West Hollywood Will Consider Options for Keeping ‘Legacy’ Businesses in Place

The palm west hollywood, restaurant
The Palm restaurant at its old location at 9001 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood

Concerned about the closing of long-term businesses and the relocation of non-profit organizations that can’t afford the rent, the West Hollywood City Council has asked City Hall staff to research what other cities are doing to preserve those so-called “legacy” businesses.

The proposal was brought forward by Council members John Duran and Lauren Meister. Duran said he was especially concerned about the loss of non-profit offices that moved because of rent increases. A memo presented with the proposal noted that Jewish Family

Services’ food pantry and PAWS/LA had both moved out of West Hollywood because of high rents.

The memo also cited the moves or closing of commercial businesses such as the House of Blues, French Market, Hamburger Hamlet, and the Palm Restaurant, which relocated to Beverly Hills.

“The intent behind the establishment of a legacy business program is to recognize these long-time, community-serving businesses, and nonprofit agencies as valuable cultural assets and to provide them with some type of assistance in order to encourage their continued viability and success and help them remain in the city,” says the memo to the Council. It said that assistance could include educational, promotional, or financial incentives.

The memo proposed that the incentives be provided to businesses that have operated in West Hollywood for 30 years or more, have contributed to the city’s history or the identity of their neighborhood and are committed to maintaining their distinctive traditions.

The proposal got pushback from Councilmember John Heilman. “I’m sure all of us have seen businesses that have been here 30 years or more that we would like to see leave,” he said.

Heilman also said he was concerned about the subjectivity of the decision-making process and that it would inhibit the development of new businesses that might be seen as legacy businesses in the future.  He cited the Connie & Ted restaurant and the Tom Tom bar as examples of good replacements of former businesses. He also noted that the House of Blues would not have been built if such a program were in place when it was built in 1994.

The proposal, which Mayor John D’Amico and Councilmember Lindsey Horvath voted against, will have city staffers return to the Council with suggestions based on similar programs in other cities.


newest oldest
Notify of
WeBuiltThisCity
Guest
WeBuiltThisCity

When a small business is closed because the building is purchased by a landlord who is considered nothing more than a heartless “land baron” this once quaint city will either become a ‘For Lease’ sign wielding ghost town or big box stores will find ways to fill our streets. RIP DuVin.

The Real Zam
Guest
The Real Zam

Development within our city should be ENCOURAGED, not halted. We have a housing shortage in our city & in California as a whole. The high prices are simply the result of supply and demand. A lot of people, myself included, want to live and work in WeHo proper. This drives up prices, which encourages developers to build “luxury” projects in our city. What’s the way to help remedy this problem? Increase the supply of housing. We should be directing the anti-development fever towards developing creative solutions that would improve the ratio of affordable to luxury housing. As far as commercial… Read more »

Jonathan H. Dowling
Guest
Jonathan H. Dowling

West Hollywood has always prided itself on being a progressive city. A city which has led the state and nation in implementing policies which challenge the conventional norm. Perhaps the time has come for West Hollywood to lead the way again by implementing Small Business Rent Control to both help preserve the unique character of our urban village and the jobs of those who own and are employed by small businesses. It’s devastating for a small business owner who is doing everything they can to maintain a profitable business, when their rent goes from $5,000 a month to $15,000 a… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

and i bet the council members who put this proposal over are getting paid for their votes by developers etc..

Bill Gordon
Guest
Bill Gordon

Maybe if the Council would implement a moratorium on development, landlords would feel less pressure to raise rents. Any property up to five units, fine, do what you want. But no new development for anything larger for a set period — say four or five years. In the meantime, the city could STUDY the impact of development and take steps to better manage it.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

The longevity business that exists is the one that prints For Rent signs, notably for a ubiquitous real estate agent principally on Sunset.

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

I’ve long been saying West Hollywood would benefit form having affordable commercial space to keep our non profits in West Hollywood. Perhaps that could be incorporated with any plans for the corner of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights? Or to adaptively reuse the former Aaron Brothers Frame Market space that is owned by West Hollywood?

Pat Dixon
Guest
Pat Dixon

I have always thought that West Hollywood should have rent control for Businesses. So often a lot of money is invested in a new business only to have to close because of greedy increases in rent and so we oftentimes have areas that are blighted. You can call it leyacy businesses but it should be as strong as rent control. Commercial Rent Control!

mark
Guest
mark

Supply and demand. Bye dumpy businesses. Your time is DONE. Give people what they demand and you’ll stay in business. Stop with Nanny State nonsense in this town. Grow up.

Same with non-profits. Deal with it. That’s life.

plastic101
Guest
plastic101

Well since we still haven’t found that the tree that grows the money to give these failing businesses, the other idea would be to raise taxes to subsidize them (AKA corporate welfare). Oh wait, then more businesses would fail. That pesky capitalism strikes again.

Joshua88
Guest
Joshua88

It’s interesting. I think it’s important to keep the non-profits here. Just keep the chains out of WeHo and we might be able to sustain the loss – as long as we have stellar replacements.

WeHo looking for things to spend their wealth on?
How about affordable housing?
Hotels cannot thrive forever. We certainly do not need more of them.
How about diversifying our tax base?

How about a community garden at the corner of SM/Laurel Canyon?

Sorry, no.
Guest
Sorry, no.

With all due, many of these businesses closed because demand was not there. If the quality of the food were better at these restaurants or people were supporting these establishments there wouldn’t be an issue. It’s supply and demand. Many of my favorite places have closed over the course of the 16 years I’ve lived in West Hollywood but that’s a part of business and while I’m bummed about it I don’t try and get the local city council to keep me afloat.

Joël Huxtable
Guest
Joël Huxtable

With all due, many of these businesses closed because property owners decided to multiply the rent 4x or more, forcing these long time family businesses to close down. Irv’s Burgers is an example of this. Forced to close because of new higher rent, they found a place down the street, but couldn’t survive there for long either (yes, I know, there were family health issues too). There have been at least three different fancy-pants in that location since. But there are many other examples as well all over West Holywood and Los Angeles. It is these long time established businesses… Read more »

Craig
Guest
Craig

The Palm was on SMB.

Lanell
Guest

Right Craig. We used to go there for the giant lobsters. Lived on Westbourne Dr in the 70’s. What a fun, fabulous, safe community for a young single flight attendant, with affordable rent. It was the Village West!