New Melrose Triangle Design Lauded as a Western Gateway for WeHo

The Melrose Triangle Gateway building (architect Studio One Eleven)
The Melrose Triangle Gateway building (architect Studio One Eleven)
The Melrose Triangle's Avenues building. (architect Studio One Eleven)
The Melrose Triangle’s Avenues building. (architect Studio One Eleven)

The Melrose Triangle project, which has been ten years in the making, got the unanimous support tonight of the West Hollywood Planning Commission’s Design Review subcommittee.

The proposed development would consist of three buildings that would house offices, restaurants and shops and 76 residential units, 15 of which would be reserved for low- and moderate-income renters. It would sit at the western gateway to West Hollywood, facing Beverly Hills at Doheny Drive. The prominence of its site, a triangle of land bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard on the north, Melrose Avenue on the south and Almont Drive on the east, has brought the project under especially intense scrutiny.

Design Review subcommittee members were unanimous tonight in praising the evolution of the project’s design. “I was more than pleasantly surprised when I saw this iteration,” subcommittee member Roy Huebner said. “I think it is an amazing, exceptional design.”

The Melrose Triangle project's "paseo" linking Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue. (architect Studio One Eleven)
The Melrose Triangle project’s “paseo” linking Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue. (architect Studio One Eleven)

The latest design plan, by the architectural firm Studio One Eleven, breaks the 303,000-square-foot project into three buildings. One, dubbed the “Gateway building,” would face both Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue at the western tip of the triangle. Four stories high, it would be set back 20 feet from the street and have retail space on the first floor and three floors of offices above. It would face Beverly Hills with glass panels that would glow at night. “It becomes a beacon of entry into the city,” said Alan Pullman, founder of Studio One Eleven.

The “Boulevard building,” five stories high along Santa Monica Boulevard east toward Almont, would have a double row of trees and be set back about 30 feet from the street. Retail shops would be on the ground floor.

The “Avenue building,” a U-shaped structure, would face Almont and Melrose and a “paseo,” or walkway, through the project that would allow pedestrians to move from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue. Its first two stories would be designed to house showrooms and art galleries. Above would be 74 residential units. The overall development would have four levels of underground parking.

The Melrose Triangle's Boulevard building. (architect Studio One Eleven)
The Melrose Triangle’s Boulevard building. (architect Studio One Eleven)

An earlier version of the Melrose Triangle project called for six underground levels that would have been used for parking and for more than 300 storage units for such things as art and wine. It also called for six stories above ground that would have included 195 apartments. That prompted opposition from area residents. Planning Commission John Altschul, who is on the Design Review subcommittee, expressed concern that the six underground levels would cause problems with the area’s relatively high water table. Other opposition was raised to the mass of the proposed building, an issue the architect addressed by breaking it up into three distinct buildings.

The project still must be approved by the Planning Commission and then the City Council

The Melrose Triangle development is a project of the Charles Company, a real estate development and leasing firm owned by Arman and Mark Gabay of Beverly Hills. Charles Company also owns Excel Property Management and has other wholly or partially owned affiliates such as Broadway Square LLC, System LLC, Sancam, Oppidan LLC.

Arman Gabay and his family members and his businesses have been major donors to several West Hollywood City Council members. They donated $2,000 to Councilmember John D’Amico, $500 to Mayor Abbe Land and $500 to Councilmember John Heilman in 2011. Excel Property Management donated $5,000 to a committee supporting the re-election of Councilmember John Duran in 2013.

Melrose Triangle site plan

  1. Time to get with the program and play Chicago, not Miami. Build an L above Santa Monica Blvd so we can get rid of our cars, and not build more trendy glass cubes with neon. That’s how you benefit a city. Good thing no one “goes to work” around here, imagine everyone trying to leave that parking garage at 8am. It would take over an hour just to see daylight from your spot.

  2. More traffic love the light rail idea but don’t see the room for it… fear is one day SM will be 6 lanes or parking meters gone, maybe just for rush hour. Love the monorail comments, at some point how is traffic ever going to move?

  3. Because WeHo doesn’t have ENOUGH construction going on.

    If I were on the city council, my #1 priority would be a 5 year moratorium on all new public construction. Apparently, the current city council won’t be satisfied until a tiny single 600 ft apartment goes for $3K.

