‘Robertson Lane’ Proposes to Replace ‘The Factory’ on WeHo’s Westside

Rendering of Robertson Lane Hotel as seen from Robertson Boulevard. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)
Rendering of Robertson Lane Hotel as seen from Robertson Boulevard. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)

As West Hollywood turns 30, the question on the minds of many is whether the city can preserve its “urban village” charm while also continuing to add the businesses and housing necessary for any city to remain vibrant and economically viable.

Jason Illoulian believes the answer is “yes,” and he hopes to prove it with a project he is calling “Robertson Lane.”

Illoulian is a fourth generation real estate developer who lives in and grew up in West Hollywood. He says development is in his blood, recalling that his father began grooming him to take his place in the family company at the age of five.

“He walked me around and asked, ‘What do you like about this shopping center? This building’,” Illoulian recalls.

Illoulian studied international economics at Georgetown University and then took a master’s in real estate and urban development at Harvard University. At law school at Emory University he worked on a project with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Factory as seen from La Peer Drive

Now 31, Illoulian is embarking on what may be the most significant of his projects to date. Robertson Lane will replace the The Factory, the iconic nightclub building that sits between Robertson Boulevard and LaPeer Drive south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Once a real factory where motion picture cameras were manufactured, it was converted into a nightclub space in 1967.

The Factory was an early hit. Then it closed in 1972 but by 1975 was converted to Studio One, a venue that its owner described as “planned, designed and conceived for gay people, gay male people. Any straight people here are guests of the gay community. This is gay!” The building has housed numerous venues, including the “Axis” club that helped make Sandy Sachs a lesbian icon, and has served as home to nights such as “Rasputin” and “Ultra Suede.”  An effort to have it designated a cultural resource was rejected by the City Council in 1995.

Illoulian says Robertson Lane is a joint venture with the Goller family, which shares with the Illoulians a long history in West Hollywood.  Nate Goller, an attorney, is the husband of Phyllis Morris, founder of Phyllis Morris Originals and one of the more distinctive furniture designers from 1950 until her death in 1988. Their daughter, Jamie Adler, now runs Phyllis Morris with her husband Jonathan, and their flagship is situated next to the Factory.  Goller was a partner with Sandy Sachs in the Factory / Ultra Suede club that opened in the building in 2000.

Robertson Lane will replace the Factory nightclub space with a hotel with more than 250 rooms, underground parking with more than 1,000 spaces and a plethora of cafes and small retail spaces “curated,” Illoulian says, to ensure a variety of interesting shopping experiences. What he means by that, he said, is that he will reject retail tenants representing brands that have come to be seen as generic such as CVS and Target. As a model, Illoulian has Manhattan’s Ace Hotel in mind. That hotel is known as a downtown hipster hangout, with a lobby filled with cool geeks working on their laptops.

Rendering of the Robertson Lane Hotel swimming pool. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)
Rendering of the Robertson Lane Hotel swimming pool. (Architect Hodgetts + Fung)

Perhaps the most dramatic part of Illoulian’s project will be the 30- to 35-foot-wide lane through the property, providing a pedestrian walkway between Robertson Boulevard and LaPeer. Robertson now is a mix of upscale shops (Christian Louboutin, Phillip Lim and Phyllis Morris), restaurants (Sur, Tortilla Republic, Hedley’s) and nightclubs (The Abbey, Here Lounge, P.U.M.P). By contrast, LaPeer is pretty much desolate. With the proposed walkway, people walking on LaPeer will get a visual invitation to cross over to Robertson, and perhaps to West Hollywood Park, which the project fronts. And those on Robertson will be able to easily walk to LaPeer.

Illoulian said that passageway, expensive for him because it will take up what could have been leasable retail space, will provide a crucial connection between several areas of West Hollywood. He notes that WeHo, while a geographically small city, nevertheless is composed of separate hubs such as the Sunset Strip, Melrose Place and Robertson Boulevard that aren’t connected. Just east of West Hollywood Park, which Robertson Lane fronts, is the Pacific Design Center and the MTA’s bus depot, which PDC owner Charles Cohen is negotiating a proposal to turn into a shopping plaza.

Rendering of the proposed Melrose Triangle Gateway building (Architect Studio One Eleven)
Rendering of the proposed Melrose Triangle Gateway building (Architect Studio One Eleven)

Just west of LaPeer and stretching to Doheny is the proposed Melrose Triangle Project, a project of the Charles Company. While Beverly Hills has those iconic signs alerting a driver that he has entered that city’s limits, the Melrose Triangle project on the Beverly Hills / WeHo border intends to shout out West Hollywood with four stories covered by glass panels that will glow at night. The pedestrian walkway through Robertson Lane will make it easier to walk west through Melrose Triangle toward Doheny with little exposure to cars. A proposal to demolish a Streamline Moderne building from 1928 for the project has drawn the ire of local preservationists.

