The West Hollywood Planning Commission’s Design Review Subcommittee gave an overall blessing to the design of the new development proposed for the south side of Santa Monica Boulevard near its intersection with West Knoll.
At its meeting last night, the architect for the project, Aleks Istanbullu, addressed concerns raised by some residents that inclusion of a grocery store would result in more cars lining up on Santa Monica Boulevard to enter the adjacent parking garage. That garage is part of the building that now houses 24 Hour Fitness, Capitol Drugs and LASC.
Istanbullu said that the parking payment booth and its associated barrier now sit just inside the garage, meaning only one car can enter the garage at a time. Others must wait outside on Santa Monica Boulevard while the driver inside the garage obtains a ticket that causes the barrier to open and permit him to park. Istanbullu and Todd Eliott, a lawyer representing the developer of the project, said the payment booth will be moved farther inside, allowing seven to eight cars to enter the garage at once.
Design Review Subcommittee members Marc Yeber, John Altschul and David Aghaei praised the project, noting design, the landscaping and the outdoor cafe proposed for the corner of Santa Monica and West Knoll, which Aghaei said would add to the sense of the city as a pedestrian-friendly place. The building will have trees or shrubs on all three of its levels. Yeber filled the role normally occupied by subcommittee member Roy Huebner, who recused himself from the meeting because he lives within a 500-foot radius of the project.
The building, which will be on an empty lot that once housed the Athletic Club and Palms bar buildings, is being developed by Michael Talla, who owns the entire block. It will include a Sprouts grocery store, part of a chain that offers organic and natural foods. The project also includes a 8,000-square-foot fitness center/gym and the 1,100-square-foot café with outdoor dining along with rooftop parking.