WeHo Seeking Changes in 8150 Sunset Blvd. Project

8150 Sunset Blvd. (Rendering by Visualhouse)
8150 Sunset Blvd. (Rendering by Visualhouse of Frank Gehry design)

West Hollywood is seeking certain changes in plans for the controversial project at 8150 Sunset Blvd. just outside the city’s northern border with Los Angeles.

The changes have been submitted to the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission, which must decide whether to approve a final environmental impact statement for the project. A public hearing is set on the matter for July 28.

West Hollywood’s Planning Department is requesting the following changes:

— Eliminate site access along Havenhurst Drive.

— Require deliveries and services (i.e. trash collection, moving vans, etc.) to only enter and leave the project via the driveways on Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards.

— Upgrade the existing pedestrian crosswalk south of the project site on Crescent Heights Boulevard to a mid-block pedestrian signal and incorporate other pedestrian visibility enhancements such as reflective markings.

— Fund an upgrading of the traffic signal controller equipment, replace existing controllers with more modern Type 2070 controllers, and install battery back-up systems for Fountain Avenue intersections with traffic signals at La Cienega, Crescent Heights, Sweetzer, Olive and Laurel.

— Require installation of a new eight-inch diameter sewer in Crescent Heights Boulevard that would be owned and maintained by the City of Los Angeles, or have the project developer, Townscape Partners, pay the City of West Hollywood $1.2 million to cover the long-term cost of the on-going operation and maintenance of the sewer by the City of West Hollywood.

Townscape’s 8150 Sunset project would include approximately 65,000 square feet of commercial space, a reduction from the 111,339 square feet of commercial retail and restaurant space in an earlier plan. on three lower levels (one of them underground) and one rooftop level. In addition, it would include 269.200 square feet of residential space, with 249 market rate apartments and 28 apartments for low income people. Among the amenities it would offer residents is a private pool about 7,000 square feet of space devoted to a fitness center, lobby, library and business center. The 820 parking spaces would be housed in a seven‐level structure, three of whose levels would be almost or completely underground.

A draft environmental impact study of the project released last year projected a 17% increase in overall traffic because of it, with 6,373 trips per day, including 231 trips during the morning peak hour, and 565 trips during the evening peak hour. Of those trips, nearly 5,000 are projected to come from visitors to the project’s shops. However a new design by noted architect Frank Gehry has resulted in a reduction in estimated trips to 3,314 a day. That amounts to 18 trips more daily than are generated by the businesses on the site now.

In its lengthy fight to get approval for the project Townscape was successful in having the state give it a special status that would protect it from a prolonged legal battle with residents who oppose it. That status also would bar local agencies from considering the aesthetic or parking impact of the project in deciding whether to approve it.

Increased traffic is only one of several issues raised by nearby residents of West Hollywood who are opposed to the project. The 2.6 acre site is bordered Sunset Boulevard on the north, Havenhurst Drive on the west and North Crescent Heights Boulevard on the east. Havenhurst and North Crescent Heights, which are within West Hollywood’s borders, are the site of a number of condominium and apartment buildings.

At a meeting with Townscape Partners in September 2013, area residents also aired concerns over the project’s impact on available parking, on the demolition of the Chase Bank building on the project site, which some see as having historical qualities, and on the impact of a 16-story apartment building along Havenhurst.

The project has evolved in several ways since it was announced. Townscape said it will preserve and incorporate into the project a colorful 1960 glass mosaic (“Spatial Kaleidoscope” by French artist Roger Darricarrerre) inside the Chase bank building and a sculpture (“The Family” by David Green) that was commissioned by Lytton Savings outside the building.

Last summer Townscape presented Gehry’s dramatic redesign of the project.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story erred in stating the commercial square footage and auto trips of the 8150 Sunset project, The  commercial square footage has been reduced substantially because of a new design by Frank Gehry.  The story has been corrected to reflect that.

  1. Yes Lynn, substantial is right! Those tower on each end need a 50% reduction and LA need to work with the developer to include (although LA is not required) affordable/inclusionary housing. It seems it would be a good-neighbor and good will so close to West Hollywood.

    As it is now, I can’t support this rendering of the development at this site.

