Developer Breaks Ground on ‘Avalon West Hollywood’ at Movietown Plaza Site

The "mews" at Avalon West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard (MVE & Partners architects)
The “mews” at Avalon West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard (MVE & Partners architects)

Members of the West Hollywood City Council joined representative of Avalon Bay Communities to officially break ground this morning on Avalon West Hollywood, a 400,000 square foot complex of residences and shops on the Santa Monica Boulevard lot known as Movietown Plaza.

The project has been dubbed “Avalon West Hollywood” according to Chris Payne, senior vice president at Avalon Bay Communities, who participated in the event. He said Avalon expects it to be “our flagship complex in Southern California.”

Payne said the movie camera sculpture that has served as a symbol of the shopping plaza will be retained and incorporated into the Avalon West Hollywood design. He credited local resident Cathy Blaivas for suggesting that.

Payne also announced that Trader Joe’s will return. That grocery store was one of the last remaining businesses in Movietown Plaza. It opened there in 1985 and closed last September so that demolition of the buildings on the lot could begin.

And he said that West Hollywood Housing Community Housing Corp., the non-profit agency that has built much of the city’s housing for low-income and elderly and disabled people, will acquire and manage a 77-unit building on the property that Avalon will construct.

Payne said Avalon expects it to be “our flagship complex in Southern California.”

The Avalon West Hollywood project is designed by MVE & Partners of Irvine. It will include 293 other market-rate housing units and 32,300 square feet of retail space that will house Trader Joe’s along with restaurants and shops. Mayor John D’Amico, who participated in the ceremony welcoming Avalon along with Councilmembers John Duran, John Heilman and Abbe Land, said he expected the project to be completed in 24 months.

It has been years in the making. In 2006 Casden Properties acquired the three-acre lot between Poinsettia Place and Fuller Avenue. A financial dispute between Casden and its financial backers brought brought its plans to a halt. Its plan called for construction of two 10-story towers and 26,000 square feet of commercial space along with 300 apartments. The scale of the project prompted objections from area residents such as Blaivas and Ruth Williams.

Avalon, one of the nation’s largest real estate developers, bought the property in 2012. Its 300 residential units will be smaller than those in the Casden plan. It reduced the building heights from ten stories to seven. Also its design calls for a wide pedestrian mall between the major buildings on the property and from bringing the building for low-income housing, relegated by Casden to the back of the lot, closer to Santa Monica Boulevard.

Williams praised the project today. “The Eastside will not longer be referred to as the ‘blighted area’ or the ‘industrial area’ or the ‘east end’,” she said. “We can now proclaim that our Eastside is a highly desirable place to work, live and play.”

Avalon West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard at Poinsettia (MVE & Partners architects)
Avalon West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard at Poinsettia (MVE & Partners architects)
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Kristina
Kristina
3 years ago

You guys the reason why it is this style instead of a “Spanish Revival” is because of cost. They are trying to make it as affordable as possible thus less style. And it’s the reason it’s so dense and no underground parking for the residents.

Kristina
Kristina
3 years ago

You guys so many of you don’t understand where this push is coming from. It’s from Brown. He is pushing hard “density” housing to try to lower rental costs. He is the one that is saying those in the neighborhood who don’t like it take a hike. It’s OUR government who is quietly changing zoning and promoting developers to come in. Brown even decreased required inner space and parking requirements to lower costs. Please understand where this comes from. Google “Governor Brown High density housing”. Much should come up. It’s happening all over no matter what the local neighborhood wants.… Read more »

Jaime Tree
3 years ago

Andy Milonakis just moved into a studio apartment there. They are very nice inside!

Gwen
Gwen
4 years ago

Hi my name is Gwen it would be nice to have a a bakery .West Hollywoo do not not have any good bakerys in the neighborhood

Lang
Lang
4 years ago

I live a block away and already the traffic is horrible. Over-development is turning West Hollywood into an ugly mess. The pats at SM and Poinsettia look ugly. Why not put up something in the Spanish Revival style instead of the disgusting no style that’s everywhere. Couldn’t afford it developers??? Or no taste- or just don’t give a damn about anything except your profit. Disappointment is an understatement. Plus- who the hell can afford to live in these places except wealthy?? I would like to know which bastards on the city council have been OKing these monstrosities. I suspect graft… Read more »

mandi rose
mandi rose
4 years ago

when do they open up for leasing?

Romanoff
Romanoff
6 years ago

@ Michael: lol. Yeah, open walkways, colorful cafes, wide pedestrian walkways is exactly like East Berlin. Your over dramatic statement just makes you appear foolish and closed minded.

Michael
Michael
6 years ago

The design is great? LOL Another dreadful Los Angeles building that is making the area look like East Berlin before the wall came down. As for the City Council of WEHO and Los Angeles, they could all sweep any awards on steerage taste and be nominated for first class political hacks that would sell their mothers to a developer. The area is now competing with Detroit as one of the most godawful places in the USA. Trucks, more trucks, fowl are and slimy lobbyists (all white men) ruining the area along with the developers (all white men)! Pathetic.

Romanoff
Romanoff
6 years ago

Voolavax: What exactly would the architects use as an example to be more cohesive with the neighborhood? – Stucco one or two-story stucco boxes housing irrelevant businesses? – Dingbat apartments that are probably going to collapse in the next big earthquake? There IS no West Hollywood “look”. Sure the old 20’s and 30’s buildings are cool, but they don’t exist on SMB (at least not on the east-side), they exist in our neighborhoods tucked back, which is what makes them so great. These projects are designed to bring people out to the street and shop in new businesses. Very soon,… Read more »

Todd Bianco
6 years ago

When the colors fade on these cookie cutter, unimaginative projects, all that is left is the architecture and there isn’t much to love about this project. But as one planning commissioner says – what did you expect? We don’t demand better in WeHo and our zoning codes don’t encourage better. The stop lights around this project barely manage the existing traffic let alone the number of trips that will materialize with hundreds of new residents and new/returned retail. The expansion of The Lot (a good source of jobs) has already strained the intersection of Formosa and Santa Monica Blvd. With… Read more »

Charlie
Charlie
6 years ago

Erik – there’s nice Ralphs right down the street on Fountain – all the brand names you could want – the attraction for all of us is that their products are unique.

luca d
luca d
6 years ago

wow, this is a big snooze. this project is cookie cutter architecture at it’s most unimaginative, and the most inspired reaction is about the re-installation of a grocery store?
as for affordable housing, really? that genie is out of the bottle and that was the plan, folks.
it’s about revenue to city hall for all of the counsel’s pet projects.
this development like all the most recent stacking of boxes in rainbow colors, is a bore.