Citibank Closing Santa Monica Boulevard Branch in WeHo

citibank logoIn the latest shift in businesses on West Hollywood’s Westside, Citibank has announced that it is closing its branch at 8900 Santa Monica Blvd. at San Vicente on Jan. 8.

The 8,500 square foot building now houses Citibank and the Spot, an HIV/STD testing center run by the L.A. LGBT Center. The Center has announced that it is opening a new location nearby above Gym Bar on Santa Monica Boulevard at Hancock.

Vincent Ribeiro, manager of Citibank’s Santa Monica Boulevard branch and of its branch on Sunset Boulevard at Doheny, said the Santa Monica branch customers would have their accounts transferred to the Sunset branch. Ribeiro said he didn’t know why Citibank was leaving the Santa Monica location, but that a review had been done of its lease and he speculated that a rent increase was one of the reasons.

A representative of American Commercial Equities, owner of the property, said it has not identified a new tenant. David Ickovics is the broker handling the leasing.

  1. I agree with you, Mike, although Chris Sanger makes a good point. Just yesterday a recent immigrant from Iran told me that he almost didn’t take a job in WeHo because of all the gays, but a Russian immigrant told him they (immigrants) will soon be in the majority and the gays will have to go somewhere else. Other groups who are not homophobic at all are moving in and they have to be accommodated. I wonder if there had been a different vision of the future by those who had the power might we have been able to maintain what we have always had here?

  2. @Chris Sanger & BlueEyedBoy, I myself am not too happy about West Hollywood being a success story. I miss the days when West Hollywood was not so inclusive. Increased traffic and over-development being the price of success is not my idea of wining. Los Angeles, the city and county, is huge. I don’t see anything wrong with having less than 2 square miles to ourselves.

  3. Wells Fargo and Bank of America do just fine with multiple WeHo branches. Citibank’s Sunset-Doheny branch couldn’t be more inconvenient.

  4. This branch was a First Nationwide bank when I first opened an account there more than 20 years ago. I was eventually merged into Citibank. I’m sorry to see it go, These transitions are never as smooth as banks say they will be, so I might as well change banks now and get it over with.

  5. Makes sense that the two bank locations consolidate. Hopefully something will move in that will bring more life to that corner. I believe at one time the City was hoping to purchase that building to extend the entrance to the park to Santa Monica Blvd. to connect the two. That would be great.

  6. BlueEyedBoy – we won. Gays are assimilating and more welcome elsewhere. And the vast improvement in the desirability of WeHo as a place to live (as shown by the way above the curve real estate demand for the city, yes I know it means it displaces long term residents, including likely myself, but it is a sign of success) means a wider group of people want to live here. Life changes. The change in WeHo as a gay center is on balance part of gay success.

  7. As I stated in my exchange with Mike above, WeHo was once indeed the “Creative City” and a haven for gay people. All that began to change not too many years ago, and I’m afraid we may never have it again. The gym that is now 24 Hour Fitness might as well be in Encino. There appears to be a conscious effort to “de-gay” that place, and it is especially evident with the new management. It didn’t used to be that way! I mourn the loss.

  8. Here is a rundown of the “Creative City”:

    The commercial property along our fantastic boystown blvd (Palm to Robertson on Santa Monica) resembles that of the dentistry of a 6 year old child:

    Flaming Saddles – As stable as the Rick Santorum candidacy
    Block Party – Monthly Stays of Execution from the Landlord
    Mickey’s – Temporarily out
    American Apparel – Waiting for “corporate” to close the store
    Rage – Well, who cares!
    Champagne Bakery – Gone
    Andrew Christian – A little Viagra needed
    Here Bar – Only if Abbey rents it
    Cooley’s – The Little Conditional Use Permit that couldn’t! Thanks for bringing a little “Motor Town” urban blight to the neighborhood with the long term boarded up look!
    Original Chi Chi – Gone
    Citibank – Closing soon!

    Kudos to Weho City Council and that woman, Ms. Morrill who runs the local Chamber of Commerce, but lives 10 miles away in Marina Del Rey!!!

    In my last comment, I stated that the building is now empty. Pizza Rustica and Millions of Milkshakes are actually in the same building. A brief look at the building seems to indicate that it will be 66-75% vacant.

    While the building is aesthetically well maintained and not empty, I still have the same hopes for the future of the structure. Especially because accessibility in this structure is not very good. MofM seems successful and may be able to move down the block. Rustica doesn’t seem as successful and still could do the same; but there are 3 other pizza restaurants within 1/4 mile. (Really health conscious WeHoans?) I can come up with 4 vacant locations west of Palm (one is already built as a restaurant, the former Champagne).

  10. Love it, Mike! Their clothes were pretty racy; not the type most people would actually wear, but it was a fun place. I imagine most their business was through their catalog to people in places like Michigan. I had ordered underwear from Ah Men, and it was one of the first places I checked out when I moved here from Kalamazoo in ’78. Oh, how WeHo has changed since then.

  11. I have rarely seen much traffic at Citi, except for the ATM. Chase, US Bank and BofA all get all seem to get the bulk of business within 1/4 mile. Personally, I had a Citi Credit Card years ago and had nothing but problems with them. Citi’s banking business has always seemed comparatively small.

    Honestly, when you compare that building to the adjacent 3-4 floor Koontz building as well as the other 2 floor structures, this soon-to-be empty, but small, building / lot seems underutilized. This is especially true when considering the potential to redevelop the SE corner of that intersection.

    What’s sad about this is a further decrease in weekday daytime traffic which this district needs to justify growing rents. Hopefully they get something to foster such traffic, or build some moderately affordable office space with ground retail.

  12. @Blue-Eyed Boy: I Moved out here from Lansing in 1978. There was one T-shirt that Ah Men had in their window that cracked me up: “Dinner, Dicker & Dunker, Attorneys at Law, Chappaquiddick”.

  13. Says something about rents when banks are balking at paying for them. But banks want to decrease branches as much as possible, so this isn’t that surprising. The ones near Sunset/Doheny (Citibank/BoA/Wells Fargo and Chase a bit further east) will survive because of their adjacency to wealthier clients in the hills above.

  14. In the late ’70s it was the Ah Men’s Clothing store. Before I moved to LA from Michigan I got their catalog.

  15. If memory serves me, it was a men’s clothing store then a Unity Savimgs (or something like that) then California Federal Savings which was bought by Citibank during the meltdown of the Savings and Loan and Thrift institions of the early 1990s. I got the letter from Citibank a couple days ago that they were closing the branch at the end of the year. Not that I love Citibank or any other big bank but it was convenient to have their ATM in the neighborhood. The Sunset location isn’t exactly convenient, either for the ATM or that rare in-branch experience.

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