Residents Push for a Park to Stop Development of an Apartment Building on N. Flores

Calli Goldstein calling for the city to convert 1216 N. Flores into a park

Residents of North Flores Street have launched a campaign to have an empty lot designated as a park and “pollinator garden.”

The campaign is the latest effort to block development of an apartment building on the lot at 1216 N. Flores, which has been empty since 2013.

Tom Wright and Calli Goldstein, who all live on the street, are the organizers of the campaign and have created a petition online to solicit signatures from supporters of the park idea. The petition asks that the City of West Hollywood purchase the lot and “open a community park that demonstrates sustainable garden practices for the residents and wildlife in West Hollywood.” To date 65 people have signed it. 

The 9,000 square foot lot is owned by Barry Shy, one of whose current projects is the Hill Street Lofts, a 33-story building with 239 apartment units at 920 S. Hill St. in downtown Los Angeles.  Shy is asking that the City of West Hollywood re-issue a permit obtained by another developer, Boaz Miodovski, who had planned to construct a five-story building with 14 condo units and underground parking.  Five of those units were to be reserved for low- or moderate-income people.

Shy bought the property after a lengthy and expensive effort effort by Miodovski to get the city’s permission to build a condo building there. Eventually he decided to drop plans for the project and sell the property.

1216 N. Flores St.

Miodovski had faced pushback from residents who said the building’s design didn’t reflect the character of the street and who opposed a staircase that would have been on the front façade of the building.  Ron Emmons, who owns the historically designated building at 1224 Flores, next door to the 1216 N. Flores lot, objected that it would cast a shadow over his property. Nevertheless, the project was approved by the city’s Planning Commission in 2015, a decision that Emmons and George Credle, another neighbor, appealed to the City Council.

The City Council asked for changes to the project, with John D’Amico saying he found the staircase unattractive and John Duran said he would prefer the building be only four stories, even if that meant eliminating the five affordable condo units.

Miodovski responded by setting back the building from the northern edge of the lot, which is where the 1224 Flores building is located, and changed materials on the building façade to make it more compatible with the stucco facades of nearby buildings.

Illustration of building proposed for 1216 N. Flores St. (Architect David Takacs)

A year later, in November 2016, the City Council rejected Credle and Emmon’s appeal in a 3-to-2 vote, with Councilmembers D’Amico and Meister voting no.

Wright has lived on Flores for many years and successfully advocated for the installation of speed bumps to slow traffic on the street. He said he had offered Shy $2 million to buy the property, but that Shy declined the offer.

Shy’s request that the permit given to Miodovski be reissued was filed with the City of West Hollywood on Oct. 25, 2019 and currently is under review.  WEHOville has reached out to Shy for a comment but has yet to receive a response.  In addition to the attention has gotten for his various real estate developments, Shy also was in the news for suing two owners of units in the SB Grand Lofts (located at Fifth and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles) for libel and slander because of comments alleging he was “dishonest” and a “slum lord.”


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Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

If the city council and community development visionaries believe they can rob every piece of property of its greater or lesser parklike settings through its housing edicts/ordinances and general plan, they should be required to create an offset, a park on every street or leave original property configurations as they were originally intended when the city was built. All this development and what is there to show for it? People deluded into being cooped up in expensive cubicles thinking they have died and gone to heaven because they are in West Hollywood, the city built for the previous tourists who… Read more »

David
Guest
David

A proposed West Hollywood infill park is about quality of life. N. Flores is a narrow street and the addition of 28 more vehicles to the block would have a negative impact. The scale of Mr. Shy’s proposal is simply out of scale. From a developer’s point of view, they want maximum returns which is understood. But for West Hollywood, over development can never be undone. A well designed and maintained green space would enhance living in the neighborhood north of Santa Monica Blvd. We have one small park at DeLongpre but that is a dedicated dog park . As… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Why am I not surprised Duran voted no even though it would eliminate affordable units? Because he’s wealthy, arrogant, and definitely tone deaf. But honestly, most of the new projects are too modern looking and doesn’t meld into the landscape or natural surrounding colors.
A company called ViveLA has been buying up existing buildings, painting them bone white and black, and jacking up the rents in the neighborhood. The color scheme looks cheap and looks out of place. They look like low security jails in my opinion.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Vive LA might reconsider renaming itself Superficial LA as the “post-it note” embellishments of the buildings it is allegedly upgrading is an awful concept resulting in a crude schizophrenic appearance. They could use an aesthetic consultant that has vision beyond the four corners of its properties.