“It becomes a beacon of entry into the city,” Alan Pullman, founder of Studio One Eleven, the designer of Melrose Triangle, said of its ‘gateway’ building facing Beverly Hills.

Illoulian engaged Hodgetts + Fung as the architect for the Robertson Lane project. Craig Hodgetts, co-founder of H+F with HsinMing Fung, has a broad background that extends from automotive design to theater to architecture. Hodgetts is a professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning and was founding dean of the School of Design at the California Institute of the Arts. Hodgetts’s firm was involved in the six-year modernization of the Hollywood Bowl. An especially creative project was the Towell Library at UCLA. Towell (Temporary Powell Staging Facility), was a tension structure for the library erected while the Powell Library was secured against earthquake damage. Boldly asymmetrical, with a skeleton like that of a plane, the Towell’s aluminum ribs were covered with a stretched-fiberglass membrane that was in turn anchored with laced cables to surrounding masonry walls.Hodgetts praised Illoulian as that rare client who puts a premium on aesthetics.

H + F also is working on a multi-use building that will be constructed on Sunset Boulevard north of La Cienega as part of one of the largest developments in West Hollywood’s history.

Illoulian is aware that his project, like any that have been proposed or are under development in West Hollywood, will be criticized by some residents for creating more traffic in an already congested city. But he notes that it will include that underground parking garage, and that the goal of Robertson Lane actually is to make traversing the city on foot easier and more desirable.

In recent months Illoulian has reached out to businesspeople and residents near the project, inviting them to meetings where he shows the plans and answers their questions one on one, looking at home and remarkably casual in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. At a recent presentation at Phyllis Morris Originals on Robertson Boulevard, Illoulian took questions from an apparently skeptical resident, offering his reasoning for various aspects of the plan and thanking her for her input. Her skeptical face softened as he talked.

The next step in the project is to take it before the city’s Design Review Subcommittee. Illoulian has been consulting along the way with many city leaders, including Mayor John D’Amico, who he credits with convincing him to straighten the passageway through Robertson Lane so that passersby can look directly through it. After the design review, the project goes to the Planning Commission before a final vote by the City Council.

Rendering of 8818 Beverly Blvd. (Architect R&A Design)
Rendering of 8818 Beverly Blvd. (Architect R&A Design)

While perhaps the most noteworthy, Robertson Lane isn’t Illoulian’s only West Hollywood project. The city’s Community Development Department currently is reviewing a building that Illoulian’s Faring Capital has proposed for 8818 Beverly Blvd. at North Clark Drive.

On a lot that currently houses Poliform, the furniture retailer, it would be five stories high. The building would include 9,000 square feet of retail space and a 2,000-square-foot restaurant on the first floor. The restaurant will include a small outdoor dining area, which Illoulian says will help meet his goal to make Beverly more pedestrian friendly. The retail shops will be among the smallest on that stretch of Beverly and, as is the case with the Robertson Lane project, Illoulian said he hopes to attract a very diverse mix of retailers.

The second and third floors will include 26,000 square feet of office space. Illoulian said he sees a growing demand for more office space in West Hollywood, especially given plans by Beverly Hills developer Tyler Siegel to convert much of the office space in the former ICM building at 8899 Beverly Blvd. into residential units.

The 8818 Beverly project will contain 10 residential units with a combined total of 25,000 square feet on the fourth and fifth floors. The building also will feature a courtyard.

The architect is R&A (Robert & Anderson Design), whose principals are Christian Robert and Benjamin Anderson. Robert is a native of Germany, and the firm is licensed to practice there and in the United States. In West Hollywood it has designed the Fairfax Apartments at 1250 Fairfax Ave. south of Fountain, which has been approved by the city’s Planning Commission.

City planners also are reviewing a plan by Faring Capital to build 50 condos at 702 Doheny Dr. at Harland on land now occupied by two single-family houses and also used for the annual Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch Halloween festival and the Mr. Greentrees Christmas tree lot.

According to the West Hollywood Community Development Department, that project would encompass 93,000 square feet. The property formerly was owned by Heidi Corteses’s Doheny LLC. The owners of the Mr. Bones business said last year that they are looking for a new location for this year’s Halloween event, given the property owner’s intention to develop the site.

