Opinion: Decline to Sign — To Save the Factory, Robertson Lane Must Move Forward

An illustration of the Robertson Lane project with the Factory building in the foreground (Hodgetts + Fung Architects)

Five years ago, I brought a plan to the people of West Hollywood to develop a neighborhood-friendly retail, restaurant and hotel project on the block between Robertson Boulevard and La Peer. My team and I sat down with historic preservation experts, neighborhood groups, city leaders and individual stakeholders across West Hollywood to create Robertson Lane.

We heard loud and clear that the community wanted us to Save The Factory. The people of West Hollywood spoke, and we listened.

The Factory became the centerpiece of Robertson Lane. We developed more than a dozen historic preservation measures to Save The Factory in consultation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Los Angeles Conservancy, West Hollywood Preservation Alliance and the ONE LGBT Archives.

Three weeks ago, the West Hollywood City Council approved the Robertson Lane project after years of analysis, evaluation and public input at numerous hearings. Even the Planning Commission UNANIMOUSLY voted in support of Robertson Lane.

More recently, however, opponents of our plan to save and restore The Factory have started going door to door collecting signatures, trying to overturn the City Council’s approval of Robertson Lane.

Some of the opposition canvassers have outright lied, saying that Robertson Lane would result in the total demolition of the Factory/former Studio One nightclub. Some have claimed Robertson Lane got a waiver to pay hotel workers LESS than the minimum wage.

I cannot allow these lies to go unrefuted. We cannot stand by and let special interests overturn the careful and deliberate process of our city’s elected and appointed leaders.

The truth is that Robertson Lane will thoughtfully restore the Factory building piece by piece (an $8 million plan), following the Secretary of Interior’s standards for Historic Preservation. The process is required to be overseen by trained specialists.

Robertson Lane also includes an entire ‘Workers Bill of Rights’ to give hotel workers a living wage and workplace protections.

Professional archivists and LGBT historians will collaborate to create on-site educational displays about Studio One and the club’s cultural significance within Robertson Lane.

If there is any confusion, it is because Robertson Lane’s opponents have been spreading blatant falsehoods. So, I’ve decided to stand up and fight back to protect a project that will benefit West Hollywood.

To truly “Save The Factory” as part of Robertson Lane, I am asking my fellow residents to “DECLINE TO SIGN” this misleading referendum petition.

It’s the only way to protect Robertson Lane and ensure meaningful restoration of the Factory.

As a local West Hollywood resident, I want to thank the people of my city for their input, feedback and engagement. We are truly a community that cares. Your feedback made Robertson Lane a unique and collaborative project. Now help us to make sure it gets built!

All you have to do to “Save the Factory” is “DECLINE TO SIGN!” the referendum petition. Visit declinetosignweho.com for more information.


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Carrie
Guest
Carrie

Really, JASON. You’ve done enough. This is an example of mendacious greed in action. Illoulian sent out thousands of fliers urging residents to remove signatures on petitions already signed against this monstrosity he wants to build. Mr. Slick has a picture of a dog on the front and text that insinuates that if you stick with him your doggie will have a nice park to play in. All of those mailings went into our trash bins. Nice try, but we’re on to your B S. This creep is now going about ruining Long Beach. We need to block him from… Read more »

Nora
Guest

no more construction.

JJ
Guest
JJ

yeah, that’s reality. (eye roll)

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

How about following the zoning laws on this stop and not just ignoring them with a zone text amendment to build this high and put a hotel in an area that isnt zoned for that

Manny
Guest
Manny

I Decline To Sign

JJ
Guest
JJ

thumbs up~

MTA
Guest
MTA

This did not pass unanimously through city council. I’d be interested to see how much money Faring gave to the yes votes campaigns.
Where does this Jason live? In weho? Does the impact of this project affect him?
WeHo is quickly in danger of losing its charm to this mainstream development. Why is this luxury hotel, ( that people are checking into by helicopter!) avoiding paying union wages?
A lot sketchy fog around this project. Even if built who could enjoy it after all this? Not the locals..

