Robertson Lane and 9091 Santa Monica Blvd. Go Before Historic Preservation Commission Next Monday

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Megdal
Illustration of proposed rehabilitation of 9091 Santa Monica Blvd. (Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

The environmental impact report for the Robertson Lane hotel and retail project will go before West Hollywood’s Historic Preservation Commission for review on Monday.

The commission also will hear a proposal by Taylor Megdal to designate as a cultural resource the empty building on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Doheny. Megdal proposes to convert the building, whose exact address is 9091 Santa Monica Blvd., into a commercial space with a ground floor restaurant and a second-floor hotel with six guest rooms. He would keep the roof-top billboard that currently is in place.  If the building were designated as a cultural resource, Megdal would be eligible for tax deductions to help pay for its restoration.

The building, vacant for more than 25 years, was constructed in 1924. Theresa Grimes of GPA Consulting, a firm engaged by the city to survey commercial buildings to determine their cultural significance,  decided that changes to the building over time make in ineligible for designation as a national or state landmark. However, GPA has said the building could be considered for such designation by the city because of its ties to the streetcar era in the 1920s.

An illustration of the Robertson Lane project. (Hodgetts + Fung Architects)

The Robertson Lane project will extend from 645-681 Robertson Blvd. west to 648-654 La Peer Drive. Two of the five HPC members were somewhat critical of the project during a review in May 2017. The project must be reviewed by the HPC because the 1.9 acre site includes the historically designated building known as “The Factory.” At Monday’s meeting the HPC will consider the final environmental impact report on the project.

The project’s developer, Faring (formerly known as Faring Capital), headed by WeHo resident Jason Illoulian, had originally planned to demolish the Factory. But Illoulian now intends to incorporate it into the Robertson Lane project, saying he understands its historic value.

Erected in 1929, the Factory building has connections to both motion picture history and LGBT history. Between 1929 and 1946, the building was the home of the Mitchell Motion Picture Camera factory, one of the early makers of motion picture cameras. Between 1974 and 1992, the building was the site of the large Studio One nightclub, a famous dance club which catered primarily to gay patrons.

The commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 22 in rooms 5 and 6 of the Plummer Park Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. between Vista and Fuller.


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David
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kab1200, good point about the original sign, although I still think it’s not the right thing to do at this particular entrance to WeHo in the 21st century. I also think they could have done something more with this building a long time ago, apart from tarting it up and keeping it empty. This property has a great deal of visabilty and the right tenent would benefit. There is parking in the area and other adjacent businesses have the same issue. I think giving Mills Act tax credits to property owners who own (on viable sites) without trying to mprove… Read more »

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Hey David, there are billboards at most major intersections on Santa Monica Blvd, as well as, Sunset. The building was not being utilized, but at least it wasn’t an eye sore. I am glad to see if being repurposed.

David
Guest

There is a part of me that says a property owner that leaves a building empty for 25 years shouldn’t be allowed to apply for tax credits (I’m assuming it’s Mills Act). If you can afford to hold the property and do nothing this long apart from erect a billboard, you can afford to forgo the right to public money. If the billboard stays at this entrance to our city, the tax credits should go.

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

David, did you see the old picture of the building in its original state? There’s a billboard there from day one. Also, they had spruced up the building a number of years ago, so not sure why you found it to be so offensive. It’s a very hard corner to develop, especially due to their being no parking lot for it.

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Hope these both pass and get approval to move forward.

JJ
Guest
JJ

“Changes to the building over time make in ineligible for designation as a national or state landmark.” Happy to see that it could be deemed a local, city landmark and this building repurposed after being vacant and an eyesore for the last 25 years! YAY!! Also very happy with the Robertson Lane project and thrilled that the developer found a way to squash the outcries about demolishing the old factory building. Another YAY!! Two blighted areas of our neighborhood will be transformed into beautiful, active spaces once again. Let’s get these built!

fine7760
Guest

Although I would not want to see the building at Santa Monica and Doheny torn down but instead designated as a historical state landmark because of it’s connection to the streetcar era. It seems a little strange in as much as the former Pacific Electric streetcar yard now the MTA Division 7 yard has not been disgnated a historical site by the city or state. Could it be the politicians cannot accept it because it’s just not the trendy type of operation they can embrace? Well I can’t stomach the Sheriffs Station, fire stations or city hall which I believe… Read more »