CORRECTION:  A previous version of this story said that The Factory had been designated as a cultural resource by the West Hollywood City Council in 1995.  In fact, the Council declined to designate it as such.  The story has been updated to correct the error.

Rendering of 8818 Beverly Blvd. (Architect R&A Design)
Rendering of 8818 Beverly Blvd. (Architect R&A Design)

  1. I am sorry, I am late to this discussion. I just recently heard about this project and attended the EIR meeting. My question is why is reuse of The Factory building not a consideration? It could be a perfect compromise. I have driven by the building a number of times recently and because of the size it has great potential. Creative reuse of the structure could solve a lot of problems at the same time being enviromentally friendly and preserving history.

    *JJ architectural significance is not only defined by esthetics it can also involve character which this building has. And regarding “a picture in a book” Thanks for the suggestion but there are tons of photo books available now that illustrate magnificent architecture in the Hollywood that have been lost due to poor planing and absence of long term vision.
    I prefer to see actual buildings that were preserved like The Palladium, The Broadway building and Bullocks Wilshire – but Thank You for the suggestion.

    We may not know what the future holds for The Factory building but we do know with absolute certainty that it IS West Hollywood history from its days related to the film industry to its Iconic status as one of the largest Gay Disco’s in the United States.
    Are we willing to allow that history to be demolished? The homosexual community doesn’t have many architectural landmarks that illustrate our past.
    Was dancing at a packed “Studio 1” to Sylvester on Saturday night or watching Bernadette Peters perform live at the Back Lot relevant? Yes. Because it is part of our history as a group. We have grown,things have changed, we came out, we danced,we battled disease and now we can marry.
    This building should be preserved as part of our history.
    Please tell your friends to support reuse of The Factory as an alternative to demolition and preserve West Hollywood.

    Thank You

    1. This is an old factory we are talking about. There is no architectural significance to this structure. At. All. There is only emotional significance and that alone does not deem an old dump of a building worthy of keeping it around forever. It has long out lived its purpose. Let it go.

  2. Sadly this will happen. I have read a lot of post and I am saddened by the way we look at West Hollywood. This project is simply because it is on Robertson Blvd next to Beverly Hills. Just like most Gay neighborhoods. Once we make it pretty and our own when no one would make us feel safe in their neighborhood. They want it back. West Hollywood is no longer a Gay community in my opinion. It is gay friendly. It is a time and culture gone and yes we will move on. I am so happy I was able to experience the true West Hollywood in all it’s glory before Beverly Hills did. Sadly look at what they did to their Sunset Blvd.

  3. This article starts by talking about businesses and housing then goes on a lengthy verbal bj of the developer and his plans to build this hotel. I don’t like when purported “news” stories are actually press releases. It makes me distrust the source and also doubt whatever it is I am reading about.
    There is a desperate need for AFFORDABLE housing for older GLBT people. If the “gay city” has decided to simply sell itself for the thirty pieces of silver it can get then so be it but the residents of WeHo need to accept that their city is becoming yet another characterless blob of poor design wrapped in glass. There is a desperate need for AFFORDABLE housing by younger GLBT people who work in our Starbucks, Hamburger Mary’s, etc. The city of WeHo isn’t really a city and hasn’t been one for a long time. It is a REIT for developers and place for a few connected people to fill their own pockets while they destroy the very city they claim to represent.

  4. You should have been at tonight’s city council meeting when one of the city staff had the nerve to say the Melrose Triangle project will have no impact on surrounding street traffic. There was a loud groan and uncomfortable laughter in the room. It sounded like the staff were on the payroll of Charles Co. There wasn’t one issue coming from them.

  5. If we want a gay establishment in the place of the Factory (please no more nightlife or eateries), maybe the Axel Group can put one of their “hetero friendly” – as they call it, but basically pretty much a gay hotel there, like they have in Barcelona, Berlin and Buenos Aires. Love the design of the proposed site, but after this and the proposed Melrose Triangle, it does need to stop with the over-development of West Hollywood.

    1. Please people. The City Council can’t dictate to potential new businesses that they must be gay any more than they can tell them they must be straight. Geez. The market will dictate what survives at any given location.

  6. YOU WANT TO PUT A HOTEL RIGHT THERE? That is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard. Maybe another eatery or little nightlife spot, but a hotel? There? Puhleeeez…

  7. Just so I’m clear, they’re getting rid of a gay establishment for an establishment for straight people in West Hollywood, an Official gay city? How about turn it into another establishment that caters to gay people. This is Weho after all, a city built for gay people. I’m so tired of people saying “gay people are more accepted in society, now lets tear down their establishments and make their place conform to people other than themselves.”

