A Developer Has Bought the Retail Block on the Sunset Strip that is Home to the Viper Room

The south side of Sunset Boulevard between San Vicente and Larrabee.

The evolution of West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip continues with the sale of the property on the south side of Sunset from San Vicente Boulevard to Larrabee street for $80 million.

The sale, first reported by L.A. Business Journal, includes the building that currently houses the famed Viper Room nightclub at 8852 Sunset Blvd. Other businesses on the block are the Aahs costume store, Bar Code barber shop, the Liquor Market and Ta-Ke Sushi and Amarone restaurants. It also includes a lot at 1029 Larrabee just south of the intersection with Sunset. The businesses are housed for the most part in one-story buildings.

The Business Journal quotes CoStar, the real estate market analytics company, as saying the businesses, with their rear parking lots, cover 16,000 square feet of the 38,000 square feet of land on which they sit. The buyer is identified as 8850 Sunset, a limited liability company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., whose public records don’t disclose its owner. However, a representative for the company has said it hasn’t yet decided what to do with the property, on which it closed on June 15. The demolition of the buildings on that block for construction of new ones is likely to draw objections from fans of the Viper Room, which remains a popular rock music club. It originally was a jazz bar called the Melody Room, a hangout of mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen. It became a club called the Central in the 1970s and 1980s. Then Johnny Depp and others bought it and turned it into the Viper Room in 1993.

The purchase is another in a long series of changes on the Sunset Strip that led Businessweek, in a 2014 story, to say the sound that best identifies the Strip these days isn’t rock music but that of “buildings being demolished and new ones developed.”

Among the changes are the planned closure of the Hustler store and its replacement by the exclusive London-based Arts Club, the demolition of the famed House of Blues to be replaced by the Sunset Time and the opening of new hotels such as the Jeremy and soon the Edition.

  1. And don’t try to park behind the businesses in the parking lot off San Vicente. As a customer of Barcode Barbershop, I’ve used the parking there for many months as directed by the business. I was informed today by a parking lot monitor I was no longer allowed parking. The new “situation” definitely sends a “we don’t want you here” message, which can only be reflective of the new ownership. Parking is easily found on Sunset with a meter, haha. Thanks Weho.

  2. I am praying they keep the viper room as well as Aahs! Viper Room has great bands and it’s history should not be thrown away. Aahs is just super convenient as a gift store. I don’t mind bringing some new energy into the strip, but I really don’t want another monster hotel going up. We’re about to get the Edition, we already have the London right there. Hopefully we can get some fun shops and a good restaurant.

  3. Where is the West Hollywood City Council? Headed up by John “Grindr Boss Tweed” Duran they are lined up offering pay for play approval for the development to pass.

    8850 Sunset LLC are two investors: A California FOREIGN Limited Liability Company located in Scottsdale; and a Delaware Limited-Liability Company in Dover, DE.

  4. Someone has got to stop these people from continuing to destroy what makes Hollywood a place people want to visit. If they keep destroying the history of it, what point will there be in anyone going to visit it? All their overpriced hotels and apartments no one can afford will sit empty after they’ve taken away the reasons people go.

  5. So, $80M for the block and they don’t know what they will do with it yet? WeHo around the Strip is slowly becoming a bore, lifeless of what has been it’s energy since the 60’s, the music and sub culture scene. If the council had the spine they’d put a stop to this rampant retail and hotel development. What’s next, The Whisky?

  6. Many a’good nights at the Central and Viper! Soon the Whisky, Rainbow, Comedy Store and all the rest will be bulldozed too.

  7. It will be demolished like so many things along there and replaced with yet another huge hotel. Hold tight to your memories, it’s all that will be left. The worst thing is, developers are not interested in building any new entertainment venues or great looking clubs for a new generation. WeHo doesn’t even have a movie theater complex…and you can’t count the Studs! The Creative City in the heart of the Film Capitol of the World…and not a single first run movie house. Pathetic.

  8. Where is the West Hollywood City Council? They have done NOTHING to preserve the cultural and architectural legacy of the Strip. Their “booster” mentality is ruining what’s left of this city’s heritage. Enough already. Despicable.

  9. Another one bites the dusts! There will be nothing left of WeHo that the city once wanted to make a global brand. Whelp, they did, but we stupidly believed we’d recognize one iota of our once beloved city. Gone are the gays, here are are the strays that come and go, raise our rents, make a buck and with a middle finger close down and leave. Thanks Duran!

  10. Haven’t been to the Strip in years and will likely never return, no matter what they tear down or build over there. In other news, I won’t go back to elementary school, or drive the Toyota I had in College. Life moves on. Get a grip.

    1. We preserve parts of history for the next generations, for nostalgia and new experiences too. That said, I think they should do something like the Factory space. Keep the Viper Room, build around it or even expand it. But I assume this is all a tear down for yet another hotel.

      1. It could be the Viper Room Hotel. It’s would be great with a rock and roll theme. Mid to upscale price range. Kind of a dark, hip space that could incorporate the Viper essence and history. But let’s see what the plan is and be open minded. Perhaps something great is in the works…

  11. How many seconds will it be before a “Save the Viper Room” movement is born?! That whole block needs an enema and hopefully the new owners will redevelop that stretch of The Strip.

    1. JJ, I agree with your comment.

      For those who have expressed their disappointment about the potential loss of the Viper room, or the frustration the strip is changing, I ask you: when is the last time you supported this venue, or spent money on the strip?!!!!

      It is very simple, new clubs would open if demand existed, movie theaters would open if demand existed (BTW tell fellow commenter Jessica, there is a movie theater all they way east on Sunset and Laurel Canyon ha ha.)

      Your memories belong to you, hold them close. But don’t complain about change, especially when it improves the community.

  12. Oh great. They cant even keep tenants since they raised rents in the stretch of the strip and forced many long time tenants out. The greed is strong.

  13. The Viper Room is an historical treasure, as shown by these tidbits from its history: The first band to play there was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (8-14-1993). Adam Duritz, singer for the Counting Crows, was a bartender there, as was actress Christina Applegate. There’s a long list of other fascinating historical facts with the Viper Room, of course.

    1. Please tell the story correctly. I managed the Viper Room for the first 3.5 years it was open. Yes Adam and Christina tended bar but they were not bartenders. They were friends of our that decided to jump behind the bar for fun. There are a whole lot celebs that tended bar at the club. What historical facts are fascinating? There was nothing fascinating about the Viper Room. It was a dark wicked place where stupid celebrity includimg myself came and ran a muck. The models we were all datimg were under age but it was ok. We were all famous so the laws and morality did not apply to use. We were nothing but a bunch of stuck up elitists and nothing positive ever happened at the Viper Room. Funny thing is everyone thinks they know so much about the club but no one knows the truth. Sure is was terrible what happened to River but that was mild comepared to some od the things that happend that the public never heard about. I can just say this. Praise God for getting me out of that place. I am far away from J.D. and the rest of the lizard people. I run with Jesus now and Ill say this. Tear that pagen den down asap.

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