WeHo Planning Commission Will Consider Melrose Triangle ‘Gateway’ Project This Week

The Melrose Triangle Gateway building (architect Studio One Eleven)
Illustration of the proposed Melrose Triangle Gateway building (architect Studio One Eleven)

The Planning Commission will be asked Thursday to approve Melrose Triangle, a development on the city’s border with Beverly Hills that some are hailing as a western “gateway” for West Hollywood.

The development is proposed for the three-acre triangle of land bordered on the west by North Almont Drive and on the north and south by Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue, which intersect at Doheny Drive facing Beverly Hills.

The commission will be asked by city planners Thursday to affirm that the project’s benefits outweigh two concerns:

— A significant increase in traffic at intersections along Doheny Drive with Elevado Street and Santa Monica and Beverly boulevards and at Santa Monica Boulevard and Foothill Road during the construction. The West Hollywood West Residents Association has also expressed concern about traffic being diverted during the projected 33-month construction period onto nearby residential streets such as nearby streets such as Rangely, Dorrington, Ashcroft and Rosewood.

— The demolition of the building at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd., now empty, which was constructed in 1928 in the “Streamline Moderne” style that became famous in the 1930s and 1940s. That building was renovated in 1938 by Wurdeman and Becket, an architectural firm known for its design of the Bullock’s Department Store building in Pasadena (1944) and the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles (built in 1935 and destroyed by fire in 1989). A report commissioned by the city from LSA Associates, an environmental impact consultant, recommends that the 9080 Santa Monica building be moved if it cannot be kept at the existing location. The other buildings on the site house small offices and shops such as hair salons, a computer repair shop and a Pilates studio along with a two-story parking garage on Almont.

Melrose Triangle project site plan
Melrose Triangle project site plan

The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance and a number of its members have expressed their opposition to the demolition of the 9080 Santa Monica Blvd. building as has the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles. The WHWRA also has expressed concerns about the project’s proximity to the Santa Monica Hollywood Fault, its potential impact on groundwater levels during construction and the impact of the project’s lighting on nearby residential areas

The project has been under development since 2004. The latest iteration of it, presented to the commission’s Design Review Subcommittee in February, drew praise from committee members, who had expressed concerns about the mass of the building previously proposed and about plans to build six levels of underground parking. Commissioner John Altschul was concerned that a parking garage that deep would have intruded on the city’s underground water table. The project as presented in February called for only four underground parking levels and for breaking up the development into three buildings with a wide public passageway connecting Santa Monica Boulevard with Melrose Avenue.

The 303,000 square foot project would house offices, restaurants and shops and 76 residential units, 15 of which would be reserved for low- and moderate-income renters. It would include 884 parking spaces, 94 more than are required by city codes.

Melrose Triangle 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. The architect is Studio One Eleven.

If the Planning Commission approves the project, it goes to the West Hollywood City Council for final approval. The commission will hold the public hearing on the project at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chamber at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica.

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 Mayor John D’Amico and $500 to Councilmember 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.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the Petco store is on the Melrose Triangle site. In fact it is not and the story has been corrected.


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Manny
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Manny

@JJ….as a clarification…..If by the “neighborhood mailing list” you mean WHWRA…..that neighborhood association only heard about this “open house” through the grapevine. The Melrose Triangle Project did not formally reach out to the entire community through the WHWRA….It should have….I think that was the point “Meister4weho” was making.

But the good news is, thanks to WHWRA you did hear about it and you attended. That’s what matters in the end.

meister4weho
Guest
meister4weho

@JJ, no need for hostility – it’s not a attack. I did attend the event – but like I said, the WHWRA neighborhood association members did not receive an invite until a few days before the event. And, FYI, as former President of WHWRA, I’ve met with this developer’s team for over 10 years, along with about 5-6 others from the neighborhood. The reason the project has evolved into what you see today is because of that positive interaction. The neighborhood group wants the project to be the best it can be — for both the developer and the neighborhood… Read more »

JJ
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JJ

@ Meister – no hostility here. Just correcting a statement you made that was not true and it gave the wrong impression to everyone reading. All the best.

Lester
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Lester

This is probably my favorite proposal for all of West Hollywood.

JJ
Guest
JJ

@ Meister – everyone that was on our neighborhood email list was notified (that’s how I found out). I knew nothing of the project before I was invited to the open house – so you’re misinformed when you say it was just for “supporters.’ Please don’t spread falsehoods.

meister4weho
Guest
meister4weho

@JJ – the reason neighbors didn’t show up at the open house is that they weren’t necessarily invited. I heard it was an event for “supporters.” An invite was apparently sent out last minute by the neighborhood association and so there were a few residents who attended. @Jonathan – you make some good points. If developers and city staff would work with residents and existing businesses to address neighborhood concerns, to mitigate some of the potential impacts, to keep our neighborhood-serving businesses local, we would have better projects and a constituency that feels like someone is listening. It’s not NIMBY… Read more »

JJ
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JJ

@ Meister – everyone that was on our neighborhood email list was notified (that’s how I found out). I knew nothing of the project before I was invited to the open house – so you’re misinformed when you say it was for “supporters.” Please don’t spread statements that are not true.

JJ
Guest
JJ

And if attended the open house you you would have heard the developer’s rep describe how they already have addressed some of the same issues that come up over every development project.

Flores St.
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Flores St.

Why do people who live in weho need free parking? It is a very walkable city. I walk almost everywhere when I am home. Given my location, I can walk from Doheny to Fairfax, and I do. The only places I ever have to take my car are the grocery stores, and that is only if I am doing a heavy shopping — and they have free parking. Gyms, restaurants, bars, yoga, banks, parks, Beverly Center, cleaners, hardware stores are all walking distance. You can’t complain about traffic and complain about lack of free parking. There is a cause and… Read more »

El Futuro
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El Futuro

@jonathan: I bet you don’t do well on tweeter.

erik
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erik

thanks goodness they are tearing down that ugly eyesore that sits on that lot now. YUCK!

now tear down the hamburger joint and the strip of shops west of that and put something attractive up

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

I sometimes just feel like giving up. Who is Commissioner John Altschul? How is he an expert on our water table? No doubt he’ll cite the Target parking garage water issue years ago. But you know who is to blame? The developers who built Target. With proper building code (which might mean more money) then they can go as deep as they’d like. And you are correct Jonathan (from above)..if the water table was so high in Weho there is no way they could have built the PDC. It’s all an excuse. City Council people are puppets to the developers… Read more »

JJ
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JJ

This project is beautifully designed and will create a exciting and proper west gateway to our City. This area is currently home to an empty lot, a dated and not historically significant building. The building does have period specific interest but nothing else. This end of town has been a dead zone for years. I am a homeowner in the area (have been for many years) and fully support this development. I attended the open house the developer held for the public and was impressed by their presentation. The model, floor plans and general material selections were on display and… Read more »

Nic Valle
Guest

West Hollywood just can’t stop. Tearing down the deco building is a crime. A crime.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

First let me start off by saying there is nothing wrong with big development, developers that have a desire to invest in our community and create positive change where it is needed can be a really good thing. Projects can be well designed, stepped, placed, and with all the concerns met if the creative designers are challanged by our board to follow the city mission statement. What I dont understand is that anytime someone has a constructive thought for a change it is looked at as NIMBYS or balked at by our own planning dept. Do some of these people… Read more »