  8. For once, I actually like the Robertson Lane proposal. It’s not on a front thoroughfare street, although it certainly abuts it, but is not on actually ON SMB or Melrose like so many of the other projects this city is building is.

    But as for many of the other projects, I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Anyone who uses the word “quaint” to describe West Hollywood anymore is either a LIAR, and THIEF, or a DEVELOPER.


    No “Welcome Melrose Triangle” from Beverly Hills. We are ALREADY more overly-developed than our much hyped neighbor.

    NO to a shopping center by the PDC.

    It ISN’T the traffic. It isn’t the design of the new buildings. It isn’t the infrastructure that goes into supporting these monstrocities (Red PDC building anyone? — that building is a MONSTROUS eyesore that belongs on a waterfront, not in the middle of an urban city.)

    It IS that we are pricing ourselves out of our own city. Will the city council not be happy until the cheapest SINGLE goes for $3000 and a ONE BEDROOM goes for $5000? Or that a square foot of land is worth over $100K?

    And fine, so everyone who owns property makes megabucks, and all the current residents have to leave and cash registers are ringing from La Brea to Doheny, and THEN all the wealthy people (because they can) decide WeHo isn’t so hot anymore and leave for the next hot spot, and WeHo which at once time meant more than just money is on a downward death spiral toward urban decay.

    We’re SUPPOSED to have a Planning Commission that meant something, now all they are is a green light to developers.

    I certainly hope that after the 2015 election, the Planning Commission is THROWN OUT and replaced by people who care more about our city and its residents than developers!

  9. Sometimes I can appreciate that I talk and now write too much But lets look at this design which I do love, really, and ask one planning question at a time…

    If you design a walkway with pedestrian traffic from it and other areas of the city and dump it mid block across from a park whats gonna happen ?

    Fyi this is actually an idea from one of our city leaders that the developer accepted and changed since when does that one member speak for the good of us all alone ?

    oops thats two questions

    Lets see if anyone from the city is paying attention including the council member that asked for the pedestrian highway to be wider and straightened and enlighten us to their vision.

  10. @Jonathan: many of the remarks and questions you throw out on this site regarding multiple projects seem to be appropriate at Design Review where you can actually see what is intended, speak with the architect and share some if your insight w the commissioners and staff. Being part of a solution seems more productive than bashing whoever you deem to be at fault. Hope you will attend the upcoming DR.

    1. Lynn

      Thank you … But I don not understand why my asking questions or hoping the DRB does is bashing ? These are clear development items that clearly are not being discussed and major projects are being approved with common sense mistakes because they look like “jewel boxes” Thats silly

      I clearly do not believe that the DRB or the Architect Have any interest in discussing these items with me and its really not my place.
      I am not a paid Architect and not making the high 5 or 6 figure income some of our staff are making and doing so without our best interest at heart. Is that bashing or fact ?
      I have already volunteered many years of my life to deal with issues such as these both state wide and locally.

      Im gleaming from some of the reaction to my questions its best to say and do nothing and let our elected leaders and staff make the decisions for us. The leaders say they do what they see fit or what is best needed in their open over a years worth of coffee meetings and others here have said we elected them to do it ,so deal with it .

      If any of my questions make any sense lets see them respond in the media.

      Heres an idea What about an article that has a list of questions from other commentors as well as myself and have the city answer them here. Have you ever seen one speak out here and say one of my comments may or may not be true ?
      Maybe they are not reading the community input here ? hmmmm

  11. I don’t think the gay community really goes and dances there anymore, at nights when I have been on Robertson for dinner it looks like lines of straight people from far away (not weho crowd AT ALL) that are there for promotions on the few nights that club (which is kinda ugly- rite?) is even open. I heard there has been gun violence there and a lot of shady stuff so I avoid going near it at night. I would like to hang out in a cool hotel and bring my friends or better yet have out of town guests get to stay IN Wehp and not need a car- u can walk everywhere from there! The only other hotel you can really say that about is the Ramada 🙁

  12. Two things that are brushed over in this article:

    “A proposal to demolish a Streamline Moderne building from 1928 for the project has drawn the ire of local preservationists.” — 9080 Santa Monica Blvd is a 1938 Wurdeman and Becket designed early masterwork of Streamline Moderne design, and it is eligible for California Register of Historic Places.

    “In 1995 the building, while architecturally undistinguished, was designated a local cultural resource by the West Hollywood City Council because of its past.”

    Designated Cultural Resources, by WH City rules, cannot be demolished without a special review process.

