LA Supervisors to Consider Agreement with Cohen Realty to Develop WeHo Sheriff’s Station Property

A “preliminary conceptual development view” of the proposed project on the MTA grounds on Santa Monica Boulevard.
A “preliminary conceptual development view” of the proposed project on the MTA grounds on Santa Monica Boulevard.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider tomorrow a proposal to enter into a 24-month agreement to negotiate with Cohen Brothers Realty Corp. a plan for redevelopment of property owned by the county that houses the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

If approved, the proposal would give Cohen the exclusive right to negotiate with the county. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority entered into a similar agreement in January 2013 regarding the MTA bus depot on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is adjacent to the Sheriff’s Department station.

The MTA agreement with Cohen upset West Hollywood City Council members and city officials, who hadn’t been alerted by the MTA that it was negotiating with Cohen Brothers. Cohen Brothers owns the adjoining Pacific Design Center and discussed with the MTA a plan to build a massive complex that would include two high-rise towers, 600,000 square feet of residential/hotel space, 120,000 square feet of retail shops, a 2,500-seat movie theater complex and an 800-seat open amphitheater, plus a 50,000-square-foot replacement for the sheriff’s station. The sheriff’s station and the MTA depot sit on 10.4 acres — equivalent to ten football fields.

Some West Hollywood residents also voiced concern over the plan, arguing that it would create major traffic congestion on Santa Monica Boulevard, which already suffers from congestion because it serves as a major east-west route connecting Los Angeles to other west side communities such as Beverly Hills.

West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo alerted the City Council to the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting at the Council meeting tonight. Arevalo said that any decision to use the property owned by the county and the MTA would be subject to review and approval by West Hollywood.

  1. I wonder if these developers put up as many towers as possible in their first draft, so when they inevitably reduce the scope of the project, it is still huge, just less massive, and they can say they compromised?! That is what I would do.

    JJ: I agree with you that I would like to see more on that spot, but the proposal is like a mini-Grove. I know where the Grove is. If I wanted to live by it, I would have moved to Park La Brea.

  2. Our City Council really fails at planning. They must just look only at the money and then they drive home up in the Hollywood Hills far away from all this urban density they are planning. What our council needs to do is designate this site as a subway site. The Pink line will and HAS to go through. In the meantime the city of Weho could develop its own trolly line and transportation line. This would be the perfect place until that long awaited subway line arrives. We had the tracks before…we should put them back or an elevated monorail or something. From Doheny to La Brea. If the city of LA doesn’t want to provide us with transportation (not more buses)..then we should be at the forefront. In the meantime..we dont need more towers or more skyscrapers like the hideous PDC. Develop that stretch of SM Blvd as a quaint village front. Nothing more than 2 or 3 stories at most. We CAN create our little village and we can maintain that hometown, main street feel that West Hollywood once had. You’re just hiring the wrong developers and the wrong architects. Look at Sunset Plaza. Its maintained its look for nearly 75 years now. If we create a homey area with local shops and small bars…we can still keep a gay “boystown” feel to our community. But if you continue to build these massive project that are just absurd and misplaced…you certainly will end up with another Century City and a lot of empty commercial space and no one will live here.

    Weho is already approaching this with the overdevelopment of the area, the new illogical and ridiculous parking situations. Extended meters with shorter stays. Forces people to leave Weho when their meter is up. We can save this town if we can stop the idiotic council members from approving everything that is dangled in front of them.

  3. Cities evolve and change, I get it…but this parcel represents a rare opportunity and is worthy of world-class urban planning. It shouldn’t be designed by the local guys who developed the site next door (with a beautiful but unsuccessful result).

  4. Will thew forced density greed gone wild train be stopped in #weho before traffic grinds to a halt? Is this what the residents want? Or does their quality of life even matter any more versus the big developer money in city hall council candidates pockets and the city manager agenda to hook his friends up?

  5. For Godsakes we have a dead zone there now with the buses. I for one would love to be able to walk to more restaurants, movies, shopping, etc. This ain’t no little village people.
    We live in one of the largest cities in the world. Time to grow up. The dirt roads and mudhuts are long gone.

  6. This project must be stopped. Too big. Too much traffic. Rents of the surrounding businesses and apartments would increase. All the gay clubs and shops would be driven out within five years.

  7. @Todd Bianco – I think you are right on the money. Say “Bye-Bye to Boystown”. That massive project WILL happen. It WILL be the Cohen Bros. and the citizens will have NO say. Weho is “run” by developers. Take a look at those huge, boring buildings on La Brea and the massive ones that are being built on SM Blvd, if you want to know what the future of “our” 2 sq. miles will be. I’ve seen the future and it ain’t pretty. It will be interesting to see if all of this over development has any effect on the election in March. The sad part about the election is that there are only a few candidates who have the experience and they will be shut out by the other umpty-teen people who drain the votes off and think they can win. Then the same entrenched people will get voted back in backed by the developers who have come to know and love them. Why didn’t the CITYget the contract to develop that corner? Why, indeed?

  8. I still don’t see how this will be economically and physically feasible. The Red Building is still empty (and leasing a partial floor to yourself doesn’t count). Partial or temporary relocation of the MTA and Sheriffs’ Station has to present a significant logistical challenge. There is no hope of the Pink Line or any meaningful non-surface street public transit for decades to come, even though this corner would be a natural transit node on a subway line. I don’t hear the community clamoring for this mega-project either. There are already a ton of new, large projects in various stages of planning or construction.

    Perhaps the Cohen Bros. are hoping that Mr. Business Friendly John Duran will be elected to Zev’s LA County Supervisor seat and that he’ll get this mammoth project approved. If you didn’t see yesterday’s LA Times article on Duran, check it out:

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