‘Jewel Box’ of a Design Proposed for Long-Delayed 8950 Sunset Hotel


A view of the proposed 8950 Sunset Blvd. hotel near Hammond, from the south east.  (Three: Living Architecture)
A view of the proposed 8950 Sunset Blvd. hotel near Hammond. (Three: Living Architecture)


[dropcap]A[/dropcap] 15-year effort to build a hotel at 8950 Sunset Blvd. will take another step forward with an evaluation of the project on Thursday by WeHo’s Design Review Subcommittee.  Meanwhile, CIM Group and Denihan Hospitality Group have announced they will build the James Los Angeles hotel at Sunset and La Cienega boulevards.

The 8950 Sunset location, first proposed in 1999 as a site for the Astra hotel, was purchased in 2005 for $16.5 million by the James hotel chain. But last year a European hotel group bought the property for $28 million.

The 8950 Sunset project sits between Hilldale Avenue and Hammond Street, adjacent to the 9000 Sunset Blvd. office tower owned by the Mani Brothers Real Estate Group. It will contain 165 rooms as opposed to the 195 proposed when the James hotel was contemplated for that site. The architect is Three: Living Architecture  of Dallas.

The design is dramatically different from that which was proposed for the James. “Its signature feature, an opening approximately 50 feet tall by 80 feet wide (is) a grand gesture to the street,” said Stephanie Reich, the city’s urban designer, in an evaluation of the project. “The design is a forward-looking modern design. With attention to detail and successful execution, it has the potential to become a jewel box highlighting the best qualities of the Sunset Strip.

James Los Angeles
James Los Angeles

Construction has begun on the Sunset | La Cienega project, which will straddle the intersection of Sunset and La Cienega boulevards and include the James Los Angeles hotel, which is being designed by Skidmoore Owings & Merrill.

The James will consist of two 10-story towers with 286 rooms, two restaurants, rooftop and lobby bars and approximately 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Design Review Subcommittee will evaluate the 8950 Sunset design at its meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center.

Other views of the 8950 Sunset hotel are on the pages that follow:

  1. I like it, a lot. My brother is an architect with marvelous taste.
    But seriously, I like it.
    Romanoff – there is no reason why mixed-use dwellings have to be ugly-assed buildings (an homage to OJ). What does a major artery have to do with good design? Maybe the DR hadn’t fully embraced the idea of touting our less attractive sister at Eastern WeHo.

  2. This looks like a grotesque flower box. WEHO and Los Angeles have hired the lowest class of architects in the USA. The city is becoming a total third world dump. The design review has to be be from tech school sponsored by the corrupt city council of Los Angeles.

  3. Lynn, obviously most of us don’t agree that your mother is a keen and knowledgeable observer of architecture great or humble. but I’m absolutely sure she’s a sweet, bless her soul.

    As for the comment about where was Design Review on La Brea? There is a big difference between quality mixed-use dwelling units on a major city artery vs. an iconic hotel structure on one of the most famous streets in the world.

    Nice work on this project!

  4. My Mother’s comment upon seeing the renderings was priceless. As a keen and knowledgeable observer of both great and humble architecture worldwide she asked if this was to be an instlation in a shipyard, perhaps a new terminal at Long Beach..

  5. A jewel box.? According to what standards? Would someone please speak to the merits of this design? Because it appears better than previous incantations? I’m sure at least one long time member of the PC will proclaim it “iconic”, but I ask what are his comparative standards? As far as I know the singular iconic hotel in WH is the Sunset Tower which has stood the test of time as far as the life of LA goes.

    On an international standard, and to be sure WH fancies itself in the internationL loop, what do the recent proliferation of hotels on the strip say about sustainable design before a projected limited shelf life? Does WH desire only trendy hotels that some believe to be nondescript white elephants and don’t challenge the design due to anticipated revenue streams?

    Basic questions to ask or is WH perceived as the place that one can unload designs that would be highly scrutinized elsewhere?

    Many more questions, so few answers.

  6. First “Pretty Plantings” and now “A Jewel Box” Yes this is a beautiful design and we are lucky to have the vision of the architects to create such buildings in our city.

    But yet again I have simple questions to ask. Questions that should be asked by the city

    This is the fourth major hotel on sunset being planned and one only a block away and several others being built or planned elsewhere in the city….

    How many new hotels does our general plan call for ? Are they all high end hotels ?

    Do we already have the sewer/elec/water/phone/IT in place ?

    If not who will pay for those upgrades ?

    Does this add dollars for additional sheriff time here in the city if so at what amount ?

    Do we have a set number of sheriff in town per visitor or residence added ?

    For this project ….

    Why does the pedestrian patio focus have to overlook someones private residence ?

    Could the pedestrian areas have faced Sunset blvd instead of a residential side street ?

    Where will the ambient noise from the roof, lobby, and patios travel ? Any consideration?

    With the view focus south does this mean when the properties next door get built out to a 5-6 story apartment bldg it will block the views or will those land owners now be limited ?

    The lobby looks to have an led display facing north into the hills ? Light cast on homes ?

    Was extra parking added here for the public that come to the many events close by ?

    Will we see and the city require extra parking in these big developments for the public ?

    Will the roof top close after 10pm to meet city sound req ?

    Will parties be allowed till 2,3,4 am ? How many rooftop spaces can the city handle ?

    If Venice Beach can have a noise rule at sunset is that wishful thinking here ?

    How many new vehicle trips will this generate ?

    Are they required to do any traffic mitigation anywhere on sunset or the side streets ?

    Will cars/ delivery and garbage trucks be allowed to empty and stage onto the residential streets ? Is this designed into the belly of the garage for silence to the neighbors ?

    We dont have to be against development if we know how to work with such talented designers before something comes to the city.

  7. I live fairly close to this project. The lot has been vacant for a very long time. The city kept renewing the entitled project but it never got the funding. Then the recession hit and all these years later, we have a better project from a new owner with enough money to get this far. Let’s hope they have the funding to make this happen.

    This hotel design and digital rendering is far more interesting than many other projects on the Strip. I hope it gets built and this vacant lot starts to generate more property and transient occupancy tax for the city.

    Perhaps the architects were inspired by the sensational Morphosis/Thom Mayne Emerson College building,

  8. I’ve lived just around the corner since 1997 and I have enjoyed the vast empty lot ever since. Our neighborhood is pretty quiet considering how close we are to the clubs. I wonder how this will turn out. Everyone knows that the traffic sucks on the strip.

  9. This is a great design. Much better than the Sunset James Hotel by CIM that looks like twin towers from an Irvine office park.

  10. west hollywood has a Design Review Committee!!
    where were they when the big box apartment buildings
    nearing completion on la brea were approved?

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