The Huxley Apartments Open, Adding Some Glam to Gritty La Brea Avenue

The Huxley on La Brea at Fountain
The Huxley on La Brea at Fountain

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first of several major buildings that are likely to transform the gritty La Brea Avenue gateway to West Hollywood into a more upscale neighborhood is now soliciting tenants.

The Huxley, which has 187 apartments and sits on the southeast corner of La Brea and Fountain, has set a move-in date of March 15. The building is on a lot once occupied by a Jons grocery store. One-bedroom apartments rent for as much as $3,485 a month and two-bedrooms for as much as $4,340 a month, and the building features amenities such as a heated pool, a fitness center, three courtyards, a club lounge, a roof deck, a cafe space and a dog run. There also are many outlets for charging laptops to accommodate what is likely to be a tech-savvy group of residents. And, of course, there is parking. The building will also have stores and restaurants on the first floor.

The building is owned by Essex-Monarch, which in a few months hopes to open the Dylan, a similar building on the northwest corner of La Brea and Santa Monica Boulevard. The Dylan is named after the author Dylan Thomas and the Huxley is named after writer Aldous Huxley.

La Brea's typical streetscape, now being dramatically altered with new residential buildings
La Brea’s typical streetscape, now being dramatically altered with new residential buildings

The goal of both buildings is to create an environment where young professionals can not only live and work but communicate and collaborate, says Mike Leipart, chief marketing officer of The Agency, which is handling marketing for the buildings. Leipart said The Agency worked to understand the people who find West Hollywood appealing so that the buildings could offer amenities that would appeal to them.

“Are we going to get someone who has no interest in living in West Hollywood to move to West Hollywood? Doubtful,” Leipart said. “Can we differentiate ourselves with the other apartments that are available by these things. Absolutely.”

The Huxley is staging a “Hard-Hat” open house from noon to 4 p.m. this weekend to offer prospective tenants a look at the apartments.

In addition to the Huxley, other projects are under construction or being planned for the area by other developers, meaning an addition of almost 700 apartments to the area. Not on La Brea, but only a block west, Trammell Crow Residential has demolished the old Faith Plating building and will erect a six-story apartment building with 166 units. That “Domain West Hollywood” building is scheduled for occupancy in the Spring of 2016 and current projections put rents in the $2,000 range.

The Courtyard at La Brea on La Brea Avenue at Lexington
The Courtyard at La Brea on La Brea Avenue at Lexington

South of Santa Monica, on the northwest corner of La Brea and Willoughby avenues, work has begun on the La Brea Gateway, a project of the the Holland Partner Group, that will include 179 residential units and a Sprouts Farmers Market. The developers anticipate that project being ready for tenants in the winter of 2015/2016.

A dramatically designed building on La Brea at Lexington (left), with less affluent residents, is having its official opening on Mar. 1, although tenants started moving in in January. The Courtyard at La Brea is a project of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (WHCHC), which serves people with low or very low incomes, including households with special needs and young people from 18 to 24 who were formerly homeless or previously in foster care. The 32-unit building was designed by Mutlow + Tighe. It features photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water heating, on-site bicycle storage, and an edible garden with a composting program. It was funded by the City of West Hollywood, LA County’s Community Development Commission, Union Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

The City of West Hollywood has made other improvements in the area, including widening sidewalks and planting trees on La Brea between Romaine and Fountain. That project was completed in December. The La Brea projects are likely to help connect West Hollywood with the Hollywood Media District, an area that stretches from La Brea west to Vine and is bordered on the north by Santa Monica Boulevard and the south by Melrose Avenue. The area houses a number of small live theatres on a section of Santa Monica known as Theatre Row as well as restaurants and trendy shops and the offices of some entertainment produceers.

La Brea has been the east side boundary of West Hollywood since its incorporation as a separate city 30 years ago. But until recently it has been home to a few small houses and small restaurants and shops north of Santa Monica and shops and deteriorating industrial buildings to the south. A major exception has been West Hollywood Gateway, a shopping plaza on Santa Monica and La Brea that houses major stores such as Target and BestBuy along with a number of restaurants. The Gateway opened in 2004. Also, BMB Investments has renovated an empty 44,500 square-foot industrial building on the southeast corner of La Brea and Romaine that was built in 1933. The building will house retailers on the ground floor and office on the second through fifth floors.

The pages that follow offer a look at apartment interiors at the Huxley as well as buildings under construction or where construction will be starting soon. Take a look:


29 Comments
  1. I doubt the marketing team decided on selling the HUXLEY as:

    “Adding Some Glam to Gritty La Brea Avenue”

    Accurate …. But no so catchy for what the pictures look like to me to wit: the word “GLAM” doesn’t fit with any of the apartment interior pictures …. in my personal opinion.

  2. Anthony, if you want to live in an “international city” with “proper public transpo”, you are the one in the wrong place. I love WeHo but it’s certainly not that. your best case scenario for “a metro station or two” in WeHo is 20 years from now. So I suggest you take your own advice and go move somewhere else.