    Also, I’d like all the people and businesses that are lined up to fill these things. And you can bet if this developer cannot find high-end retail tenants, then hello Walgreens!

  13. @David Keesey. I moved here in 1978 from Michigan. Studio One, for me, was paradise. Some of the acts I caught were: Anita O’Day, Wayland Flowers & Madame and Charles Pierce.
    Now, what saddens me is that West Hollywood is loosing its “Gayness”. But that’s progress, of sorts. It’s a fact of life that most of the young people coming out here to Southern California don’t want to live in the suburbs. They want to live in the “city” and don’t care if their neighbors are Gay. I will say that the city is going to have to do some serious thoughts on traffic management in regards to SMB, Robertson, Sunset, Melrose. The proposed developments that will eventually get built are going to make driving in this area a real pain. Much more so than now.

  14. Where are suppose to dance? Where are we suppose to feel like a community? What about us? 99.9909% of Los Angeles is for our straight friends to live, love and play. Why is the city council allowing for any semblance of our village / community to be stripped away only to be replaced with more straight businesses. WTF is happening here? Seriously. It’s time to move the village vibe East. Cause the westside is certainly no different than BH or SM. I know West Hollywood is a community for all but, for f*ck sakes. Can’t we just have and keep our pidly few blocks of gay businesses and entertainment. I don’t ask much from you WeHo City Council. Just please stop it already. Just stop it before there’s nothing left but a meaningless rainbow flag blowing in the wind atop your worthless and pointless Hall.

    1. @ Brian.. I too miss the “totally gay” establishments. The gay community has fought for acceptance by the straight community for years….now we have it (for the most part). Now straights don’t mind partying with gays..even in our “own” places. The City Council can’t prohibit straight businesses (not that anything in the article suggest they will be…could be a gay hotel!). Anyway, we fought for inclusion all these years, now we have it. We can’t keep “them” out anymore than they can keep “us” out. The times are a changin’. Los Angeles (and West Hollywood) is growing up…that’s because after years of growing out…the only way now is up. The denser we become, the less need for a car. Our subway is growing (however slowly) and West Hollywood will be only a short distance from the San Vicente/Wilshire stop and from there you can go to downtown, the airport or the beach (eventually). The City has the City Line which takes people (for free) pretty much all over WeHo. Taking this old dumping factory and surface parking lot and transforming it into a vibrant, tax revenue making property (that supports City services like the City Line), and adding tons of parking, will bring good things to the area!

  15. I love the design of this project. It is stepped, seems to be in scale, extra parking being added,a hotel that brings visitors and money to the city THAT SAID

    Since when is La Peer a pedestrian zone ?
    Should we leave some space for light industrial or warehouse for things like small music or film or internet studios.
    How many people walking through the new pedestrian corridor will actually walk to the light to cross ? Or just j walk to the park or abbey ?
    How many people will actually walk to the light to cross ?
    Does this mean another pedestrian crosswalk only feet from an intersection?
    If You encourage pedestrian uses/developments onto feeder and side streets does that mean it will leave where it is intended on SMB.
    Can the sidewalks absorb all the extra foot traffic created here or should they be wider ?
    (You can not even get by the abbey and people step into the street now. ADA compliant ?)
    Will there be vehicle ingress egress onto Robertson? There should not be any as it can all flow on La Peer. Robertson is already at gridlock.
    Even if we had to provide developer incentives can the historic structure be saved and worked around ?
    Is everything in weho going to be retail ?

    These are just some of the basic questions that can be asked and still have a new project especially from a developer that seems to be open to quality and change to maximize his investment.

    Why aren’t our paid staff asking similar questions ? To get the best out of projects being proposed.

    I am not saying to not develop but by god can we have a staff, planning , and council that have even a clue? NOTHING is not an option for growth but THE BEST IS other cities are doing it every day.

    If I read correctly in a previous article it was one of the council members that met and asked him to change the corridor so it was straight and wider.

    1. Jonathan – there you go again, bashing City Hall. No project can be built without adhering to ADA requirements, that’s the law. An EIR must be done. Traffic flow will be studied. The Design Review Committee has to approve the project, then the Planning Comission then the City Council. Once it’s approved (and I hope it will) then Buiding and Safety will ensure the project meets all ADA requirements. So your hash words for our City employees regarding this project are unfounded – premature to say the very least. I noticed you said the same things about the Melrose Triangle Project. Do you say the same thing about every proposed development? Le Peer is currently a dead zone. Plans are in the works to change that and with the Melrsoe Triangle Peoject, the propsed pedestrians walk way will connect the three areas together, creating a little village within our urban village.

