City Hall Asks for More Funding for West Hollywood Park Redevelopment

Illustration of Phase II of West Hollywood Park redevelopment.

The City Council on Monday will be asked to increase funding for Phase II of the redevelopment of West Hollywood Park by $12.03 million, which will bring the total cost of that phase to $113.5 million.

That is an increase of 42% from the $80 million budgeted in 2014 for the eight-acre project. Over the years construction costs have increased and the Council has decided to add features such as the “grand stair” and its café, which cost an additional $1.75 million, and to increase its support for the non-profit foundation that is raising money to build an AIDS monument in the park. The city anticipates spending $5 million on that project

The second phase of the West Hollywood Park redevelopment began in 2017 as a follow-up to the $64 million Phase I redevelopment, which included construction of the $17 million West Hollywood Library building.  The current redevelopment originally was projected to be completed this year, but a memo from the city’s Facilities and Recreation Services Division projects it won’t be done until the Spring of 2022.  If there are no additional expenses, the total project will have cost $22.2 million an acre.

Other capital projects are called out in another item on the City Council’s agenda that asks that the Council formally declare its intent to use money from bonds issued by the city to reimburse city accounts from which money has or will be taken to cover the costs of those. The revenue generated by the bonds is tax-exempt and the declaration is required by the IRS.

One of the more expensive projects is the Design District Streetscape Master Plan, which is estimated to cost $30 million. That plan includes rehabilitating the roadways and installing new streetlights, new landscaping, street furniture, upgrades to the traffic signals, creations of plazas or gathering places, improved bicycle and pedestrian safety and other miscellaneous improvements. It involves the area that is home to design-oriented businesses on and adjacent to Melrose Avenue and Robertson, San Vicente and Beverly boulevards on the city’s Westside.

Joey’s at 8301 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer

Other projects and their anticipated costs are:

8301 Santa Monica Blvd. On Feb. 27, the city bought for $11.4 million the property located on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer Avenue that currently is home to Joey’s Café, the Crossroads Trading Company and Peter’s Magnolia Cleaners. “The existing commercial tenants would remain for the foreseeable future,” says the memo to the Council. It’s not clear what the city plans to do with the property. The memo says the city will gather public input and conduct a study of best use and feasibility of redevelopment of the property.

8120 Santa Monica Blvd. In 2015, city spent $7 million to buy the one-acre lot on the southwest corner of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights that once was owned Walgreens. At the time, City Hall said the lot would likely be used for commercial uses and mixed-use development. In February 2019, the Planning Commission approved an interim plan to use the land as a parking lot with 78 spaces. “The build-out of this surface parking lot and any related street improvements is anticipated to cost approximately $1.7 million and would be developed beginning as soon as summer of 2020,” says a memo to the Council.

Undergrounding Utility Poles. In September 2019, the City Council authorized plan to put underground overhead utility lines on Melrose Avenue (from San Vicente Boulevard to Doheny Drive), on La Peer Drive and Almont Drive (from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue), and on Beverly Boulevard (from Doheny Drive to San Vicente Boulevard). The project will cost about $1.95 million and work is scheduled to begin in January of 2021 with the Melrose Avenue portion.

LED Street Lamps. The city estimates it will spend $600,000 to convert all existing streetlights to more energy efficient LED technology. Work on this project is expected to be performed in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Fiber Infrastructure. The City Council authorized a fiber infrastructure plan in October 2016. This project was divided into three phases. Phase 1 included broadband friendly policies and city fiber infrastructure expansion. This phase carried a total anticipated cost of approximately $3 million to $5 million based on using the city’s existing conduit wherever possible. To-date, approximately $600,000 has been spent implementing Phase 1.

Phases 2 (fiber-based services offerings along major city corridors) and 3 (broadband offering in residential areas (fiber to home)) are estimated to cost roughly $30 to $35 million combined over a period of two to three years following completion of Phase 1. The project is anticipated to be completed over a five-year period.

West Hollywood Fire Station No. 8, 7643 Santa Monica Blvd. near North Spaulding. (Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group)

Two New Traffic Signals. The Public Works budget for fiscal year 2019-20 includes $650,000 to establish two new traffic signals. The first would be installed near Fire Station #8 located at Santa Monica Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue. The other would be located at the intersection of Fountain Avenue and Poinsettia Place and could also include traffic calming measures, if necessary. Installation is expected to be complete within the next two fiscal years.

New On-Street Parking Meters. The proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget will include a project to upgrade 640 on-street parking meters to include more payment options and integrated sensors. The anticipated cost of this upgrade would be approximately $561,000, and implementation of the upgrade is expected to occur later this year or in 2021.

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The City Council meeting will take place in a virtual teleconference format at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Community members may view the agenda and live-stream the meeting by visiting the city’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv. The City Council meeting also will be available on the city’s YouTube channel; on streaming services such as AndroidTV, AppleTV, FireTV, and Roku, and through broadcasts on Spectrum channel 10 in West Hollywood and AT&T U-verse channel 99 throughout Southern California. Digital streaming platform viewers can easily find programming by searching for “WeHoTV” within the search functions of these services.

