Townscape Partners has released images of the project at 8150 Sunset Blvd. at Crescent Heights dramatic redesign by Gehry Partners, whose founder is Frank Gehry, the noted architect and Pritzker Prize winner.
The project anchors the east end of the Sunset Strip and sits just outside the West Hollywood city limits. It would include approximately 111,339 square feet of commercial retail and restaurant space on three lower levels (one of them underground) and one rooftop level. In addition, it would include 223,000 square feet of residential space, with 249 market rate apartments and 28 apartments for low-income people. Its 849 parking spaces would be housed in a seven‐level structure, three of whose levels would be almost or completely underground. It would replace a strip mall that sits on a site once occupied by the famous Garden of Allah.
The project has drawn objections from nearby residents who say they are concerned that it will worsen traffic congestion on Sunset Boulevard and in West Hollywood on Havenhurst Drive and Fountain Avenue and make parking more difficult. Preservations also had objected to Townscape’s earlier plan to demolish the former Lytton Center bank building on the project site, a 1960 modern bank building distinguished by its zigzag folded plate row and which some see as having historical qualities. Townscape has agreed to incorporate into the project a colorful 1960 glass mosaic inside the bank (“Spatial Kaleidoscope” by French artist Roger Darricarrerre) and a sculpture (“The Family” by David Green) that was commissioned by Lytton Savings outside the building.
Townscape announced in March that it had engaged Gehry Partners for the final design. That design now must be submitted for environmental review. According to Architectural Record, Townscape hopes to begin construction late next year or early 2017..
The master site plan for 8150 Sunset was developed in 2013 by Hart Howerton of San Francisco. Based on Hart Howerton’s site plan, in 2014 the 8150 Sunset project became the first in Los Angeles County to be designated a California Environmental Leadership Development Project (ELDP)—and the only mixed-use project in California to receive that designation. To qualify as an ELDP, a project must result in an investment in California of more than $100 million, create high-wage, highly skilled jobs and result in zero net additional emissions of greenhouse gases. The ELDP certification means local agencies cannot consider the project’s aesthetic or parking impact in deciding whether to approve it. It also means that local residents will have limited ability to challenge it in court. ELDP regulations stipulate that all legal proceedings, including initial hearings and appeals, can take no more than 270 days. That is an exceptionally short period in the California legal system.
Townscape also is the developer of the proposed 8899 Beverly project in West Hollywood, the progress of which had slowed because of neighborhood opposition to Townscape’s request to nearly double the size of the existing building. The West Hollywood City Council approved the project at its meeting on Aug. 17.