WeHo Gets a Peek at the Proposed West Coast Branch of London’s Arts Club

London’s Arts Club, housed in an elegant 18th Century townhouse in that city’s Mayfair district, is 5,437 miles away from Los Angeles. And the proposed West Coast branch of the club is several centuries away in design.

The Arts Club seen from ground level. (Gensler architects)
The Arts Club seen from ground level. (Gensler architects)

A request for permits filed with the City of West Hollywood’s Planning Division depicts a nine-story building whose contemporary style includes vertical aluminum fins that the request says would “undulate and rotate along the building’s facade, although fixed in position.” The architect is Gensler.

The building, which will replace the current Hustler Hollywood store at 8920 Sunset Blvd. at Hilldale, will house the U.S. branch of a members-only club founded in 1863 by a group that included Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope. The West Hollywood club’s backers include Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress, who is a member of the London Club. To become a member one must be nominated by an existing member and participate in or have an interest in art, literature or science. The London club’s annual dues are £2,000 or roughly $2,880.

The Arts Club in London's Mayfair district.
The Arts Club in London’s Mayfair district.

Until its highly private London brother, the Arts Club in West Hollywood will offer some public amenities. They include retail spaces and an art gallery on the first floor. The building would include offices for creative professionals on floors two through four.

The nine-story, 132,000 square-foot building would replace the 17,800 square foot Hustler store. It would offer an underground parking garage with room for 220 cars that is accessed from Hilldale Avenue. Above the offices and gallery on floors one through four would be a spa/gym/wellness center on the fifth floor with an open-air dining terrace and screening rooms. The sixth floor would house 15 guest rooms. On the seventh floor there would be a drawing room and brasserie with a terrace as well as a members lounge. The eighth floor would house a Japanese/Latino restaurant. It would be topped by a terrace and swimming pool on the ninth floor. There would be a helipad for emergency use.

The developer is asking the city to grant an amendment to its General Plan because the southern portion of the site sits in an area zoned only for high-density residential use. The amendment also would permit the proposed nine-story height. Other permits are being sought for including a restaurant, serving alcohol and other club amenities. The developer also is asking the city to allow it to add only 220 parking space, fewer than current regulations would require.

The Arts Club plans are open for review by West Hollywood residents today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the community conference room in City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer.

  1. Play ground for the rich? What was the Strip always aspired to be? Remember Ciro’s and Scandia? You don’t see a 99 cent store at Sunset Plaza. Certainly Hustler is not catering to the folks patronizing our high end hotels that contribute such a huge amount to our municipal budget. It is sort of late to play Bernie Sanders on the Strip.
    But at the end of the day, (as Jeanne Dobrin always reminds us), it is about whether the project will have sufficient parking and how Sunset can handle the additional traffic. It is an interesting project; the jury has not begun deliberations as to whether it is appropriate or practical.

  2. Are emergency services clamoring for a helipad in the area? Part of this project would be built in zoning for high density residential use, looking at other rendering of this plan I see most of the open air activity would be facing residential neighborhoods. I am sure these residents would love having a helipad so close to them that is only used in “Emergency!” Whose emergency? I think this has a stinky smell to it!

  3. This is a absolutely disgusting plan asking for an EIR to bring something that would be an annoyance w/ a way too high bldg , with a rooftop pool, plus lots of unwanted noise & traffic to drive adjacent residents& the rest of us the crazy, plus trying to get away w/less than legal parking requirements.One of the floors will also be what the developer plans is for a hotel And didn’t they mention to Wehoville also that they are planning to dig down to establish 4 , yes, 4 underground parking levels!!. Mentioning Charles Dickens & Anthony Trollope(2 of my favorite authors) somehow or other does not impress me. I do love the photo of the 19th century original London facade,but count me out ion undulating fixed- in -place steel fins. The staff & the Planning Commission should turn this down.

  4. No. No. No. NNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!
    As if our city wasn’t already too-quickly becoming a haven for only the well-heeled, deep-pocketed 1-percenters, the very idea of this members-only snob-sanctuary should sicken every citizen with even a vestige of admiration for what was once a proudly-egalitarian-advocating, democratic-with-a-small-“d”, open-government-propounding city. And for this developer to be so blatant in demands for not just a couple “minor” variances to current zoning; but WHOLESALE trashing of them???? There’s not even a PRETENSE of “providing additional affordable housing” or filling a real NEED for our city–other than [read between the lines] a more blatantly-exclusionary “smoke-filled back-room” space where back-room deals and quid-pro-quo “understandings”, “off-the-record” meetings and “consultations” and political favors are exchanged even more out of the public’s eye than is already too-often the case. I guess when they get away with “plying their trade” hanging out on the proverbial street corner offering “favors”…they’ve finally gotten tired of even putting up a pretense. Just another “trick” for the right price, I suppose. All that’s been lacking is a compliant Madame to house the “transaction”. But it now appears she’s ready to build a new 9-story deal-making “house of ill-repute” at 8920 Sunset Bloulevard…and call it an “Arts Club.” And the piano player in the lobby “won’t know nothin about the transactions upstairs. Uh-huh. And the DVD’s the Hustler store sells are “art films.” Give us a break.

    ANY member of the city council voting for this loses my vote–ANY member!!!!

    What this project represents is TRULY obscene; a penultimate betrayal of all West Hollywood was founded on! The bald-face classist concept is obscene–far more so than any porn videos currently hawked at the location. Mark my words: If approved this will also quickly become essentially an outpost of Washington DC’s infamous “K-Street”; essentially a polical bordello with more behind-the-scenes economic and political sleaze than any strip-joint or well-disguised bordello. All this project lacks in its design is a request for red porch lights and “model windows” to attract the legions of special-interest “johns” seeking “favors” from the political and economic power-brokers willing to whore themselves out beyond the prying eyes the public they sell out.

    Gwyneth Paltrow should be ashamed to be associated with ANY such institution. I thought joints like the all-male Jonathan Club and all-white southern country clubs were nasty relics of a more hide-bound culture and age. For all our faults as a city–and they are many–CERTAINLY we are BETTER than…THIS?!?!?!

    WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE THINKING, PEOPLE???? What’s next? Another TRUMP TRASH TOWER??? ENOUGH already!!!! ENOUGH!!!!!!

    PS: JUST what West Hollywood needs: Yet ANOTHER over-priced gym. (What’s the count now? 20? 25??…)

  5. Just what we don’t need. A playground for the rich. The City Council will give them whatever they want. Of course, Goopy Paltrow is involved.. heaven forbid she mingles with the regular folks.

  6. This would be a welcome change to what is currently on the site but the neighborhood has concerns about the roof top pool on the south side of the building overlooking residential area. The neighborhood is already dealing with noise projected from the Abbys open air bar.

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