      1. My JJ I denote some anger. This is not for us to be angry at each other or the city or developers but to comment.

        Why does my hope for better bother you ?

        My first line …I love this project
        Melrose Triangle …I said I love the design of this project

        If all of these things you state have to be done after Why not try before ? If after why do members of the city consult with developers in private to ask for design concessions ? Why are they not meeting with community groups first like the melrose triangle did ? Why doesn’t the city require this like others have ? Wouldn’t it be easier to be proactive rather than always having to react to some surprise ? Why does our city always seem to give the developers concessions that we need like parking ?
        Why have staff in planning worked for so many different citys before ?
        Why do they always seem to be on the side of the developer ?
        When was the last quote or question you saw that looked out for our best interest as a whole?

        The only development I have really seen fought aggressively by the city was the tower records project and that happens to be down the street from one of the planning members home. That project in size and scope did not even come close to what is being approved in our city now. Why is that ?

        Are we not to try to expect more ? Are we not to try to make the city the best it can be ? Are we not to expect the best from our employees ? Cant we be proactive with the developers so everyone wins ?

        How is our city doing for us now ? “Beautiful jewel boxes” and striping levels of parking because of water ? How many employees of stores park on your street because they have no where else ? How much business have you lost because of the negative P.R. of our parking meter system ? Are you happy with the new tin roofed box that used to be a cottage mid block by Hancock and gym bar ? How does a building get torn down and almost doubled in size and use without any approvals and no increase in parking ?
        How many people do you talk to that are unhappy about whats going on ?

        Do I ever ask for anything personally but what may be better for the city ?
        Do I ever say build nothing ?
        Does any of this benefit me directly ?

        No other than that I have always wanted to live here and do as have many only to see the ideas of very few changing it for everyone. We can have both the new and the old its done all over the world just not here.

        When was the last time you tried to walk past the abbey, or even fiesta cantina at night ? Is this ADA compliant ? And it was approved by the city and the city is profiting from the space.

        The sidewalks were widened for pedestrians and cafes not just for the city to profit on renting the sidewalks after they were complete and then only to rent them all the way back to the same size or smaller than they were before ?

        Is everything about money ? Oh yes we have reserves not just because of development.
        What good are reserves if you have to fight or someone has to create a citizens committee to pay for safe sidewalks so people don’t die ?

        It is interesting that not once has anyone attempted to answer any question of mine dumb or not.
        I challenge any city planner, staff, council member, or our new mayor, or even a writer for this site to look into any of the questions and find answers ?

        I am not a developer, Not running for council, don’t own a business on SMB and this project is not in my back yard I JUST CARE WHAT HAPPENS Sorry JJ

        1. Jonathan,

          I don’t know what you read as anger in my comment, but I have no anger towards you. I just don’t think you understand how the process works.

          You can’t put the cart before the horse. There is a process every project goest through. I know you said in your first line that “You love this project” but then you go on this rant about the design, the city, etc. etc. There is *always* give and take with any development. I’m a designer, I have to take what is given, propose something new and then adjust as the design process goes along….that’s how it works. And may I add that design is subjective as with art. Some people with love it, some will hate it. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

          This project will add tons of new parking (so that’s not an issue). With this particular project, the developer has met with businesses and residents in the area (read the article above) and probably will continue to do so (perhaps you can get on the mailing list).

          You talk about the old “Lemon Tree Bungalow” that was on Santa Monica Blvd. next to TLC vet. That was a shack that didn’t even have a proper roof! They remodeled and enclosed the space (with a new roof), there was no expansion/doubling of the space. It sits in the same footprint as before. They had to get permits from the City to do the work they did. So I’m not sure what you’re upset about there (unless you just don’t like the way it looks now).

          As far as the few making changes for everyone. Do you understand that the City Council is elected to do the work for the many. That’s how it works. This City – probably more than any other city – asks for community input on almost every major development. There is never a time when you don’t have a chance to voice your concerns or ideas. But the City Council is elected by the people to get the City’s work done. That’s what they do.

          I’m not sure you know what ADA compliant means. All new construction is ADA compliant. I have been to the Abbey, they are ADA compliant – in every way. I can’t comment about Fiesta Cantina as I have not been there in a very long while.

          EVERY new project has to meet ADA requirements…it’s law. So I’m not sure why you go on and on about that particular issue.

