Notorious WeHo Landlord Again Seeks Cultural Designation for ‘Cherie Amour’

8214 Norton Ave.
8214 Norton Ave.

A petition by a notorious West Hollywood landlord to have her Norton Avenue property declared culturally significant is coming back before the WeHo Historic Preservation Commission tonight.

The landlord, Cheri Woods, is owner of 8214-8218 Norton, an apartment building that she says is culturally significant because it once was the home of Jim Morrison of The Doors and his girlfriend, Pamela Curson, from the summer of 1969 to March 1971. In 1971 they went to Paris, where Morrison died of what is widely believed to have been a drug overdose. He was 27.

Cheri Woods (Facebook)
Cheri Woods (Facebook)

Woods purchased the building in 2003. Previously she lived in Studio City, where she was known as the madam of Cheri’s Angels, a ring of prostitutes that she operated from her home. A 2004 story in the Los Angeles Times noted that Woods claimed to have managed 185 prostitutes serving 2,000 clients. Woods also is the author of “Death Row Madam: Exposing Sex and Drugs in the Entertainment Industry,” a book in which she claims to “finally break the madam’s code of silence, as you discover the shocking, kinky stories of the sex lives of the rich and famous.”

Woods currently is subject of a lawsuit filed in May by the City of West Hollywood accusing her of harassing three of the Norton Avenue building’s tenants and illegally inflating the rent of one of them. She evicted the building’s tenants in April. That suit is scheduled for a hearing in L.A. Superior Court on Nov. 1. Woods also has illegally rented out vacant apartments in the building to tourists through Airbnb.

If Woods gets the cultural designation, she intends to convert it into a bed and breakfast. With the cultural designation, the building would qualify under state law for up to a 50% reduction in property taxes in exchange for its rehabilitation, preservation and long-term maintenance.

The Norton Avenue building, which Woods has dubbed Cheri Amour, encompasses 7,329 square feet and contains five apartments. If she is able to convert the building to a bed and breakfast, Woods would rent out four of the apartments and keep one for herself. Bed and breakfasts are permitted in buildings designated as cultural resources in the city’s R3 and R4 residential zones.

Woods first filed a request for cultural designation in 2014 and got the support of the city’s Community Development Department. But in 2015, Community Development changed its mind, with the staff noting that alterations to the building by the owner have impacted the character-defining features and impaired the building to the degree that the aesthetic, architectural, and historic integrity of the cultural resource no longer maintain the level of integrity previously found to be significant by HPC.” However, the agenda for tonight’s meeting notes that the commission cannot require reconstruction of the building’s Spanish tile staircase and balcony as a condition of receiving the cultural designation.

The Historic Preservation Commission meets at 7 p.m. tonight in Rooms 5 and 6 of Plummer Park Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. at Martel.


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Heavens 2 Murgatroyd
Guest
Heavens 2 Murgatroyd

I wonder how many of the Historic Preservation Commissioners have actually gone to the building and seen things for themselves? They rejected the staff report that did NOT recommend historic designation because of illegal modifications likely done as a result of code violations that were mentioned in the architect’s report. Surely, they’re not basing their decision solely on the information provided by the owner and those she hired to help her?

Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation
Guest
Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation

Does Wehoville or anyone know the exact nature of the Superior Court issue scheduled for November 1?

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Woods harassed three tenants “in a manner that was likely to create a hostile living environment or to cause a reasonable tenant similarly situated to vacate the rental housing unit…” It also alleges that she charged one tenant more than the maximum allowable rent for the rent-stabilized apartment.

Heavens 2 Murgatroyd
Guest
Heavens 2 Murgatroyd

@ Alison- The architect’s report that’s attached to the July 25th Historic Preservation meeting agenda packet mentioned that one tenant got the Ellis eviction extended to 12 months for being disabled, and another got extended for being a senior citizen. So at least one senior citizen and one disabled tenant were evicted. Two of the three apartments were indeed under rent control. At least the city is taking action on the harassment claims.

