West Hollywood-based development company Faring on Wednesday night unveiled a new project destined to become a landmark in the Boystown district. Shaped like a giant birdcage, the proposed 55-foot tall structure, appropriately named the Birdcage, would be built on the southwest corner of Robertson Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, where the Hamburger Haven hamburger stand currently sits.
“The corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Robertson Boulevard deserves an architectural landmark and a cultural gathering space for our community which we believe the Birdcage delivers,” explained Jake Stevens, Faring’s director of community engagement.
The Birdcage project would also incorporate the adjoining land on Robertson where Bossa Nova Brazilian restaurant currently stands and the lot facing Santa Monica Boulevard currently occupied by a cigarette shop and a hair salon.
Faring intends for the project to house restaurants, shops and a subterranean “speakeasy” bar/nightclub. The above ground portion of the project is 14,000 square feet, while the underground nightclub will be approximately 7,800 square feet.
The Birdcage structure itself will house a ground-floor restaurant, while the second floor will be the outdoor seating area for another restaurant. A giant sculpture of a tree is planned as the centerpiece of that birdcage area.
Initial reactions were overwhelmingly positive from the approximately two dozen residents who came to Wednesday’s community meeting. Several people were heard describing it as “stunning” or “beautiful.”
Although the birdcage structure reaches 55 feet into the air, the rest of the project is just two stories tall, 27 feet high on the Santa Monica Boulevard side and 34 feet high on the Robertson side, which slopes down from the main boulevard.
Architect Adaeze Cadet of the HKS architectural firm designed the project. She told WEHOville she was charged with creating a structure that would standout and cause people to say, “Let’s meet up at that structure.” She opted for the birdcage design because it was both distinctive and elegant.
The Birdcage will be next door to the nine-story tall Robertson Lane hotel-retail complex, which Faring is also constructing. The Robertson Lane project will incorporate the historic Factory building, which once housed the famous Studio One gay disco. The Factory building which currently sits on an east-west axis between Robertson and La Peer Drive, will be dismantled and most of it will be rebuilt on a north-south axis along Robertson.
Faring hopes to get the Birdcage building added to the already approved specific plan for Robertson Lane in order to facilitate support services.
“The only connection that the Birdcage will have to the Robertson Lane project will be a trash and electrical connection that will happen at the B2 level. Otherwise, this project is visually, and user experienced, as a completely separate and individual building,” said Stevens.
Parking for the Birdcage project will be in the three-level, 750-car underground parking garage in the Robertson Lane facility.
“We are overparked in spades for Robertson Lane and The Birdcage is luckily co-located in such a way that the Robertson Lane garage can support the parking needs for this project,” said Stevens.
Faring hopes to construct both Robertson Lane and The Birdcage at the same time. However, Robertson Lane has already been approved and could begin construction in just a few months, while The Birdcage is at the very beginning stages of its approval, a process that would take four to six months at the absolute minimum. Thus, Faring will slow construction on Robertson Lane awaiting approval of The Birdcage.
“The objective is to concurrently construct both projects to minimize community impacts and disruptions to Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevard,” Stevens said.
Although many people have expressed sadness about losing the Bossa Nova restaurant, a favorite among locals, Stevens hinted that Bossa Nova might come back once the Birdcage is completed.
In the meantime, Bossa Nova has two other locations – at 7181 Sunset Blvd. (at Formosa Ave.) and 10982 Pico Blvd. (two blocks east of Sepulveda).
“The corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Robertson Boulevard deserves an architectural landmark and a cultural gathering space for our community which we believe The Birdcage delivers,”