The developer of a proposed nine-story hotel on the east side of La Brea Avenue is moving forward with a presentation of a revised design plan to the city’s Design Review Subcommittee next week.
As proposed, the hotel would have 98 units, with 90 one of them hotel rooms and the remainder apartments on the top two floors of the building.
The project is designed by Neil M. Denari Architects. The developer is listed as a limited liability company using the address of the building. 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 project was presented to the Design Review Subcommittee in August of last year, at which time Gwynne Pugh, the city’s contract design consultant, gave it overall praise but also suggested some changes.
“The biggest concern had been at grade level with the presence of numerous driveways, which made the pedestrian environment difficult to negotiate,” Pugh said in a report that will go to the Design Review Subcommittee. “This has been significantly remedied by providing for one point of access to La Brea utilizing the existing alley which has been widened to provide for a fire lane.”
Pugh also praised the architect’s decision to change and lighten the color of its façade from a dark gray to a more silvery gray.
“The overall effect of the design of the skin of the building is that of an object draped in cloth,” Pugh said. “… The skin itself is a satin silvery gray with windows that are set into to the skin.”
“This is a very elegant and sophisticated building well-thought-out. The issues of
previous concern have largely been addressed,” Pugh’s report says.
The report notes that the proposed building is relatively large compared to the scale of development in the surrounding area. “The largest buildings in the neighborhood are some six-story residential buildings on Santa Monica Boulevard to the west.
“Consequently, this building will act as a significant marker and gateway into the city of West Hollywood. ”
That project comes as a discussion continues about the growth of the city’s hotel industry, whose room tax is the City of West Hollywood’s largest single source of general revenue.
The city’s 20 existing hotels now contain a total of 2,451 rooms. With the completion of the Edition by Marriott on Sunset Boulevard, that total will be 2,641 rooms, a 28% increase.
Other projects in various planning stages include the Arts Club at 8920 Sunset Blvd. (15 rooms) Faring’s proposed Robertson Lane project (251 rooms) and its proposed Orange Grove and Santa Monica Boulevard project (74 rooms), and a project proposed for 8950 Sunset Blvd. between Hammond and Hilldale (165 rooms). An internet search shows the 8950 Sunset Blvd. project is associated with Mohamed Al-Marri of Studio City.
Others either under initial review or expected to be submitted for review are the Perry, another Faring project, at 8816 Beverly Blvd. (130 rooms), an unnamed project proposed for 9034 Sunset Blvd. (185 rooms) and a hotel proposed for the current site of Barney’s Beanery at 8447-8457 Santa Monica Blvd. (113 rooms).
A study of the local hotel market conducted in 2016 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 the Jeremy 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 City Council Lauren Meister 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 year and the Marriott Edition is under construction, some developers have shifted their focus south. Examples of that are Faring’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.
At its meeting, the Subcommittee also will review revised designs for three two-story townhome units at 926 Hilldale Ave.
The Design Review Subcommittee will meet at 5:30 p.m. on May 10 at the Plummer Park Community Center at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. at Martel. There usually is parking available in the lot in front of the community center. If the subcommittee approves the design the project then goes before the Planning Commission for a public hearing.
Correction: An earlier version of this story erred in saying that the proposed 1040 N La Brea Ave. project would have 118 rooms. In fact the developer is proposing 98 rooms. The story has been corrected.