L.A. Planning Commission Approves 8150 Sunset Project

8150 Sunset Blvd. (Rendering by Visualhouse)
8150 Sunset Blvd. (Rendering by Visualhouse)

The L.A. City Planning Commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve the project at 8150 Sunset Blvd. that has drawn opposition from nearby West Hollywood residents and objections from the City of West Hollywood.

The project is being developed by Townscape Partners, whose 8899 Beverly Blvd. project in West Hollywood also has been very contentious.

The L.A. Planning Commission was asked to approve the developer’s proposal to triple the permissible square footage of the building in relation to the size of its lot (“floor-area ratio”). The lot is at the southeast corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights Boulevard. Townscape has proposed five buildings with a total of 249 housing units and the rest devoted to retail and other commercial use. Townscape has offered to make 28 of the housing units available to lower-income people in exchange for permission to triple the allowed building size.

The planning commission granted Townscape the extra square footage in exchange for adding ten more “workforce” housing units, which are defined as housing for families of four whose income is roughly between $56,000 and $67,000 a year.

The project now will go before the L.A. City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management committee and, if approved by it, to a vote of the L.A. City Council. David Ryu, the L.A. council member who represents the district in which the project lies, has raised objections to the project. In an interview with the Loz Feliz Ledger, Sarah Dusseault, Ryu’s chief of staff, said that adding three more affordable housing units wasn’t enough, noting that Townscape had estimated it would make $52 million from the project. “They needed to recalculate and make a more thoughtful analysis for what we are getting in exchange for the affordable,” housing she said.

In its appeal to the planning commission, the City of West Hollywood focused on the impact of traffic from the project. It is forecast to generate 3,314 a day, 18 more than are generated by the businesses on the site now. West Hollywood’s traffic-specific requests including asking that the developer 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 and fund an upgrading of the traffic signal controller equipment, replacing existing controllers with more modern Type 2070 controllers, and installing battery back-up systems for Fountain Avenue intersections with traffic signals at La Cienega, Crescent Heights, Sweetzer, Olive and Laurel.

Opposition to the 8150 Sunset project has eased somewhat with Townscape’s design to engage noted architect Frank Gehry to design it.

“Frank Gehry’s design will provide much-needed, high quality residences, as well as create a new destination for shopping and eating in the city,” Townscape partner John Irwin said in a press release. “This is the right direction for development in L.A., embracing both the benefits of good planning—as well as a commitment to providing affordable housing at varying income levels, which we have agreed to increase at the recommendation of the commission.”

  1. Well Mr. Mitford, the site you reference is not known for its accuracy. But if indeed Trump may be tangentially involved, the Lytton Savings Bank Building aka Chase Bank which is to be consideration as a Los Angeles landmark by the CHC today, better remain under 24 hour watch.

    When Trump acquired the elegant Bonwit Teller Building on Fifth Ave. at 56th St. in Manhattan, demolished to make way for its antithesis, Trump Tower of Gaudy, the Art Deco bas relief sculptures on the Fifth Ave elevation, championed by the Metropolitan Museum for preservation, were turned into dust. If Townscape is not directly connected to Trump, they are certainly birds of a feather.

  2. you can still save that bank go this Thursday at 10am or email: ASAP: here’s all of the info:

    The application to declare Lytton Savings 8150 Sunset as a Historic Cultural Monument is being heard at the Cultural Heritage Commission Commission this Thursday August 4th at 10:00 am.
    Please come down and provide public comment or send in written comments.

    City Hall, Room 1010
    200 N. Spring Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    CASE NO. CHC-2016-2522-HCM
    email to:
    melissa.jones@lacity.org Office of Historic Resources-Historic Cultural Monuments
    cd4.issues@lacity.org Councilperson David Ryu
    julia.duncan@lacity.org Councilperson Ryu’s Planning Deputy

    Kurt Meyer, given the Modern Masters Award (he died in 2014 at the age of 92), designed the mid-century iconic Lytton Savings on Sunset.
    I have been fighting the 8150 Gehry project for 3 years now, at the corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset, because it is over scale for the neighborhood, the infrastructure is not there and this project is fueled by money and greed. This is a traffic safety nightmare waiting to happen. Their EIR is flawed and they have committed so many legal blunders. They state it is 15 stories when in fact, one of the towers is almost 23 stories…..lies lies.
    The developers, wanting to increase their 1.1 far to 3.1, and wanting to increase a density bonus from 35% to 300%, are overreaching.
    Their plans, if allowed to proceed (although lawsuits will fly if this passes the next two council meetings) are to TEAR DOWN the Lytton Savings because they say that it is in their way to build their LA LIVE kind of complex on the F Rated intersection of Laurel Cyn. They could save it easily and use it for retail, a restaurant…etc etc, but they choose not to.
    But Gehry feels that most modern architecture is crap so what the hell.
    If you specialists, can please write to the powers that be or if you can show up at the hearing, that would be great…We need to save more structures like these or else we will begin to look like Manhattan with all of its skyscrapers. I have been working closely with the LA Conservancy to get this done.

