New Hotel Proposed for WeHo’s Eastside

hotel
Illustration of a southeast view of the hotel proposed for 1040 N. La Brea Ave.(Neil M. Denari Architects)

West Hollywood’s hotel industry continues to spread beyond the Sunset Strip, with a new proposal to build a hotel on La Brea Avenue just south of Santa Monica Boulevard on the city’s eastside.

The nine-story building would contain 91 hotel rooms, a restaurant, an outdoor dining area, a roof-top lounge and a pool. It also would include eight apartments. It would face the east side of the Gateway Shopping Plaza on La Brea.

The project will go before the Planning Commission’s Design Review Subcommittee for review on Aug. 24.

That project comes as a debate is underway about the city’s hotel industry, whose room tax is the City of West Hollywood’s largest single source of revenue. The city’s 19 existing hotels now contain a total of 2,346 rooms. With the completion of the Kimpton La Peer on La Peer Drive and the Edition by Marriott on Sunset Boulevard, that total will be 2,641 rooms, a 28% increase.

Other projects approved for construction or under review would add 739 rooms, an increase 45% over the current number of rooms.

If Korman Communities is successful in getting the city to let it convert a 110-unit condominium building on 8500 Sunset Blvd. into an extended-stay hotel, and Faring’s Jason Illoulian succeeds in his effort to build a 130-room hotel named the Perry on the southwest corner of Beverly and Robertson boulevards, and VE Equities is able to get city approval for a hotel with 113 rooms on the site of Barney’s Beanery, another 353 rooms would be added to the city’s stock.

Combined with the other projects under construction or review, that would mean an increase of 60% in rooms over the number today for a total of 3,743.

hotel
Facade of the hotel proposed for 1040 N. La Brea Ave.

A study of the local hotel market conducted last year by CBRE Hotels predicted the hotel room occupancy rate would decrease to 68% by 2020 from the 82% average predicted for this year when the study was conducted. CBRE, whose study didn’t include the proposed hotel rooms at 8500 Sunset Blvd., the proposed project on Beverly and Robertson boulevards, the Barney’s Beanery project or the 1040 La Brea project, predicted that the average occupancy rate wouldn’t return to 80% until 2026.  While some people, such as Councilmember John Duran, note that the addition of more rooms means the city’s hotel room occupancy tax revenue will continue to grow, hotel owners and managers have quietly expressed concern about the increase in competition.

That study prompted a proposal from then-Mayor Lauren Meister, now a City Council member, to halt construction of new hotels until their impact could be studied further.  The City Council rejected that proposal but did agree to require a study of a “no hotel” option in future environmental impact studies and a study of the financial impact of their project on the existing hotel market.

While the city’s hotels largely have been clustered along Sunset Boulevard, where the Jeremy opened last week and the Marriott Edition is under construction, some developers have shifted their focus south. Examples of that are Illoulian’s plan to build the Robertson Lane hotel and shopping plaza on Robertson Boulevard south of Santa Monica, the construction of the Kimpton on La Peer and Illoulian’s proposal for the Perry on the corner of Robertson and Beverly boulevards.

Gwynne Pugh of Urban Studio, the city’s urban design consultant, gave the La Brea project an overall favorable review in a report for the Design Review Subcommittee.

Noting that “this is a relatively large building compared to the scale of development in the surrounding area,” Pugh said “this building will act as a significant marker and gateway into the city of West Hollywood. In addition, the choice of color, a dark grey, really creates an eye-catching and slightly foreboding vision.”

Pugh said his biggest concern with the project was the three driveways on its northern side and that its southern exit “could aggravate congestion on La Brea.” He also suggested the subcommittee consider the effect on the neighborhood of the sky bar on the ninth floor and the color of the building.

The identity of the developer of the project is not clear. As is common, it is registered as a limited liability company using the address of the building. But its office address is that of RPM Investments, a firm that specializes in helping investors sell property and reinvest the proceeds quickly to reduce tax payments.

The Design Review Subcommittee will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Plummer Park Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd.

Aerial view of the site of the 1040 N. La Brea Ave. hotel

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Lynn Russell
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Lynn Russell

Ok Todd, let’s talk about this. Have a fair minded developer, perhaps two in mind. Please ask Hank to connect us as I’m not on Facebook.