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Haha, wow, you are really behind on this project. This has been a four year process, with lots of public input. If you would bother to read, you would see that Jason’s business is located in West Hollywood. The vote was 4 to 1, and that is pretty normal, if you know anything about Lauren Meister. There is nothing sketchy, nor foggy about this project. It is really attractive, and well designed, and they are even saving a part of the old Factory building. It will be an asset to the neighborhood, especially local businesses in the area.

JJ
Guest
JJ

Right on kab1200! Lauren Meister ALWAYS votes no on all larger development projects. And so does her appointee on the Planning Commission. No surprise there. The project was overwhelming supported by the public that showed up to all the meetings that were held where this project was discussed. The public got this project because the public wanted this project.

BJ
Guest
BJ

I’m signing. No new developments.

Christian
Guest
Christian

Closing off streets is a bad idea. Stop turning West Hollywood into the suburbs. Stop the development, you greedy bores.

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Christian, where the heck did you get the idea they are closing off streets?

JJ
Guest
JJ

Yeah, no new developments…what city on the planet halts all future development? That’s just a ridiculous statement.

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

Good Job! BJ

Carrie h
Guest
Carrie h

If you sign, you’re signing FOR the development. This is what he wants- confusing the issue.

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

Building to nine stories high and 241 hotel rooms is not what this area under zoning law is permitted. The city council ignored the zoning laws with a zone text amendment to push this massive development into an already over stressed traffic area.New development needs to be in size and scale to the area and realistically fit into the capacity the roads have. This does not. Why do we have zoning laws? To not allow a developer to build whatever they want. Whats the point of a zoning law if the developer can just donate to the council members and… Read more »

Caboom
Guest
Caboom

A 241 room hotel is PERMITTED under the General plan of the City of West Hollywood. The reason is that it meets the goals of the city. Zoning law is amended and redrawn all the time based on a city’s economic and demographics. This argument is a weak one because it only looks backwards. A city has a responsibility to be forward thinking and make decisions based on the future welfare of its constituents. West Hollywood wants to be a pedestrian friendly city, it wants to be known and celebrated for its culture of nightlife, fashion and creative businesses. The… Read more »

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

I would agree to disagree. The buzz words of “General plan” and double talk of “based on a city’s economic and demographics.” Along with this nice spin of “West Hollywood wants to be a pedestrian friendly city, it wants to be known and celebrated for its culture of nightlife, fashion and creative businesses.” Is so full of so much PR vocabulary, im sure it tools some good cash to develop that narrative. Is all spin, spin spin. If this is such a great project why are you spending money to try and squash its challenge? How much has “Faring” spent… Read more »

Pete P
Guest
Pete P

I’m sorry, but this is hilarious. The General Plan is not a buzzword. It’s a detailed plan of land use and development goals for the City that was adopted by the Council after hundreds of hours of community outreach meetings, hearings, etc.

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

I’m sorry Pete that’s a bunch of buzz words also “hundreds of hours of community outreach meetings, hearings, etc.” If you want to know who set the goals for the city and created the general plan it wasnt the residents. Maybe you should do some research on THE GENERAL PLAN and how it was inserted into the community by ignoring the residents wants. And THE GENERAL PLAN was a way to side step the spot zoning the city got sued for at the palms project. THE GENERAL PLAN is the developer driven agenda paid for by campaign donations to the… Read more »

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

Now faring is mailing out spin flyers to say they are saving the factory. They are not saving it they are putting its shell into a 9 story hotel. And on top of that their efforts to stop the democratic process of a petition arrived in the mail as well with their counter petition? That’s some big money being spent to shove this massive development into weho. If its so great why is faring spending the type of money and techniques used to get council members elected with glossy mailers? Is this the best the weho democracy can do? Squash… Read more »

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

I totally agree, Caboom. Thanks for telling the facts.

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

And BTW this space is a LGBT Club tonight a week. Your taking this away and not replacing it. So the development does what to save that?

