Opinion: Yes on the Arts Club, a Beautiful Cultural Center for West Hollywood

The Arts Club is the perfect addition to the Sunset Strip and to West Hollywood! As a 61-year resident of West Hollywood, a former Public Safety Commissioner and a current Planning Commissioner, I strongly support YES on Measure B!

The Arts Club (illustration by Gensler)

The Arts Club, founded by Charles Dickens in 1863, is going to replace the Hustler store with a multi-use cultural hub which will include a bistro, art gallery, and free rehearsal space for local artists and performers. The Arts Club not only enhances the character of the Sunset Strip, but it also provides a musical and cultural experience for residents of all ages.

By voting YES on Measure B, we are voting to generate new revenue for city services, to create local living wage jobs that provide excellent benefits to their employees, such as childcare and gender-equitable pay, and to bring a beautifully designed cultural center to our city.

Aside from generously allocating more than $13.5 million in community benefits to West Hollywood residents, the Arts Club has demonstrated that it wants to be part of our community time and time again by engaging with dozens of community leaders, business owners, and residents for their feedback. During the Planning Commission and City Council hearings, there were dozens of supporters who spoke in favor of the Arts Club and all the benefits it will bring to our City.

The Arts Club was supported by not only the West Hollywood Planning Commission and City Council, but by the Norma Triangle Neighborhood Watch, the West Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Association, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, along with multiple City Commissioners, local business owners and hundreds of local residents.

Join me and vote YES on Measure B on March 5th!

  1. Every new development gives us additional revenue and jobs but the Arts Club is getting huge entitlements from the City to off-set the paltry sums the City is promised by this development.

    For the record, the City gave the Arts Club 88,000 additional square feet above what it was entitled to under the General Plan; the Arts Club is giving us back 2,200 square feet for an art gallery. That 2,200 was valued by the developer at $10.1 million.

    The Arts Club gets 10 luxury suites for it’s members; it is essentially a hotel but the Council said it did not have to pay hotel tax. This gives the Arts Club between $150,000 and $200,000 a year in money that would have been our taxes. So in effect the Arts Club is paying us with our own money.

    John Altschul is more articulate than this letter which looks like knock off of one of their slick mailers. This is just a bad deal for West Hollywood.

  2. What’s so bad about the Hustler building? It’s not bothering anybody……and what the heck is an “Arts Club” anyway, who needs that? Does anyone really need to “rehearse” anything? Don’t we have plenty of Art Galleries in town already? And the $500,000 gift for housing, that’ll buy you a studio apt on Ogden with a bathroom in the hallway.

  3. I’m sorry but this sounds more than a little naive: the developer is certainly not “generously allocating” $13.5 million in benefits but is rather paying these benefits (and laughing all the way to the bank) in return for the extra 88.000 square feet they will get for free in return. I would say that’s generous on our part.

    Why do we just give that away for a pittance without getting at least a couple of floors of housing including affordable housing? Who is doing these negotiations?

    The Planning Commissioner knows that “engaging with community leaders, business owners and residents” is a routine part of the planning process for any developer, not proof that they “really want to be part of our community.”

    They also get to have ten luxury apartment suites (a boutique hotel) and are exempt from the hotel room tax. I love the Arts Club but this is a highway robbery.

    Voting “NO” on Measure B allows the city to negotiate a better deal than this.

  4. I voted no on B. Waiting on a beautiful Arts something or anything here in vibrant Center City West Hollywood. There continues to be a large dirt lot of unfulfilled quality on Cresent Heights and Santa Monica. And then there’s the eye sore of a building on Santa Monica and Laurel Ave, much worse to look at than the building on Sunset in my humble opinion. I understand some sort of project may be planned. One day. Hmmm.

  5. Yes on B . The choice is clear . It’s a magnificent project that will enhance West Hollywood’s mantra as ‘the creative city’. In addition the rehearsal space for local residents is second to none in any local municipality. We will be proud to have the Arts Club as part of the West Hollywood community.

  6. To clarify the record, it was not a unanimous decision at Planning Commission. Commissioner Bass was absent and I voted no.

  7. Noooo….this is an absolutely bought measure that has nothing to do with benefiting our neighborhood. This is a special interest, private and foreign country buy of some of our most historical property, and our local politicians.

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