    1. Thanks Mike. The design of the Crescent Heights Building could successfully drive this project. The other structures merely impede a potential elegance that would benefit the site and neighborhood. BTW this on the agenda at a meeting of WHHills West tonight at 6:00 @ Will & Ariel Durant Library on Sunset.

  2. Looking at this concept again it is clear that there is way too much going on for the location. The Crescent Heights building is interesting but the Havenhurst building seems to have virtually exploded. The clutter in between seems much like well……clutter. Perhaps a substantial refinement of the design might be in order. Although one might see this type of design extended for a three block section of Grand Ave or a similar site, as it is it would seem to be 10 lbs of butter in a 5 lb bag.

  3. I am sure everything the developer told the city is 100% true. I think the idea of flying cars and helicopters for first responders is great. I’ll suggest that at a future council meeting.

  4. There won’t be any increase in traffic as everyone who lives there and everyone who shops there will use the subway. That’s the new LA story. Ask Mayor Garcetti. We are becoming Manhattan where everyone uses the subway and there is no traffic congestion.

  5. What about the first responders access for the 911 calls for emergency vehicle access for ambulances, fire engines and police cars for the local residents and visitor needs? How can the increase of traffic in this area handle the safety and concern for first responders clear access to get to any emergency to save lives?

    1. Oh Jerome, you should know by now that neither the City of LA nor the City of West Hollywood care about public safety and first responders or access. You will get lip service to the contrary; but as many streets are jammed for many hours each day, we know it’s not so easy to get where you need to go, even with sirens blaring.

      Developers’ rights trump all. Pretty soon, the rich will set up a separate system of first responders that will use flying cars and helicopters to get to their wealthy customers. The rest of us will have to wait for an ambulance or fire truck stuck in traffic.

  6. This is so amusing to me. WeHo has approved so many projects on the Sunset Strip without any consideration to the residents of L.A. who live just above the strip. As soon as L.A. plans something inside its boundaries, they go bananas.

  7. ….and I will bet you 10 to 1 they won’t even build it in such a manner that semi and delivery trucks won’t have to tie-up traffic by having to back in off of Sunset or Crescent Heights to reach the loading dock. This small nightmare has been overlooked in the design of other developments in the area.

  8. The 8150 Sunset building is not 16 stories. Its 20 stories. On Havenhurst. There are 4 stories for the parking structure. It is from the grade on Havenhurst which the Townscape and L. A. Planning ignored. Townscape has lied on their EIR. The Chase bank (Lyntton Savings) is one of the last mid-century buildings on Sunset Blvd. As for Frank Gehry, he claims 98 percent of modern architecture is sh-t… the other 2 percent sh-t belongs to his designs. Of course Horvath, Duran and Heilman are owned by Townscape – the NY developers that financed their campaigns. They are calling them the “Townscape 3”!

  9. You are building too many large buildings too fast. Are you that hungry for more income and at what expense. Have you tried coming into the city at 8:30 in the morning via laurel canyon? its already a nightmare.

  10. I was hoping the “seeking changes” part of the story was a new architect. This will be a worse eyesore than the current McDonalds strip mall.

  11. I don’t know if anything can be done that will mitigate the cluster#@%& that will result at the intersection of Sunset & Laurel Canyon/Crescent Heights if this project is built. However, what the City is requesting is a good start. I also don’t think Townscape is a good actor with its developments. Judging by what happened with its handling of the proposed project on Beverly Blvd (the old ICM building), can they be trusted to build what they are proposing with these fantastically-futuristic-looking Frank Gehry sketches?

    There are a lot of new projects on the Sunset Strip. A couple have opened but aren’t fully leased yet. But when all the hotels open for business, the retail spaces leased and condos sold, this is going to be one overtaxed stretch of Sunset with no viable plan to mitigation the mess and no alternative form of public transit.

    I will very much miss the Chase Bank building with the terrific folded roof and wonderful mid-century modern style. I hope the mosaic inside will be saved and either installed in a building of the new project or presented as a piece of art in the new common area. I won’t miss the hideous strip mall that was built in the parking lot and in place of the Gardens of Allah.

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