J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

Seriously, I am glad some got their legal protection. I am also glad you mentioned it was granted under the Ellis Act. WeHo has turned an act designed specifically for some protection of tenants after “RENT CONTROL” Was abolishied and made illegal BY THE STATE OF CA LEGISLATURE APPLYING TO EVERY CITY IN THE STATE. The decision to make “Rent Controll” ILLEGAL had little to nothing to do.with the tiny population of weho relative to the 10’s of millions of people Living in California. Weho has Turned The Elkis act into a Verb involving abuse of the law, an entirely… Read more »

Zam Loomstein
Guest

This is the exact type of abuse which led city hall to outright ban AirBnB in our city. Sadly, AirBnB can help many: residents can more easily age in place, those whose jobs involve constant travel can keep their current residences (especially common in the film industry), residents can keep their homes after a separation, this opens our city to extra tourists who cannot afford to pay the very high prices of local hotels. There are many issues regarding abuse and unfairness which could have been addressed: not collecting proper taxes, reduction of rent controlled housing and housing in general,… Read more »

Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation
Guest
Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation

Yup, who would have guessed that Ms. Woods considers herself a “victim” in her own words when characterizing her book. There appear to be numerous levels of unpleasant subterranean archeology going on here that has nothing to do with architecture or cultural preservation. More than we need to know. Just Vote No!

Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation
Guest
Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation

Let’s see now, Ms. Woods purchased the building in 2003. Was she a fan of Historic Preservation at the time and didn’t have time to file application? Or did she discover a new revenue possibility and a way to manipulate the system? Unfortunately she seems to have taken advantage of her tenants along the way. That’s naughty. Wonder if Ms. Allred will be presenting the case tonight for Ms. Woods or during the next round if she is agrieved in the matter. Will cameras and the press be there tonight?

J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

I can understand the emotional anger towards this landlord’s current actions. But it is very had for anyone to do, when it is their issue, but this is not a dispute between two people with opposite feelings but try to step back. Any Landlord is making their decisions based not on personal emotional grounds, but they act, think, and are emotionally driven by their motivation for money. Two relatively similarly situated people can righteously believe money alone is the most uncaring, self centered and greedy form of motivation in such a polar opposite disagreement. But it is not an issue… Read more »

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

This woman sounds like a conniving hack trying to jump through every loophole to squeeze every ounce of money out of a property. And with these impending lawsuits of eviction and displacing the tenants and their rent control, we have to say no to this designation. Not only to prevent her from making this a B&B but seriously…how many stars have lived in various properties throughout Weho? Its really quite ridiculous. While I like the architecture and would hate to see this place ever destroyed…I dont think its enough to give it a designation and to let this former “madam”… Read more »

Heavens 2 Murgatroyd
Guest
Heavens 2 Murgatroyd

re oldenkamp “Colorful” is one word. As for the “single railing change on the balcony” I don’t think that is quite correct. If you look at photos (many online) of what the building looked like right before and after she bought it, other changes are obvious. There was a terracotta tile roof over that balcony that was torn down and not replaced. There used to be another set of original tile steps going to the apt the balcony belongs to which were removed and replaced with what looks like red cement steps – this CAN be seen from the sidewalk… Read more »

Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation
Guest
Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation

Even the name “Cherie Amour” seems perplexing. Will this location be notable due to her exploits or Morrison’s presumed residence? If she thought Morrison was such a draw, why not “Morrison Amour”or just “Morrison House”? We could go on but why bother.

Jimmy Palmieri
Guest

Just out of curiosity…..is anyplace that Jim Morrison peed going to be declared historic in Weho?

Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation
Guest
Don't Tread on Authentic Historic Preservation

Seems like the flimsiest attempt to justify landmark status. The relentless pursuit of this clIm to then justify eventual B& B status appears to be the major point. Will Ms. Woods then claim financial hardship to leverage her case? Wonder if she could be getting real or virtual crib notes from a knowledgeable insider affiliated with a master of this type of calculated dealing. Yesterday windows, today tiles.

J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

I can not understand how people in west hollywood have demonized the entire name and concept of what it means to be a landlord. A landlord of a property with housing of any kind, paid at the time of purchase the fair market value and thus owns the property. Trying to get the highest price for each rental unit, limited to what the market will pay at any given point. Property ownership is the fincial background of the US economy, and New Construction on property in the US is an major component to The Anmual Gross Revenue of the Country.… Read more »