    Thank you!

  3. Wow.. 28 low income apartments. Ladies and gentlemen, i’m pleased to announce that thanks to the tiresome work of developers, we’ve solved the los angeles affordable housing crisis…

  4. One of the glaring omissions is recognition of the Kurt Meyer Lytton Savings Bank Building, now Chase,which was an outstanding architectural structure in its era that had remained and retained the respect of those in the architectural community and general public. There is not another example of it. While Mr. Meyer might not have enjoyed the expansive reach of Mr. Gehry in his day, his work has superior definition and it would be hard to believe that this structure didn’t actually inspire the direction of the submitted plan.

    Recognition of the significance of the elegant Lytton Savings Building might stretch the consciousness of Townscape Partners and Mr. Gehry however its absence will leave a lasting blemish on the integrity of the project. Integrating the Lytton is not only aesthetically possible but it is the right thing to do.

  5. Well, it ain’t the ‘Garden of Allah’ but whatcha gonna do?! It is an ugly spot right now. I walk up to Veggie Grill regularly because I don’t want to use a car in what’s a 15-minute walk. I don’t like that walk particularly although it is such a famous strip. But it is caught between the ghosts of the past and the dreadful things that have been plunked in between and are by now abandoned sites (House of Blues and that whole block), the spooky place next to it, a dreary stripclub, weird little shops and parking lots and then that Chase/McDonalds site. So clearly something has to happen. I don’t mind the size of the project or Gehry. At least it’s designed – something that unfortunately didn’t happen with that cheaply tiled Sunset corner where Veggie Grill/CB2 sits.

  6. I have heard this or similar objections to every significant landmark with which I have been even tangentially involved for years: ‘the scale of this project is out of context with its surrounding’. Think about this – landmarks are, by definition LANDMARKS – and as such tend to be out of scale with their context. Take the Pacific Design Center, The Washington Monument, 1 World Trade Center, etc. They all stick out. They are supposed to. That is why one hopes that the designer of these structures falls in the hands of capable designers. Even without knowing what Frank Gehry has in his mind for the actual exterior of 8150 Sunset, I, for one, have faith that many many iterations will come and go before the one that is at the same time forceful as it is elegant, balanced as it is striking, and in the end, WILL be a true LandMark as it is the Gateway to ‘The Sunset Strip’.

    What is interesting to me is that the Target Complex down the road is pretty bland as design goes, and the builders felt the necessity to put the work Gateway in its Name.
    Now it is wait and see time….just like we are waiting and hopefully seeing what the actual final museum at LACMA is when it rises like the great pumpkin out of the pit adjoining to the back of the former May Company Building. I’ve seen those renderings – and talk about out of scale and context. Thank God for that one too.

    It’s a shame that the same consideration for a true landmark wasn’t given to the much ballyhooed West Hollywood Branch Library. I guess that the proposed ‘Grand Staircase’, which really ought to be an escalator in this disabled person’s opinion, is hoped to be the landmark that the library hasn’t proven to be.

  7. Even the untrained eye can observe that the scale of this project is out of context with the location. Neither the name of the architect nor the machinations of the developer and their minions should enable this structure to pass go. The minuscule concession of the affordable units was built into the plan as a bargaining chip response and barely makes an iota of difference in the behemoth structure upon the landscape. Some calculations are possible to encourage a better fit without diminishing the aesthetic direction of Mr. Gehry. The only question is whether he and Townscape have the backbone to be potential occupants and stewards of this desirable sight.

  8. The biggest part of the problem for this massive project is for the first responders of 911 calls to the police, paramedics and fire departments to reach any of us in an emergency. Does anyone have the link to the traffic study and the EIR for this project so we can respond before it gets before the LA City council for final approval?

  9. 28 low income units in exchange for tripling the size of this mammoth project doesn’t seem like an equal or fair deal to me. I’m 100% for affordable housing…but sacrificing this already busy corner is absurd. I hate these deals that always seem to favor the developer.

  10. One thing I am happy about is Townscape heard the call for the need of affordable housing in this project. Where there was none planned initially; I thought it was a good neighbor policy to add since it borders West Hollywood.

    I Always loved the Frank Gehry’s designs and it is still L.A.’s project. I just am happy that affordable housing will be where it never has been. And, so close to our border.

  11. The planning commission makes another “deal” for “low income” housing..not actually low income at all but what is described as medium income by most. The City Council needs to appoint a better balance of people on such commissions, not just real estate/developer pro folks. Each commission needs to include RESIDENTS and resident oriented people. We are loosing the balance of residential/commercial identity in our home city…in favor of MONEY MONEY MONEY

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