          Yes, the sidewalks were widened in an effort to have outdoor dining available. And YES, the City was to make some money off the permits that were/are issued to allow businesses to use part of the sidewalk for outdoor dining. That’s how the City makes money to keep us in the black (one of the few cities that had a positive cash flow during the latest economic downturn). Permits are required in most (if not all) cities for this type of concession. They space allowed for outdoor dining might be as wide as the old sidewalk….that’s why they were increased to allow both dining and pedestrians. It’s pretty balanced and provides adequate spacing for both needs.

          The sidewalks are safe. It’s drivers and pedestrians not paying attention that puts lives at risk.

          I think I’ve addressed all your issues.

          Have a wonderful weekend.

        2. For those that think this old, dumpy factory- and it was a factory- should be saved..

          yes, it has a history here in West Hollywood and played a very big roll in gay culture back in the day (and thus deemed a historical resource), and there is a big sense of sentimentality towards the building (I myself danced away many a Saturday night there)… Take a picture, put it in a book and let’s move on. There is nothing architecturally significant about this building. Period.

          And with regards to the building at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd – while it might be eligible for California Register of Historic Places, NO ONE had done anything to make this happen in the 10+ years this project has been proposed and bounced around. ONLY NOW that it has gotten approval from the Design Review Committee and then the Planning Commission has a vocal few come forward with all the drama to try and save this old Dog and Cat Vet facility.

          Please. This building might be a good example of Streamline Moderne architecture designed by a distinguished architect, it has not been kept up and is not an iconic building. And there are laws on the books that prevent a group from trying to stop a project once plans have been submitted.

          So, if they were that concerned about saving this building, they should have been proactive years ago.

          And for the love of GOD – to all those vocal few who want to save every damn building because it’s old – please go around and take stock now of anything you want to save and get it registered so we don’t go through this again!

          (side note: the developer did look at trying to incorporate the 9080 SM Blvd building into the new design but due to is position within the property, it could not be done…).

          Let’s get that gateway redone to give ourselves a proper and fitting entrance to the western end of our City!

          1. JJ This is almost as fun as dancing on a friday night. I promise a smile and handshake for you Im sure we both want the same thing for the city just in slightly different ways.

            The anger…. Why are you so concerned that I push for better from staff ?
            I too am a design build contractor by trade for over 30 years. I am also a past plan review board president for over 6 years of the single longest commercial corridor in the country.

            I lived my life and ran my business by “don’t tell me no tell me how” anything is possible JJ if we just try harder and sometimes think outside the box

            Yes you can meet before we did it.
            Yes neighbors can have a say before we divided 17 miles into 6 community specific powerless boards yet still with the help of city planning developers knew they had to go to them first before their project would be seen.
            What they want in east Weho is not the same we may want here and the needs and concerns and traffic patterns different.
            I was told by the nay sayers the most outspoken of community activists many times that things were impossible yet we got many things done in a positive way.

            Also every city has a general plan that should be followed.
            We even have a mission statement here Have you read it ?

            What happens when every other property owner wants the same mass for his or her property thats what planning is all about.

            100% agree not everyone will always be happy but we as citizens can always expect the best from our city.
            Santa monica does Santa Barbara does They have huge projects that interface well.

            Lemon Tree bungalow was a cottage and an out side awning bootlegged into a store. The reason its now a metal roof ? trickery!! still an “awning” come on even you know that.
            Its my understanding its going to be for dog boarding thats great until the first hail storm and all the dogs freek out ( ok thats a little bit of a joke )

            Are you really happy with the new design ? Could it have been better ? Have you seen the step into the new front door ? And how is this remodel ADA compliant ? What about all the handycappable dogs with hip problems that try and frequent this establishment ?
            ( remember just a little comedy here and there )
            By the way this is now triple the actual under roof sf with no parking change.

            The building I have asked about before is actually 8625 SMB this was a dump before
            But it was demolished without permits ..he was sited.. then a third floor added with no increase in parking and the renderings were not even show until after it was built.

            I have asked about this many times.

            I am well aware of the power of ADA in design both pro and con I can tell you story after story about how it was both a blessing and a curse for many a project. One store here locally was asked by our city to cut their sink down by 1″ because it did not meet code.
            He was also previously advised by city staff that his project would run smoother if he hired the recommended consultants hmmmmm ?
            My comments before about ADA are not always the interior but how does someone safely pass the sidewalks?
            Who will be sued when someone steps out in the street drunk or other wise in front of either location and gets hit ? How does someone who is handicapped get by now ?

            Could they have maybe left a little more space or require the establishment to line up inside the rail. The space here is no more maybe even less than what the widths were before.

            This is just one reason to be proactive and fight for better.

            Not really my issues just questions and less for you and I but the city.

