The Gabay Brothers Are Proposing Major Changes to the Melrose Triangle Project

Rendering of the proposed Melrose Triangle Gateway building (Architect Studio One Eleven)

The developer of the Melrose Triangle project is seeking permission from the City of West Hollywood to make a major change that would focus the project more on offices than housing.

Melrose Triangle is a 117,000-square-foot property bordered on the north by Santa Monica Boulevard, on the south by Melrose Avenue and on the east by Almont Drive. The developer is System LLC, which is associated with the Charles Company, whose principals are brothers Mark and Charles Gabay. The original design for the project by Studio One Eleven was praised as a “gateway” into West Hollywood from Beverly Hills.

The original plan, which was approved by the City Council in October 2014, devoted 137,064 square feet to office space. The second largest use was residential, with 77,753 square feet used for 76 units, (eight of those for low-income residents and eight for moderate-income residents.) That was followed by retail, with 45,112 square feet to house shops. The developer also planned a 16,404-square-foot art gallery space and a commercial showroom of 12,303 square feet. The plan included 8,202 square feet for a restaurant.

In a modified project description submitted to the city’s Planning and Development Services Department, the developer proposes to increase the amount of office space by 152% to a total of 345,328 square feet.  The 45,112 square feet of retail space would be reduced by 82% to 8,239 square feet.  And the space devoted to housing would be reduced by 87% to a total of 9,887 square feet, with all of that space used for low-income and moderate-income housing.  The inclusion of affordable housing allows the developer to increase the project by 10 feet in height from what is allowed in the zoning for that area.

The revised proposal does not include the art gallery or showroom spaces. It would still include space for a restaurant and public space. It would include 686 parking spaces, down 22% from the 884 initially proposed.

It is unclear why the developer is proposing these changes, which must be reviewed by the Planning Commission and approved by the City Council. WEHOville reached out to Mark Gabay but, as of publication, has not received a response.

One likely factor is the decline in demand for retail space in this era where more and more people shop online. The RealDeal, a real estate industry website, reported in October on a study by CBRE that found that the overall vacancy rate for retail spaces in Greater Los Angeles has increased and the rents have declined. There are exceptions in some areas such as Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.


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Steve M
Guest
Steve M

True that there is a valid bait and switch argument when a proposal for such a big usage change comes through after the project is approved and in process. That said, I do support a negotiation to increase the amount of office space. The city has an obligation to promote a mix of residential, retail, and office space. There has been so much moderate to high-end residential space built in recent years along SM Blvd with much more still coming down the pike. Where are these new residents supposed to work? The city has an obligation to its residents to… Read more »

Peter Buckley
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Peter Buckley

None of this explains a reduction in housing. Isn’t there a state wide housing shortage?

Robert Zabb
Guest
Robert Zabb

I fault the city council. They are just not up to the task of city planning and have zero vision of how to shape West Hollywood into a livable vibrant city. Every project is considered in isolation in piecemeal fashion. The city council’s idea of vision is to install bike lanes. Without a real conceptual plan the city is at the mercy of developers bait and switch as there is no standard by which to evaluate the switched project. The whole thing is pathetic.

Jonathan Simmons
Guest
Jonathan Simmons

This is not quite on point, and unlike me to suggest. The West End of weho is BH Adjacent as can be. Allow Tall Large Luxury HOUSING along the very west, then use the exorbitant profits from real estate values across the street from BH, be reinvested around the eastern side of weho, with nice modern (NO STATEMENT BLDNGS) moderate size, finishes but in rental and sales, VERY MUCH AFFORDABLE. Exploit our natural resource (being across from BH) to invest in regular, affordable HOUSING no more these absurd mixed use buildings. HOUSING IS #1 NEED. 360 degrees of shopping &… Read more »

blueeyedboy
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blueeyedboy

Leverage what you’ve got!

Very good thinking “outside the box”.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Could the community hear from Amanda Smash Hyde and the West Hollywood Renters Alliance on this reduction? What plans do they have to advocate for more housing?

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

Just as an FYI, Amanda no longer lives in West Hollywood and I’m not sure if anyone picked up the mantle for the Renters Alliance. I don’t think they’e had a meeting in probably there last 2 years.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Not to be unnecessarily cynical but perhaps this was a vehicle for the personal enhancement of Ms. Hyde. Although not a Facebook devotee, their Facebook page is an amateur disaster. Two or three minutes at the podium at city meetings is exposure that too many folks take advantage of for personal gain.

learntobeajournalist
Guest
learntobeajournalist

Be grateful anyone wants to build anything in this town. Red tape, everything is supposed to “affordable” in a city next to Beverly Hills. Popular cities gentrify, all over the world. Let the market decide. They’re taking the risk to develop, they have to assess the market and retail is out. Look at all the vacant stores all down SMB for example. It’s a ghost town in some sections and very seedy too. This is happening all across the USA as most people buy online now. And businesses and people are leaving CA because the taxes are too high and… Read more »

Clean Up WEHO in 2020!
Guest
Clean Up WEHO in 2020!

Get rid of these developers. They are the enemy of West Hollywood.

Bill
Guest
Bill

This is Trump organization level development dupe-the-public crap. If the city planning commission caves in I hope they are swept out of office.

How about make the whole entire project low and moderate income housing and sharply increase the parking from the original allotment of 884 spaces?

West Hollywood does not need any more soulless offices. What it needs are more units for it’s distinctive populous to inhabit.

WeHoMikey
Guest
Art
Guest
Art

Though still not proven, very telling! Ditch this company unless they go ahead with the approved project!

Jonathan Simmons
Guest
Jonathan Simmons

Hmmmm

I think to to Online Retail has been known for a decade.

Now, suddenly the developers see a shift??

If so, drop this developer for TOTAL LACK OF FORESIGHT that will permanently change our cities limited space for all uses.

Very Concerned Citizen
Guest
Very Concerned Citizen

Sounds like the old bait & switch to me. I am sick & tired of developers RULING our city. I hope our city council is not fooled!
How about turning ALL of it into affordable housing.
Oh what a laugh

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

Wasteland block killer?