Fridays Gay night https://www.facebook.com/blowweho/
Saturdays Gay Night https://www.facebook.com/Suavecito-602935583389803/?hc_ref=ARToNxx9wrGDYukZa7QskJJeDBf2UVDsVEuAVncNLg2msOxYEJifQ9bBwJUfQVcgx54

Joshua88
Guest
Joshua88

Why are they fighting your project?
What is behind the politics?

JJ
Guest
JJ

The only people fighting against the project is the union. They don’t like the fact that the hotel component is non-union (the want the union dues!). Even though the workers are to get a living wage. The union has sent in people that don’t even live in this community to try a last ditch effort to stop a project that was overwhelming supported by the community as evident in the public hearings. This project has gone through the process and the people that live here have spoken. WE WANT THIS PROJECT.

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

Wrong many people oppose this

Lucy
Guest

I will sign your NO document on this huge concrete intrusion.

Ron Harris
Guest
Ron Harris

Everyone’s talking about building preservation, minimum wages and so on, but the issue to me comes down to one word: TRAFFIC. WeHo has one of the worst thoroughfares for drivers: Santa Monica Blvd. From La Cienega to Doheny, traffic is horrendous, and constantly getting worse. Many drivers ignore the pedestrian crossing signals, as do many pedestrians. The signals are not networked to provide intelligent, coordinated phase changes. Many people just ignore them, especially when traffic is stopped at lights to the east and west but the crossing signal is in its own little world and timing. We all know this.… Read more »

Caboom
Guest
Caboom

The traffic that everyone complains about will have a better chance of being mitigated by having a hotel property and 750+ parking spaces with entrances on both La peer and Robertson. Currently traffic gets gridlocked because of the nature of the nightlife and the parking is inefficient. I highly doubt that every Weekend the new development is going to have hundreds of people lining up down Robertson and traffic jammed up trying to get into a small parking lot that you can’t make a left hand turn into…which causes people to argue and stop and try to turn around. I… Read more »

JJ
Guest
JJ

Exactly.

MTA
Guest
MTA

This reply doesn’t address the helicopter noise.

JJ
Guest
JJ

there is no helicopter pad

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Agree completely

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

That’s right Caboom!

Kevin Smalley
Guest
Kevin Smalley

Yes. Yes! YES!

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

I agree with Ron!

Barry
Guest
Barry

Over and over we hear how Faring engages the local community on things that affect our community and this op/ed is a great example. I’m very suspicious of an outside union trying to stop a supported development at the last minute feels like blackmail to me…

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

As an involved West Hollywood citizen and former member of the City’s redevelopment agency (EPAC), I have been present for many developers proposals over the last 15 years or so. West Hollywood has always been a desirable city to invest in, and there have been some developers who think they can just come in and plunk down whatever plan that they offer, and that West Hollywood would agree to it. A case in point was when Casden tried to development Movietown Plaza…I swear that their design was a concrete cinder block built to the property line….and that didn’t fly. But… Read more »

Wesley Bridle
Guest
Wesley Bridle

Thank you for your insightful comment, Rob. I have a question, by your estimation on this project and given what you said above, do you feel the public has given ample input into the Robertson Lane Hotel project?

I ask because the canvaser who came to my door informed me that “the city Council voted on this project with no input from the community.” Among other things.

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

The canvaser was incorrect…vastly incorrect. This project had numerous public outreach meetings well before it came to the Planning Commission, which was also a public meeting, before it then came before Council, again a public meeting. So to say that there was no community input is just a bald faced lie.

JJ
Guest
JJ

Right on Rob.

Shawn Thompson
Guest
Shawn Thompson

Rob I have to agree to disagree with you we dint need to kill all those mom and pops for the Avalon Monstrosity. Second closing the French Market Place a long time LGBT restaurant and 12 step meeting fellowship destination didn’t serve the needs of the community. Its serving the Needs of the developer. Really a hotel where the French Market was is serving the community? I would have to disagree with you and your take on what community out reach is and want the residents want.

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Bravo Jason, keep up the fight. They are spreading all kinds of misinformation about you and your company and your connection to the city council.

JJ
Guest
JJ

Bravo! Our neighborhood wants this project and we will fight these outside interest groups!