Todd Bianco
Guest

I’m not sure there’s much we can do except get the City to turn down the project. The developer of the hotel already owns the land and buildings on site. He thinks his best way to make money is to build a hotel. I’m more than happy to write to the City Council, but how do you compel a land owner to do something different? You can’t make them sell either. If a project is within the zoning code, legally, the city has to go along with a project. If the developer needs a zoning change, then it should be… Read more »

J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

Lynn: Nobody can force our government in weho to do anything. HOWEVER, that power could arise in county and//or State government. Were the city involved in anyway to assist this (or any private developer) to “get around” ANY Zoning Restrictions, ANY misleading the necessary “new parking spots built to get this increased size, ANY City Government (even a private business hired to disguise City behind it) in meeting the new oversized zoning exception with the number of new green space, new tree planting, OR HERE a Hotel Being built over an old car service center, and a query FILING A… Read more »

Todd Bianco
Guest

I like Lynn’s idea because it is something that is desperately needed by local residents. I’ve seen the stack of invoices on the desk of the owner and they are from everywhere in the area. I’ve chatted with many customers as I wait and they are all happy they’ve found a good place to have work done that doesn’t break the bank. One man from Palmdale brought his daughter’s car there because it’s so hard to find good, fair, honest mechanics anywhere! But without reasonable rent, these kinds of businesses can’t exist in our neighborhood. The ground floor could be… Read more »

Lynn Russell
Guest
Lynn Russell

Building hotels as cash cows is just another trick to avoid meaningful neighborhood development where folks might actually be interested in residing. More transients that don’t give a wit about the city in the long run are not helping the residents. Cater to those with no connections..Fine! City staff might move out of their silos and actual circulate in various locals to see what is actually happening and not relying on their windshield/drive by assessments. This project arrived at Design Review recently with scarcely a comment. All very slick graphics with engineered lighting making it look like the Jefferson Memorial.… Read more »

J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

Who has ever said, or even thought “weho needs even more new hotels built??”

Well, everyone involved with the city budget has – for the high hotel revenue that goes into the exorbitant annual budget, that always seems short of funds for basic needs, fixes, clean ups, crime prevention …. as this shows.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I agree with Mark. The area is crap. The number of homeless and hookers of indeterminate sex is quite high. Imagine tourists who have made their first ever trip to Hollywood and then look at their faces when they see the neighborhood. This area has been dodgy for decades. It has always been an industrial/commercial zone. I know it quite well since I’ve been working nearby for almost 40 years.

Mark
Guest
Mark

This hotel will be a bust. Nobody is going to stay at a hotel at LaBrea & Santa Monica Blvd unless it’s a cheap deal. If someone is stupid enough to build this then go for it. Personally I prefer that Johann’s is able to keep his business alive.

George Hirst
Guest
George Hirst

With the majority of the council members getting kick backs from the developers West Hollywood is on it’s way to becoming a Las Vegas type city.

Development Woes
Guest
Development Woes

Please folks, study the report for Design Review on Thursday, August 24 @ 5:30 posted on WeHo.Org. This structure is not the corner property but rather mid block and it’s southern expanse will have a lovely view of the cement works, its western facade facing Target @ The Gateway. Realistically not many would choose this site as a residence so the development appears to be a convoluted hotel/quasi residential (9 units)/commercial affair that qualifies for bonuses without any obvious welcoming ambiance. It’s a financial calculation at best. It does however with its seemingly soulless “foreboding” appearance as described by G.… Read more »

Jack
Guest
Jack

It’s CIM.

Development Woes
Guest
Development Woes

@Todd Bianco: So let’s defeat this project in favor of preserving the auto service shop which undoubtedly serves more residents of Weho and the surrounding area that a hotel will Lol! OR if the development really wants to be community minded, incorporate several slick new bays for service rather than for lame businesses that come and go. Now THAT would truly be a community benefit.

Christopher Roth
Guest

A perfect addition to the area will hopefully spark additional construction down LaBrea.

Todd Bianco
Guest

@DevelopmentWoes… I’ve talked with Mike @Johann’s about this issue. They have been looking for a new home with little luck. Either the place is too small or the rent is so egregious that it doesn’t make good business sense. Dare I say that they are the best – and yes most honest – MB/BMW/Volvo diesel mechanics I’ve ever found.

That property has been for sale and in development purgatory for years now.

I don’t see it being a “positive” with a view of the Gateway center and worse, just a stone’s throw from a very active concrete factory.