The Arts Club on Sunset Boulevard Comes Before the City Council for Final Approval

Illustration of the Sunset Strip facade of the Arts Club during daylight hours (Gensler Architects)

The West Hollywood City Council on Monday will be asked to grant zoning changes that will permit construction of a nine-story building on Sunset Boulevard that will house a private arts club that a city report says has “the potential to bring other arts and creative industry uses to this portion of West Hollywood.”

The Arts Club, a spinoff of the famed and exclusive club in London, will replace Hustler Hollywood, a branch of a chain of erotic clothing and accessories stores named after the eponymous porn magazine that is located on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hilldale Avenue.

The City Council must approve the project because it is 90,000 square feet larger and 100 feet higher than what is currently allowed on the site. (However, the removal of a previously planned helipad has reduced the necessary height increase to 80 feet). It already has drawn opposition from some of those who live in the neighborhood behind it, who have cited concerns about the shadows it will cast and possible noise from its construction and from a proposed rooftop pool.

The Arts Club was founded in 1863 in London by a group that included author Charles Dickens. The private club, somewhat similar to the SoHo House club, which is further west on the Sunset Strip, will be for creative people such as writers, artists, designers, etc. Membership in the London club costs the equivalent of $2,547 in British pounds

The building is designed by architect Andy Cohen of Gensler. The Sunset Boulevard-facing façade will be angled so that each floor is slightly smaller than the floor below, with the top floor being about a third smaller than the ground level. It will also feature vertical glass panels, or fins, on the outside to create a unique appearance.

The building will have 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail/restaurant space and space for live music performance and rehearsals, plus a 2,200 square-foot public art gallery. The second, third and fourth floors will have 46,000 square-feet of office space for creative-type businesses, while floors five through nine will be for the 52,500-square-foot Arts Club, including ten hotel rooms which only members can rent, plus dining rooms, bar, lounge and rooftop pool area.

With space for 351 cars in five levels of underground parking, those cars will be parked by a fully automated system, similar to the “robo-garage” behind City Hall.

A report to the City Council from the city’s Planning & Development Services Department notes that construction of the project “would result in significant and unavoidable environmental impacts related to noise … (and that) the proposed building will be of a much larger scale than the residential development to the south with minimal step-backs or articulation on the southern facade. That said, this juxtaposition is not out of context or character with other buildings along this portion of Sunset Boulevard; namely, the 9000 Sunset building, the London West Hollywood Hotel, and the hotel that is currently under construction at 9040 Sunset Boulevard.”

The Planning Department report notes that the Arts Club will provide $13.5 million in benefits to the city. That includes the art gallery and rehearsal space and a staff to maintain it, which it values at $10.1 million, a contribution to city arts programs of $1 million over 10 years and an additional $1 million contribution to the city.

The City Council meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the Chambers with a ticket validated in the lobby.

Correction:  An earlier version of this story said that membership in the Arts Club is by invitation only. In fact, anyone  involved in the arts can apply.

A view, looking north, of the rooftop pool deck at the Arts Club (Gensler Architects)

12 Comments
  1. If the hotel that is in the rendering, just west of proposed club, is ever built then noise will be an issue. Sound will bounce off the neighboring building and those that live below will hear it loud and clear. I know this because I live beside the parking structure for the 9000 Sunset building. The construction activities from the Marriott Edition Hotel/Condos come through my bedroom window as though they were next door.

  2. When real estate interests pay for city council members re-elections. What grows is bigger and bigger forced density. Why because the residents want it? No because the real estate donors bought it. And seriously with Hellman on city council now since the city was created. Is this the best the weho democracy can look like? And how many pay backs are still in the works for new projects coming up next?

  3. With 46 offices and clients in 120 countries, Gensler fails to convey a clear aesthetic vision in this building. Doubtful that it will stand the test of time or enduring design but may stand out as a trendy “of the moment’ incoherent concept. Difficult to see how the Arts Club, founded in 1865, finds this as a groundbreaking move.

    With an office within 500 feet and possibly a residence as well, will John Duran, runaway developer’s cheerleader be recusing himself?

  4. I don’t see how noise from a rooftop pool could possibly affect neighbors below.
    What is it with these bizarre facades?
    Why does it have to be taller – just build it to damn spec.

  5. Fabulous design but needs a classy touch. Like a Stormy Daniels statue in front of it with John Duran giving her the key to WEHO. This would certainly honor the memory of Arts Club founders, Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope. Of course, one doubts that any of the future members have even read Trollope. But they all will know Stormy.

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