The developers of the proposed project at 8899 Beverly Blvd. have backed away from a proposed “poor door” policy that would deny low-income tenants of apartments at the building access to a swimming pool proposed for condo owners.
News about the plan to segregate low-income tenants has prompted even more controversy over the already controversial project. KPCC, the local public radio station, featured a discussion with Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, on the trend toward segregating low-income tenants from wealthier ones on its AirTalk program today. That trend has sparked heated discussion in cities such as New York and London, with politicians there vowing to oppose it.
In a statement today from its public relations firm, the developer, Beverly Blvd. Associates, said:
“We have worked tirelessly over the last several years to craft a project that provides an extraordinary public benefit by building significantly more affordable housing units than would otherwise be required for a project this size.
“The City of West Hollywood previously recommended comparable amenities, which we had agreed to. If the City now feels that shared amenities and access best meet the needs of the residents of the affordable housing units, we are more than willing to accept those conditions of the project.
“We look forward to continuing conversations with the City of West Hollywood, affordable housing advocates and our neighbors to make this housing a reality.”
Beverly Blvd. Associates is a partnership of Townscape Partners of Beverly Hills and Angelo Gordon & Co. of New York City. The West Hollywood Planning Commission is scheduled to consider its request for exceptions to zoning laws for the area where the building sits at a hearing tomorrow night.
The developer wants to nearly double the existing 90,000-square-foot building, which is ten stories high and formerly housed the ICM talent agency. The developer proposes to add wings on the north, east and west sides of the building, convert the existing office space to 55 condominiums and convert a third-floor parking garage to offices and 10 apartments for low-income people.
The developer also had proposed building an underground parking garage beneath the current surface parking lot behind the building on Rosewood Avenue. On top of that underground parking garage it had proposed 13 townhouses opening onto Rosewood, a recreation center with an indoor pool and a building containing four apartments for low-income renters.
The revised plan that the Planning Commission will consider Thursday calls for construction on Rosewood of nine single-family houses rather than the townhouses proposed earlier, a building containing seven apartments for low-income renters and an outdoor pool not accessible to them atop the recreation building. Replacing the townhouses with single-family homes addresses concerns raised by some residents of the neighborhood on the other side of Rosewood, which is largely composed of single-family homes. They had objected that the townhouses were out of character with their neighborhood.
The developer also is now proposing to make the apartments for low-income renters smaller in size. That addresses an earlier concern by city planners that the relatively large size of the units proposed earlier would make it unfeasible economically to continue to rent them for less than the market rate. And the developer has agreed to pay $1 million into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust fund in lieu of building another three apartments for very-low-income renters.
The Planning Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente, south of Santa Monica Boulevard.