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment on agenda items can do so in the following two ways:

  • To participate by providing an e-comment: Members of the public who wish to comment on matters before the City Council can submit an e-comment using the online form at www.weho.org/councilagendas by no later than 4 p.m. on Monday. E-comments received by 4 p.m. will be forwarded to the City Council and posted on the city’s website as part of the official meeting record.
  • To participate by phone: Members of the public are encouraged to email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker at yquarker@weho.org in advance of the City Council meeting to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling, and which item you would like to speak on. Then dial-in 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting (the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.) The dial-in number is (669) 900-6833 and the participant passcode is 98922523652 then #. It is important that all callers mute phones until called to speak. Comments from members of the public are limited to two minutes per speaker.

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Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

A Grand Staircase in a small-town park? How precious is that! This is less park and more gaudy over-built monument to egos of the nouveau that seemed to have missed the biblical calling to do good work and not draw attention to oneself. Already the entire complex is littered with names chiseled into stone and marble and that’s before we even got to the zillion-dollar Grand Staircase. I’m waiting for it to be renamed Le Grand Escalier in keeping with the affectations of grandeur attendant upon the bourgeois.

Ham Shipey
Guest
Ham Shipey

Too funny. But with hotels due to struggle for a few years…….the cash cow is gone.

Dude Kembro
Guest

Over $177 million to build a park and library? Why not local stimulus checks for WeHo residents, landlords, and businesses affected by the COVID pandemic? Or free parking structures for residents? Or a small transitional housing building for our relatively small homeless population? Or city-built affordable housing for our bar/entertainment workers? $177+ million for books and grass? Lol

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Parks in West Hollywood appear to be suffering from poorly informed decision makers, unrealistic plans, priorities and budgets. In 20 plus years what do we have to show for it? A poorly conceived plan for Plummer Park, essentially a historic park for which not a single applicant had experience with historic parkland and or structures. Although PP was determined to be a Cultural Resource, state funds dried up but no Plan B. It remains a glaring example of deferred maintenance and remains adrift. West Hollywood Park seems to suffer from similar issues. It appears to have been conceived in the… Read more »

jj j
Guest
jj j

what happened? from watching council meetings and reading wehoville, incompetant management at the top is a likely culprit. also, cronyism would be a suspect. at least lauren meister asks questions about why millions of our dollars are being thrown at attorney fees (unknown reasons to the paying public) and construction management companies who obviously don’t know what they’re doing (unknown reasons to the paying public). after watching last night, it feels like we’ll never get the truth. but props to her for calling it out.

Layla
Guest
Layla

I like the idea of the city investing in public space~~~ this being said, it seems the West Hollywood Park’s ambitious design is not modest in its price. Once complete, I’m sure the park and its adjacent facilities will be impressive and get plenty of use, however I agree with many of the comments below. What about the preexisting parks within West Hollywood that need upgrades to continue being of service? That require the same attention that is being mobilized into this project? What happens to the other facilities and parks once this new park is complete? Interesting story, interesting… Read more »

Greg
Guest
Greg

Can they just wrap this up and get the park open? Two more years is unacceptable.
And I’m all for getting utilities underground. It’s overdue. They should expand that project!

Brad
Guest
Brad

I’m curious why the area was chosen that is getting the underground utilities. Anyone know? Is the city doing anything with Sunset Blvd, other than put Rocky back.

carleton cronin
Guest

“I’ll build a stairway to Paradise with a new step every day…” (from a Broadway musical). The staircase will be used only for ceremonies or fashion shows, I suspect. Save a few hundred thousand and drop the signs on top of the structure. On my block the streetlights are so tall that only the overgrown ficus benefit from their illumination. Perhaps the city could cut a few bucks to repair – replace – the street paving at Robertson and Melrose so geezers like me won’t twist our ankles again as we rush across the tortured surface to beat the light.… Read more »

:dpb
Guest
:dpb

I’m all for a beautiful park. But is always pretty much off limits due to construction; for years now. I also like the library. It’s used more for city council meetings than for homework, research and checking out books; its almost always closed. I’m a supporter of the AIDS Memorial, one could pass on before its ever built – we keep hearing about (years now) but where is it? Now we have economics disaster for many of our citizens and businesses All the money that is earmarked for vanity projects needs to be reallocated for business grants and loans to… Read more »

Jose
Guest
Jose

And how much was spent on the dump called Plummer Park?

WeHoMikey
Guest
WeHoMikey

Nothing. Heilman wants to tear down the historic structures near the tennis courts.

Steve
Guest
Steve

What a colossal waste of taxpayers money. The fact that we will go without this park for 4 years(!) is an abomination. Talk about rich white privileged people problems – how do you approve a 42% overage on this development when you have both a homeless epidemic and now an actual pandemic? The Council better think long and hard about this, especially if the pandemic persists, businesses shutter permanently, and residents are evicted from their homes.

BTown Rich
Guest
BTown Rich

They have no choice but to throw more of our dollars into this quagmire. Leaving it to rot half-built due to lack of funding isn’t an option, I’d guess. Too many egos involved in this folly that has now taken all of us taxpayers hostage. Didn’t they just ask (and get) an additional $500,000 for attorney fees? We’d like to know the specifics of the reasoning and apportionment of those funds also, but probably never will. Between this park mismanagement and all of the real estate hoarding, sounds like some very poor decisions have been made.

Ham Shipey
Guest
Ham Shipey

Unreal. Building a park for the homeless and drug addicted. Just like like the useless library.

Art
Guest
Art

I’m neither homeless or drug addicted and have used the library many times over the years for cultural/arts events as well as for regular library services.

Ham Shipey
Guest
Ham Shipey

One of very few. A serious waste of tax dollars in this century.