Developer Plans to Replace Two Apartment Buildings on Fountain with a Bigger One

Illustration of proposed 8000 Fountain Apartments (architect Hamlet Zohrabians)

A Beverly Hills developer is seeking the West Hollywood Planning Commission’s approval to demolish two apartment buildings on Fountain Avenue at Laurel and replace them with a four-story, 30-unit apartment building.

The proposed new building

would contain eight affordable units. The existing buildings, each of which falls under the city’s rent stabilization regulations, contain a total of 13 apartments.

“The project includes a dedication to allow for parking, a widened sidewalk, and a parkway with street trees along Fountain Avenue,” says a memo to the commission from the city’s Department of Community Development. “The building design is well-articulated and fits seamlessly into the neighborhood.”

The developer is Fountain Blue Holdings LLC, a company associated with Behruz “Bernie” Gabbai of Beverly Hills. It is asking for three concessions in exchange for increasing the required five affordable housing units to eight. One is an exception to the 35-foot height limit to allow construction of a building 45 feet high, which would allow an additional story. Another is relief from a requirement that 50% of the street-facing front of the first floor be habitable space. The developer proposes instead that the front of the building along Laurel Avenue include a lobby with tenant mailboxes that leads into an exercise room, as well as a manager’s office. And finally, the developer is asking for an exemption from the city’s requirement that the second through fourth floors of the building be set back from the street six feet more than the first floor.

The project would include two parking spaces for each of the 30 units

The developer is proposing to remove the current buildings from the market under the state’s Ellis Act, which typically is used when a building owner wants to take a building off the rental market and use it for another purpose or demolish it. Because the proposed project also would be rental apartments, if it is built and offered for rent within five years of the eviction of the final existing tenant, it will continue to be covered by the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, which puts limitations on evictions and limits rent increases for existing tenants.

The project has been the subject of several community meetings where local residents questioned its impact on traffic on Laurel Avenue, possible noise from its pool area whether its design would be compatible with historically significant buildings on the 1300 block of Laurel and the 1200 block of Crescent Heights. Some community members were in favor of the building design and some thought the design too look industrial.

The Planning Commission will consider the requests at its meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking in the five-story structure behind the Chambers if free with a ticket validated at the meeting.


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@Near_Chaos
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@Near_Chaos

I’m always interested what rents would be charged for “affordable housing” units in these new developments.

Once Bitten
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Once Bitten

13 current Rent Stabilized units to replaced by 5! . Developer is offering swimming pool, gym and other amenities that in his mind, if a perfect offset for 13 folks to be immediately without a home and eventually 8. Somehow, by some mysterious calculation, 5 individuals will be offered a residence but at what price and when, after their lives are unnecessarily interrupted for 5 to 10 years? Foundation philosophy of Wet Hollywood was affordable housing and protection of Historic Resources per the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Think about it folks, the developer from Beverly Hills and architect who has done… Read more »

Fortress on Fountain
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Fortress on Fountain

This project is requesting unreasonable concessions so they can build 10 feet higher and avoid stepping back the building on 2, 3 and 4th floors. The design review commissioners commented to its mere “adequacy” of design

A Fortress on Fountain, no respect for the neighborhood and no respect for good design.

Mike M
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Mike M

Why should every city be affordable? I’d love to live in Beverly Hills. Should they allowances for me? Seriously .

blueeyedboy
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blueeyedboy

What is this obsession with pools in buildings? I’ve lived in a number of buildings with pools and hardly anyone ever uses them. The same is true for exercise rooms which very few residents use. When I looked to buy a condo I wanted one without a pool or any other amenities because I didn’t want to pay for something I would never use. HOA fees are considerably lower without them. In the last apartment building that I lived there was a pool that was used by only one tenant. The building had a combination of 2 bedroom units, one… Read more »

Poor Stewardship of WH Rest Stabilized/Potential Historic Resource Housing Stock
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Poor Stewardship of WH Rest Stabilized/Potential Historic Resource Housing Stock

Project proposes to replace eliminate 13 Rent Stabilized units with 5 Affordable within 30 unit. Similar calculation as the dreadful oppressive Empire On Norton project around the block. There are at least 5 or 6 buildings related to this very credible 1937 ‘Minimal Traditional Style” each with interesting variations and articulations from Sweetzer to Hayworth, currently Rent Stabilized. At least 3 have been refurbished at 8135 Norton, 1113-1119 N. Sweetzer and 1241-1249 N. Crescent Heights. 1425 -1429 N. Hayworth is in good condition. They all could be potential Historic Resources and should have been nominated as such by the City.… Read more »

Todd Bianco
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Todd Bianco

I could have cut and pasted this “design” from any number of stock photo websites. There is absolutely NOTHING distinguishing about it and it doesn’t fit in with the Laurel, and only marginally with Fountain. If they are setting the bar low, there is that hideous stucco mess on the SE corner of Crescent Heights and Fountain that looks like a mistake from around 1999 or 2000. How the developer plans to twist Ellis and get away with the massive rent increases it will surely ask for, is a mystery. We know it’s going to be nearly impossible for the… Read more »

Jonathan Dowling
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Jonathan Dowling

This project should not be approved unless there are 13 affordable units made available to replace the ones which will be demolished.