8899 Beverly Developer Backs Away from Controversial ‘Poor Door’ Proposal

8899 Beverly Blvd., townscape partners
Rendering of proposed redesign of 8899 Beverly Blvd.

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.


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deb
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deb

I was looking at an apt until I found out 20% of the units are for low income. Here are the facts: (1) I would be paying 3x the rent compared to low income tenants. Tax payers will pay for the difference between “market rate” and rent from low income tenants. (2) To qualify for low income, you can’t make more than 25 k a year ($12 an hour). (3) Developers get a “tax cuts” (or a penalty). I decided to rent somewhere else. Why should I have to pay more rent to subsidize other people’s rent so they can… Read more »

JESS K
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JESS K

I am astounded this ‘poor door’ and/or restrictive use for ANY tenant go past ANYONE at City Hall. So much for the supposed mindset that we are all EQUAL!!! If West Hollywood is going to Talk the Talk, then “CityStaff and City Counsel” need to Walk the Walk. BUT OH! that does not agree with their owning overpriced luxury homes and cars does it!? Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year WeHo becomes a little more homogenized. No longer true to the values on which WeHo was founded.

Brandon
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Brandon

The weho city council is COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL!!! They are hell bent on squashing all charm and character from the city of West Hollywood to make it some horrible pedestrian conveyer belted utopia. There are so many corrupt (not to mention hideously ugly) mass housing projects going up everywhere in Weho with absolutely no consideration of Enviromental impact studies. I’m totally over this place. It’s gross. Even the single family home developers are building those huge white modern cookie cutter houses that either have a Mediterranean style or a super modern style. They wouldn’t be so horrible if they… Read more »

Todd Bianco
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I agree with Lauren. That building is a wonderful Mid-Century design and could be adapted just as it sits, without any special allowances or zoning changes. Those balconies make it highly desirable. The $1 million from the developer almost seems like a paltry bribe given the size and scope of the project. The green buffer zone on Rosewood would make a terrific pocket or (gasp) off-leash dog park. I like the characterization of the project as “misuse” and “abuse” of the affordable housing laws. Call it what it really is.

Larry Block
Guest

It’s called ‘adaptive abuse’ with too many friendly parties with long ties to the city doing the bidding.

meister4weho
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meister4weho

There are still some very serious land use issues, which must be considered by Planning Commission tonight. The proposed project seeks to: (1) double the size of the 8899 Beverly building, which is already double the size of what’s allowed on Beverly, a low-rise commercial zone, (2) build large, out-of-scale single family houses on Rosewood – houses that are 35% larger than what is allowed in an R1B low density residential zone, (3) take away a “landscaped buffer” (green space) on Rosewood, which was a condition of the original approval of the 8899 Beverly Blvd. building, (4) offer the city… Read more »

Alison
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Alison

This developer sent a flyer to me, on the East side, requesting I come to a meeting and support this development. It was marked Occupant. So he is carpet bombing the East side looking for support from people who most likely have no idea what is going on with this project. That’s low. Also, there is a difference between Affordable housing and Low Income housing. I feel it is being used interchangeably when talking about this project. Am I getting this straight? The SFR’s will be Affordable Housing and the apartment he doesn’t want to build Low Income?

jonathan
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jonathan

If you read and believe the quote from the developer…. “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.” Readers/ citizens !! The problem is not always the developers but the ridiculous actions of our planning and council making suggestions to projects and design. We need a new council and new staff that will not make stupid self-serving recommendations such as… Read more »

Todd Bianco
Guest

So there is some value to public shaming of this developer.

That said, if they are willing to throw $1 million in lieu of 3 additional low-income units, I think it would be better to require all to be on-site given that that they have agreed to reduce the size of each unit. Keep the building the same size, just increase the number of units. That shouldn’t cost anywhere near the $1 million they are giving the City’s trust fund and those 3 units could be built and occupied much faster than the City can get a new building constructed.