TheRealZam
Guest

The NIMBYs strike again. This lot is only vacant because the previous building was demolished. We need housing to address the critical shortage and the city should not be spending millions to buy every vacant lot in tow, especially given the fact that there is already a park two blocks away. I can definitely see the desire for a better design, but any building would look better from the street than the current situation. Let’s be honest here, when viewed from the street, the lot looks like there is a junk yard hidden behind that Ugly fence.

Tom Miller
Guest
Tom Miller

There is no “Critical housing shortage” in Weho and Hollywood—witness all the building cranes all around the neighborhood. Unless the Flores lot was designated for *low income only*, a community pocket park would help relieve what is becoming an increasingly dense area dominated by apartment blocks and towers, whose residents have no access to local green space.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Hi, where is the park two blocks away?

Tom
Guest
Tom

I believe he ius talking about King’s Road

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Zam, the original building was several bungalows, with their garages in the front. Housing already existed there, and the tenants, many who were low-income, were forced to move. I never understand the idea that we need more housing, that most will not be able to afford.

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

If that is the case, then we should be demanding the “affordable’ units be replaced one for one in addition to the City’s 20% Inclusionary Housing mandate.

Calli Goldstein
Guest
Calli Goldstein

I believe community input and engagement is so important when it comes to urban development— thank you Henry for covering this story. I wish more consideration was given to the neighbors’ voices that live on these streets…if our voices are indeed heard, then what is the determining decision based on?

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

I would suggest the law. What does to zoning code say is an allowable use of the property and do the property owner’s plans comply with what is allowable under the law.

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

I am not sure it would pertain to this project, but I’ve long felt that The City missed opportunities during the last economic downturn to buy more real estate. The City could purchase buildings that are in danger of being Ellised out and maintain them as permanent affordable housing with the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation or buy up land for a permanent community garden, which we have lacked since the Detroit Avenue lot’s “free lease” from the owner ended.

Jerome Cleary
Guest
Jerome Cleary

All the new architecture looks the same as the box type building filling the lot as much as possible with the structure. I don’t think anyone could ever identify any of the architects who built any buildings in West Hollywood over the past 20 years. All same generic look.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Good observation. For the most part the structures built in West Hollywood over the last 20 years came right out of the School of Opportunistic & Forgettable Architecture. And who were the gatekeepers that operated with standards of a very low bar in a community whose original architectural values were so much greater? Look to a very long term member of the Planning Commission, one of its former members that moved up the food chain, several that learned how to work the system and have moved on to become developer facilitators. It wasn’t rocket science to achieve memorable buildings, it… Read more »

Jim Nasium
Guest
Jim Nasium

Whatever gets those cars from parking on the sidewalk is fine by me.

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Perhaps Mr. Shy would consider making a charitable donation of this lot as parkland to clean up the reputation that obviously precedes him.

Joe Adams
Guest
Joe Adams

I would support the park project idea if the initial and ongoing costs to the city were reasonable – any idea what they would be? The land with this kind of entitlements must be worth a ton

Jeremy DiLullo
Guest
Jeremy DiLullo

The bigger issue is how evident it is that the city cannot prioritize spending. Relatively speaking – this space is very very small and can’t possibly cost anything of meaning to the city. Right now is a time where you can look on the sidewalks across the entire city and see how gross they are. CLEAN THEM! This is the quickest and easiest example to give when it comes to what we need to spend money on. A tiny park promoting health and growth wins vs. decreased property values and increased population and pollution. Don’t forget the inevitable damage to… Read more »

Call Goldstein
Guest
Call Goldstein

I think the article Wehoville published Sunday connects really well to this thread: https://www.wehoville.com/2020/04/19/city-hall-asks-for-more-funding-for-west-hollywood-park-redevelopment/ $113.5 million seems like an exorbitant amount for the city to spend on a new park facility when residents are asking for support and upgrades to existing sites. Interesting story, lots of perspectives to consider.