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.