A large and prominently located project proposed for 8555 Santa Monica Blvd. will go before the Planning Commission for its approval on Thursday.
The project, located on the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard at the corner of West Knoll Drive, is being developed by Soto Capital LP, one of several companies owned by Behnam Soroudi, who also has extensive real estate interests through his Ruby Group, Harper Enterprises and other companies.
It will replace a variety of small businesses including the Collar and Leash pet supply store, the Max Muscle supplement store, the Framing Gallery and the PHOnomenal Vietnamese restaurant with a 140,686-square-foot building with 97 apartments, 12 “live/work” spaces, a restaurant and room for retail and service businesses and offices. Fifteen of the apartments will be affordable housing units.
The Santa Monica Boulevard-facing part of the building will be five-stories high, with the residential portion facing West Knoll only four stories high. It will include 323 parking spaces.
The project has been in the works for many years and has been revised in an attempt to address concerns expressed by nearby residents and the Ramada hotel. Those concerns have included increased traffic on West Knoll and blocking natural light into the Ramada’s rooms. In response, Soto reduced the driveways into West Knoll Drive from two to one and set the building back on the third through fifth floors from five to 15 feet to allow more natural light into the Ramada. There would be another driveway into the development on Santa Monica Boulevard.
A memo to the Planning Commission from the city’s Planning and Development Services Department gives a positive assessment of the project.
“The project is consistent with the West Hollywood General Plan, and has been thoughtfully designed to balance the economic and land use goals of the City, and encourages a vibrant, walkable vision for this area that has endured since the City’s first General Plan was adopted in 1988,” the memo says. “The project would be transformational to this portion of Santa Monica Boulevard and West Knoll Drive in the center of West Hollywood. The existing buildings on the subject site are in disrepair, underutilized and do not help achieve the goals and policies of the City.”
The project would face a large building across the street at 8550 Santa Monica Blvd. that is near completion. That is expected to include a Sprouts grocery store, a gym/fitness studio, a restaurant/café, the Wing women’s co-working space and rooftop parking. It is a project of Michael Talla, who owns the building on its west side that houses Capitol Drugs Pharmacy, the LASC clothing store and the 24 Hour Fitness gym.
The project is likely to draw opposition from some nearby residents, who previously have expressed concerns about its impact on traffic in the area and on the residential area of West Knoll.
The Planning Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the Council Chambers with a ticket validated in the lobby.