  4. Where are all these businesses going to come from? Just announced today a hotel and stores where the Factory Night Club is. All of this kind of reminds me of Kalakawa Ave. in Waikiki. They tore down small local businesses and built new complexes to replace them. One of these buildings is totally empty and has been for years. . How many Louis Vatant(sp) Stores can you put on one street. Currently we see clothing stores open and close on a regular basis. A novel idea would be to put a gas station in as part of the development. Not stand alone but with stores and apartments above it. Why just another big box with empty store fronts like everything else being built here. Even the Gateway Plaza at Santa Monica and La Brea has had a hard time keeping all it’s spaces occupied. Across from Gateway more new store fronts and across Formosa another development. Moving down the street Movie Town Plaza ‘s huge redevelopment. Then there is Santa Monica and Crescent Hghts. Walgreens & more stores. Where the Palms Bar and a gym another developement. Across the street from there still another developement. And if powers to be have their way a huge development above the current MTA Division 7 yard which is nessitated by the PDC building the RED building to close to the MTA property line. What were going to see in my opinion is many, many empty store fronts. Don’t forget the building International Male moved to on Halloway. They were the only tenant and ultimately it was torn down after stand only about 10 years

  5. The next Planning Comission meeting about this project is coming up on June 19th, 2014 — come and voice your feelings…. at the WeHo City Council chambers, below the new library.

  6. Monorail, your right, it belongs in Disneyland. Monorails have yet to be designed for rapid transit. Nice at Disneyland, nice in Los Vegas but never for mass transit. If anything is ever built here it will be the resurrection of light rail formally called street cars. If your unaware, why do you supposed there is a once wider medium on Santa Monica Bl. Also the medium on San Vicente Bl. and most everywhere else in Los Angeles where there is a medium in the middle of the street. Even the Expo Line is being built on an old streetcar right of way. People may hate it but look for less parking on Santa Monica Bl. and light rail down the middle of the street again hopefully clear to the beach.

  7. Can’t wait! The current “triangle” is an eyesore – a dated “dead zone.” I do hope there is added underground parking. Once this goes up, hopefully the other side of the street will become desirable real estate and the northeast corner of SMB and Doheny will get redeveloped. We can only pray. That building on the corner has been vacant for about 15 years now.

  8. Melrose Ave essentially deadends at Doheny Dr and does not connect well to Santa Monica Blvd. A tunnel should be built under the intersection so it can merge into SMB on the west side of Doheny, where the unused former streetcar right of way is. That would let cars use Melrose as an alternative to SMB and circulate traffic better. If that doesn’t get done, all the traffic from this development is going to jam the intersection of SMB and Almont Dr.

  9. That stretch of SMB is absolutely hideous right now and there is virtually no commercial activity. I’m all for something that will revitalize that end of the boulevard. But something HAS to be done about traffic there. It’s already a nightmare. And it would be a HUGE boon to that part of town if they put underground municipal parking.

  10. Weho needs parking and transportation.
    It is jammed most of the time. The most congested
    Area west of the Mississippi. Congrats on the progress.

  11. Great looking building. This will be a big improvement from the decrepit structure that currently sits on this parcel. This part of town desperately needs new multifamily housing. I wish the residential section was larger.

  12. It will be sad to see the current Melrose Triangle structure go. It’s an architectural gem welcoming people to West Hollywood! It should be treated as an historic landmark.

  13. If Lower Manhattan can keep the Hudson River out below ground, I’m certain that the West Hollywood water table won’t be an insurmountable issue here.

  14. All I can say is this is a perfect opportunity for City Council to get their acts together and incorporate a super parking structure underground to accommodate the parking nightmares plaguing all of West Hollywood. Will they? Of course not. They’ll throw up more meters and parking restrictions so they can pad their city wallets. And I agree with Jeff York and El Futuro. Ugly design that we see everywhere now. How about adding some classic 1930s/40s LA character to the buildings. Thats how you create a village look. Not glass and neon. This looks like a mini Pacific Design Center.

  15. I wonder how all the renters in these 3,4 and 5 story buildings are going to feel when the new monorail is built outside their window. Clearly with the high water table and the difficulty it adds creating new parking we cant possible think a subway will go through. Anyone down for Disney style transportation through the land of OZ ?

  16. As a former resident of West Hollywood, I can tell you it is nothing like the quaint village I remember. I was there from WH’s inception until 1998. Now it is more like a cross between Beverly Hills and The Grove without any traffic control.

  17. @BC: Huh? You mean the quaint village building that currently occupies the site? Yes, that will be greatly missed.

  18. It’s surely a cool building, but reminds me more of downtown Hollywood than our quaint little Weho village. Makes me sad.

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