The Sunset Tower? Another One Is Planned for Sunset Boulevard

Illustration of the proposed 19-story hotel at 9304 Sunset Blvd. (R&A Architecture & Design).

The Charles Company is proposing to build a 19-story hotel topped with a helicopter landing pad on Sunset Boulevard next to the Marriott Edition, a hotel whose developer announced yesterday that it has reached a major step toward completion.

A design plan for the 9034 Sunset project that was submitted to the city identifies it as the Sunset Tower, a name likely to be contested by Jeff Klein, owner of the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel at 8358 Sunset Blvd., 1.4 miles to the east.

According to the documents filed with the City of West Hollywood, the 9034 Sunset hotel would have 185 rooms and include 17,000 square feet of banquet and event space, 5,700 square feet of hotel-related retail space, a 7,500 square feet of restaurant space, a 915-square-foot art gallery and 14 apartments. It would have 550 parking spaces on four underground parking levels.

The site of the 9034 Sunset hotel project, outlined in red. The empty dirt area to its left is now occupied by the under construction  Edition Hotel.

The 1.3-acre site  sits on the southeast corner of Sunset and Doheny. The 13-story Edition, whose opening date has yet to be announced, has 190 hotel rooms and 20 condominium units. The Edition would in essence be wrapped around part of the western side of the proposed new project. Both are bordered on the south by Harratt Street. The site consists of four lots with some zoned for residential and others for commercial use.

The 9034 Sunset site also is the location of Arman and Mark Gabay’s Charles Company. The Charles Company’s other major project in West Hollywood is Melrose Triangle, which consists of three buildings with a total of 300,000 square feet on a plot of land bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Almont Drive at the city’s border with Beverly Hills. Urbanize LA recently reported that Charles Company gave tenants of existing buildings on that property a 30-day notice to move out so that construction can begin.

The 9034 Sunset project is designed by R & A Architects & Design, designer of the Perry, a hotel proposed for the corner of Beverly and Robertson boulevards, and of the Doheny Residences, now under construction.

The proposal will have to go before the city’s Planning Commission and that commission’s Design Review Subcommittee and ultimately before the City Council for approval given that its size far exceeds what current zoning regulations allow for the site. For example, the city’s Sunset Specific Plan limits the height of a building on the commercial lot to 100 feet, far lower than the 19 stories proposed by the Charles Company.

The project is likely to reignite an earlier debate about whether the city is allowing construction of too many hotels. The city’s 19 currently open hotels contain a total of 2,346 rooms.

With the completion and opening 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 of 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. Also under review is a proposed 91-room hotel on La Brea Avenue near Santa Monica Boulevard.

All-in-all, the number of hotel rooms in West Hollywood will have increased by 71% from the number currently open after the Kimpton and Edition open and if all other projects under construction or consideration are approved. That would mean a significant increase in the city’s hotel room occupancy tax, its largest single source of general fund revenue. However a study commissioned by the city found that the additional hotel rooms would put downward pressure on room rates and thus have a negative impact on existing hotels.

Adding more hotels also means a continuing evolution of the reputation of Sunset Boulevard, once seen as the center of rock and roll and a major nightlife destination.

A BusinessWeek article titled “Porn Out, Hotels In as Sunset Strip Reborn” published in 2014 noted the changes and their impact. “It was rocked by the Doors in the 1960s, Van Halen in the ’70s and Guns N’ Roses in the ’80s,” the article said. “Now California’s Sunset Strip is getting a new sound: the booms of buildings being demolished and new ones developed.”

  1. I’ve commented ad nausea that if there is going to be a large development, at least make it twice as tall with half the foot print. This ONE is just that. Andf being next to an office tower, it fits in. I’ll say as always – with hotels – THERE NEED TO BE A HUGE CARE PORT up front so cars can pull in stop and wait for valet, unloading et al. One car hanging out of the driveway waiting to get in (just one car) can slow or stop Traffic at rush hour with a rippling effect for everyone.

  2. Well the people who live in the north facing units will get to see a giant HBO billboard everytime they look outside. If HBO was on top of this they should make the first few floors a screening room (like at the DGA) just for HBO premieres. Would be a perfect red carpet walkway with whatever they’re promoting on the billboard looming above them.

  3. Amazing design, would be a great and needed addition to WEHO. I used to get my hair cut in the salon on that property but it’s a big waste of space and few businesses beside night clubs seem to make it as they also closed. The area needs walking traffic and tourist provide that and spending so we can support the small and mid sized businesses on Sunset. We can’t have all these cool shops close because so few people hang out on Sunset during the day.

  4. I would prefer that the hotel be built taller so it stands out like a Manhattan sky scraper. Maybe 40 or 50 stories.

  5. This is hideous! It looks like the architect’s cad program malfunctioned. I’m glad Todd Bianco, Donald Azars, erik, JC and Josua88 aren’t on the Planning Committee.

  6. I think it’s ugly but then I live right next door to this site. Moreover, will anyone want to buy one of the condos being built right next door by the Marriott Edition if this project gets approved? Also, the above rendering doesn’t show how this site sits adjacent to the Marriott. I went to a presentation of this project back in August 2016. A model was presented and one can see how jammed up this project will be next to the Marriott. SAD!

  7. I love this building.

    We need to bring down the cost of rental housing.

    This city has one track only.
    I think it has been a city by and for developers since inception.

  8. The architecture is fine one this one, but the “Sunset Strip” is becoming the “Sunset Strip of Hotels”. Sad.

  9. I would just like to say to Donald E. Azars: give up on the “village” thing. It is long gone and never was in parts of the City, especially on Sunset.

  10. There are a couple very positive things about this design. First, it’s unique and quite imaginative. Second, it’s not built solely as a giant billboard like many of the new buildings on Sunset. If they can actually make the building look that cool, I’d want it to go forward. Traffic is always a problem that I don’t think can be mitigated without a subway and we know that isn’t going to happen.

  11. It’s beautiful. I love the departure from “traditional” building design. A great example is the Peterson Automotive Museum. I do think though, to help reduce car traffic, WEHO should consider some sort of monorail on SMB and Sunset.

  12. What is the occupancy rate of the hotels that already exist? It isn’t like there is a convention center in the area to keep these hotels booked year round with conferences and such.

  13. Now that is a cool building. Sometimes you need to make exceptions for great architecture which is needed on Sunset Blvd.

  14. I love the off-the-wall architecture. Not sure about the property extended to Fountain Ave however, as that throughway is already HEAVILY travelled. In fact I was victim of car wreck on it recently. SUNSET BLVD is becoming HOTEL ROW and the financial value to our city is obvious, but the traffic (cars, trucks, deliveries, customers, lack of parking, dangerous access to buildings) is a HUGE problem which nobody seems to either want to address or have any alternative solutions too. THAT will affect customers in the future. And it’s already affected out “village” changing it into the type of city we tried to avoid when petitioning to become an independent city. Does anybody really care?

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