  3. so excited for all these new developments bringing this whole area up to the standards of an international city. The only thing missing now is proper public transpo. A metro station or two would be just what the Dr ordered. So to those complaining about traffic and this are being clogged due to these new developments, go move somewhere else, if you want peaceful, go to Pasadena!

  4. The complex at Fountain and La Brea known as “The Huxley” refers to Aldous Huxley, not Thomas. It seems that the author conflated Dylan Thomas and Aldous Huxley, which is surprising from a writer!

    1. Good catch! But it’s an error perhaps not so surprising from someone who writes six to nine stories a day 😉

  5. I’m not shilling for anyone. There is no way on earth we can put walls up around West Hollywood and prevent people from moving in. So we need to build more housing so they have a place to live. I’m sorry this town is full of selfish rich people who want to keep their single-family homes and low-density neighborhoods to themselves. But you chose to live in the middle of a major metropolis. You want single family homes and quiet? Move to the burbs.

  6. SnarkyGal:
    Where were you when these projects were being proposed, discussed and voted on? Apparently not at the PAC meetings, Planning Commission meetings or City Council meetings, because at THOSE meetings, support was overwhelming for nearly all the approved projects.

    TimF:
    Avon has every right to exist at that location if they want….but it doesn’t mean I want them to. It’s a high profile corner that should be better utilized with residents and neighborhood serving businesses, not a generic truck rental facility….and don’t get me started about Cemex.

    Mike:
    I can only surmise that your definition of what a good neighborhood is vastly different than mine. Traffic is NOT one of my criteria and I can only assume that it’s high up on your list.

  7. The Huxley is a beautiful, well-constructed, stunning addition to La Brea. Along with the Courtyard, The Dylan, The Gateway and the soon to begin project at Movietown Plaza; I too have dreamt of the eastside evolving into this dynamic and thriving part of West Hollywood.

    Now if we can only get the council to take action on the approved Phase 1 of Plummer Park to meet the demands of and compliment the community that has been so effectively designed, and implemented.

    With the new contemporary preschool and the already existing contemporary community center it makes sense to remodel Fiesta Hall’s north and east side to complement these structures. I do believe in the spirit of compromise that the west facing side of Fiesta Hall should be upgraded but still reflective of the Spanish architecture that faces Vista St. We already have many examples of how charming and interesting contemporary/modern juxtaposed against older Spanish style can be. Recent example: Wallace Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

    The most important aspect is for the council too finally remove that old utilitarian building in the center of Plummer Park and give us the open parkland and green space to accommodate the needs of our growing eastside neighborhood. Soon 2000+ residents will want to congregate at our fully restored parkland and remodeled Plummer Park that does not fit the eastside community.

    Festivals, fairs, cultural events, children’s, seniors and all types of family’s will enjoy the quality of life a new Plummer Park will allow. We must have a park that meets the demands of a growing community and open parkland is a must to support Weho’s eastside community at-large. The greater the open parkland is the better it is able to meet and give the residents a tranquil, beautiful experience that will be filled with exciting improvements.

  8. Sensible development is one thing – a necessary fact of life. But what we have in West Hollywood is runaway development with a complete lack of foresight. I feel sorry for anyone living in the vicinity of these projects – oh, wait, that’s me! Sigh

  9. @ wehoan fed up: I guess you are just shilling for the developers? Why else would you start calling people who only want logical and carefully planned developments in their community? I have worked and lived here for over 35 years so why should I adjust my life for a bunch of new-comers?

  10. Steve, I’m not joking. Your memories are quite different from mine. I lived at Willoughby & Formosa from 79 thru 81. Melrose & Western 81 to 83, Beachwood Canyon 83 to 85, West Hollywood 85 to 87, Near Sunset & La Brea from 87 thru 92. I biked to work every day back then so I got to know the neighborhoods all the way to Bronson & SMB. Back then you didn’t have the homeless issue that exists across from La Brea Gateway in the commercial area east of La Brea to Highland. I gotta say that the neighborhood I work in has gotten worse, but will change drastically when the projects north of Sunset between Bronson & Vine are completed. That is if that judge didn’t screw things up with the building permits.

  11. Steve: “And PLEASE tell me where I can buy a house for $3,500.” $3500 a month would be the payment on an $800k 30 year loan at 3.5%. Lots of condos, townhouses and even a few single unit houses for that price. And I agree with Snarkygal. The east side of WeHo and the neighboring parts of Hollywood were doing just fine, with single unit houses and reasonably sized apartments. It was not decaying. I understand things will always get denser, but we need the infrastructure first. The roads as they are now can’t handle the extra volume. Santa Monica Blvd approaching LaBrea is already gridlocked. Now it is going to be so much worse. And then we have MovieTown coming up.

    And what’s with this “’I’m hoping to see Avon Truck Rental close up soon.” They’re a legitimate business. Are you saying some businesses are not good enough to be within the borders of WeHo?

  12. Good luck to The Huxley finding enough “tech savvy people” who are willing to seriously overpay to “communicate and collaborate” in a building that looks cheap and generic at best on a seriously gridlocked corner. Those rents will come down.