            Gotta go ordered chinese and its HERE YAYYYY

  16. The West Hollywood City Council doesn’t care about traffic, as long as the developers pony up with the $$$, that’s enough for them. How long, I wonder until they decide that a “prestigious” city such as WeHo needs a new city hall (complete with its own robo-garage).

  17. I agree, Jim. Here we have another big development and still no new PLANS for PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION! WeHO has no streetcars, no light rail, no subways. Every new shopping center and apartment building brings thousands more cars to the area, clogging the streets with automobile traffic. Why is this essential component of urban planning an afterthought? or none at all?!

  18. This gargantuan develop-mess should add another 25,000 cars daily onto our already crowded streets. Why do people keep electing these crooked council members? All they see is development money. Once this city looks completely like Disneyland they’ll retire to France.

  19. Oh the memories of Studio One, lights, camera, action! 1976 when Disco was hot and Studio One was the place to be. So many celebrities mingling with the gays. NO OPEN TOES SHOES! Artists singing their new #1 hit up in the D.J. booth. The Backlot where I saw Charles Pierce, Sally Kellerman, Liza Minnelli, Eartha Kitt, Jane Olivor, Wayland Flowers & Madame, and so many more. Here’s some of the history http://www.discomusic.com/clubs-more/6800_0_6_0_C/ God speed my buidling full of wonderful memories. Another one bites the dust!

  20. OH, Thank GOD! Another dump torn down to be replaced by an exciting new development. And one can only hope and pray that the Hamburger shack on the corner of Robertson and SM Blvd. is next!

  21. Given the architect Craig Hodgett’s high praise for Mr. Illoulian’s premium emphasis on aesthetics, it would be helpful if Mr. Illoulian or Wehoville could provide a list of the four generations of family related projects. It would be fair for the community to be informed as well as actually see examples of their efforts.

  22. @Lester I think you’re right – there is absolutely nothing special about The Factory building and I can’t see a case for saving it. The good old “disco days” are long gone in favor of a few large promoted events each year. The old surface parking lot needs to go and I think a large parking structure within Robertson Lane closer to the clubs, restaurants and Santa Monica Blvd. would be more useful to all the surrounding businesses rather than the PDC or the Library structure.

    @TimF Unfortunately, I think you’re right. All the smaller, gay-specific, gay-owned businesses will be forced out as rents are pushed ever higher and more blocks of 1- & 2-story older structures get demolished and redeveloped. Unless the City gets serious about specific zoning requirements, reduced height, density, etc., I don’t know how permits could be denied to any owners/developers who hold a sufficient number of parcels in order to make a large project feasible. I can’t see how much longer the block of SMB that includes Hamburger Habit will withstand the clutches of a greedy developer. And if Robertson Lane is built, how much longer would Bossa Nova’s landlord be able to resist the Siren’s call of large development dollars?

    From the sample renderings, I think the Robertson Lane Project looks pretty good. I like the idea of a pedestrian-only “lane” connecting the streets. If it can revitalize LaPeer, that would be a good thing and it seems to dovetail with the Melrose Triangle project. How it fits, in general, into the massive number of projects either proposed, in planning, under construction or nearly finished in West Hollywood is a bigger question. Our civic leaders have been silent on the “big picture” issues. Those mag-lev personal transportation pods are sounding better every day.

  23. @TimF, very true and a shame……But I say only 5 years. Many other properties around that area will look to redevelop. I’d be curious to know how long the lease is for Pump and Cooley’s.

    This developer’s foray into single family homes is not one that I’ve admired. I hope the creative team around this project will be more thoughtful.

  24. The gay nightlife in Boystown will be gone within 10 years, priced out of the market, just as has happened in Chelsea and South Beach.

  25. The reason this building isn’t being repurposed is because it looks like a barn – and not even a quaint one – a soulless, useless windowless slab surrounded by an anti-urban and pedestrian unfriendly parking lot. This same description (sans “barn) can be said about most of the commercial buildings in our city – that they are architecturally meritless placeholders with zero historical value waiting for a better vision.

    And yes, I imagine many of the guests of this hotel will be seeking out thw location due to its proximity to nightlife. Not everyone comes to the second largest city in America for peace and quiet.

  26. Has West Hollywood or it’s Council members ever heard of the word re-purpose? Why is everything in this City torn down only to build new, out of scale properties that suck the charm and character out of our neighborhood.

  27. Hope everyone staying at this proposed hotel won’t mind the bumping beats of the Abbey until 2am every night!

  28. At this point, the most historical building in West Hollywood will be Hamburger Haven. But I’m sure that corner is going to be bulldozed in 3, 2, 1…..

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