have made for a more interesting project. This one? Ugh.

    [As an aside, if you want a recent example of outstanding architecture, look no further than the new Emerson College building/campus on Sunset in Hollywood.]

  18. Is this Versailles? Of course not, but it’s bringing much needed condominium units to the east side. This is the only “for sale” project being built and for the east side to remain diverse, we need both types of housing. It’s a decent looking project. I’d love for the critics to show examples of fantastic mixed-use architecture….it doesn’t really exist considering the overall use….although the new Faith Plating project should end up being the most interesting of the new east side projects.

    The images shown in this story are really bad. There is a Double row of trees, decent sized public plaza and a new public “mews” towards the middle allowing for additional retail opportunities. The setback is even bigger than the original plans 5 years ago.

    Keep in mind, they could have built these as 10 story towers (approved and permitted), but they chose to go lower for a variety of reasons.

  19. Well call me crazy, but I was hoping for a plaza that opened onto the street creating a setback and a not so in your face building……oh well, all in the name of ……progress!

  20. Aside from the obvious additional density and gridlock this project will bring to the east end of WeHo, I’m not impressed with the architecture. It all looks like I’ve seen it before – whether in Santa Monica, Hollywood or one of the many transit hub projects cropping up all over LA, I get the feeling of deja vu. Cookie-cutter generic “modern” housing modules that will be considered “luxury” accommodations (with matching rental rates) like everything else being built in the area.

    The buildings appear to be very close to the street, creating a monolith. Shadows and canyons abound. There is little variation in height or setback. Green space, assuming some exists, isn’t much.

    With all these gigantic projects being built, you know that other developers are eyeing entire blocks of SMB for medium-rise mixed-use projects. Goodbye to any small businesses or low-density development. The City has been for sale to the highest-bidding developers for a long time and as long as the economy continues to improve, we can count on the dwindling distinctiveness of West Hollywood and further gridlock.

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