    I hope their other building The Dylan won’t be quite as bland, I’m just glad that Carls Jr is gone so it’ll be an improvement either way.

    I think it’s safe to say both authors are violently spinning in their graves, wishing they could sue.

    I do like The Guggenheim… I mean The Courtyard and I find the new medians with trees on LaBrea soothing to look at when I stand still in traffic.

  13. Gritty? Gurl get the eff outta weho and bisit the real world sometime. La Brea is gritty to you? Try venturing east of La Brea and south of Wilshire maybe once in your adult life. #therealworldwouldeatyoualive.

  14. Steve: Who are you that you are saying that ” This has been a dream for most of us since they broke ground on the Gateway center. Many of us have fought tirelessly to make these projects happen. We want them, the east side needs them and these new residents and businesses will benefit the entire city.”? I live on the East Side and I don’t know anybody that has dreamt for this.

  15. TimF: Hollywood is building 20+ story towers (not that I’m opposed to that), but you seriously want to complain that a few 6 story residential buildings are going to impact Hollywood? Give me a break.
    And PLEASE tell me where I can buy a house for $3,500.

    Wehoan FedUp: I’m with you about Cemex. Considering the taxes they bring to the city, I don’t see them going anywhere, but I’ve been talking to them about improving the property and they seem open to a “green” wall, new gate and improved landscaping. It’s not great, but it’s something.

    I’m hoping to see Avon Truck Rental close up soon.

  16. Guess what: this ain’t the 20s or 30s, or 70s anymore. We’re growing as a region. We’re gonna keep growing as a region. And people need a place to live. These buildings are gonna be gorgeous and help revitalize a decaying part of West Hollywood. Now if we can only get rid of that cement plant and all the junkies that congregate around it.

  17. The Huxley is on the northeast most corner of WeHo. So WeHo gets all the benefits of overdevelopment in increased tax revenue, but Hollywood gets all the headaches in traffic congestion. And good luck with that $3500/month rent. Lots of houses in the neighborhood can be bought for that price.

  18. This area looks so much better already. I can’t wait to see it once it is fully developed. Anyone that would prefer a single story commercial building, or a fast food restaurant over these mixed-use buildings is certainly not someone I would want spearheading the planning of Hollywood.

  19. Mike: I can only assume your joking. Maybe in the 20’s and 30’s it was charming, but in the 70’s through the early 2000’s, the neighborhood was a cesspool. Bars on windows, crack houses, dilapidated housing, hookers, crime.

    Since the more recent changes that has almost entirely changed. It is FAR quieter and safer now that it ever has been in recent history, certainly since the time the city was created.

  20. I’m all for development but what is happening up and down La Brea concerns me in that traffic sucks already so just think what it will be like in a few years at most. These neighborhoods were developed way back in the 1920’s and 1930’s without concern for mega-developments that are going up right now. L.A. and West Hollywood has a poor history of urban planning and traffic. The streets off of La Brea and SMB are narrow because only small houses were planned there in the first place. When I moved out here in the late 70’s that neighborhood was nice and peaceful. Now, it’s just plain awful.

  21. @Jonathan: PLEASE don’t feel bad for us. This has been a dream for most of us since they broke ground on the Gateway center. Many of us have fought tirelessly to make these projects happen. We want them, the east side needs them and these new residents and businesses will benefit the entire city.

    As for the design of the WHCHC project, how amazing is it that some of the best design is being utilized for the most vulnerable of our residents. This is something we should be proud of, not discourage.

  22. The WHCHC project is stunning. Maybe one of the most interesting projects in all of the LA area. Great job!
    And Rabbi Eger is absolutely correct….the beautiful congregation started it all.

    I know 2 people who are leaving Hancock Lofts for The Huxley.

  23. Although I am happy to see the developments built by WHCHC for those that need them most , Does anyone else wonder why they use prime sites that could be sold at a premium to add more money to the fund to create added cost efficient beds and more of them , and why designs that are always way over the top ? I wonder what the per square foot build cost for some of the for profit designs by developers vs the WHCHC designs are ?
    As far as for traffic even the city of Los Angeles requires developers to cover the cost of traffic mitigation improvements near or at their projects. Was any money collected for all the new trips to be dumped onto Fountain? Widening ? Additional turn lanes ? I feel really sorry for the neighbors that live in those areas. This area should be seen as a huge wakeup call for what is going to happen with all the approved developments across the city. Go to weho.org and look for the development map to see all that is already approved. Our council should be so proud.

  24. You forgot to mention that in 2001 Congregation Kol Ami West Hollywood’s Reform Synagogue began the urban renaissance on this stretch of La Brea with its award winning design by Josh Schweitzer. We welcome all of our new neighbors and hope the community will see Kol Ami as a place of gathering for everyone.

    1. Good catch! We make mistakes. And we’re thankful for readers like you who alert us so we can fix them.

  25. That development at Willoughby and la Brea is gonna be a nightmare for commuters who prefer to avoid Melrose and SMB. Also, the through-lanes going east & west are tighter than a gnats ass.

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