With a unanimous vote, West Hollywood’s Planning Commission approved a new private club on the Sunset Strip at its Thursday night teleconferencing meeting on Zoom. However, this club will be for workspace rather than nightlife.
The House on Sunset is set to open in the historic building at 9165-9169 Sunset Blvd, near Cory Avenue, on the far western end of the Strip. It’s intended as luxury, creative office co-working space and meeting space with food and alcohol service.
“The idea is to have a co-working environment with high-end amenities,” explained attorney Mark Lehman, representing owner Reagan Silber, whose RWS Sunset LLC purchased the property in 2016.
The three-story building has approximately 6,000 square feet of office space on its two floors, plus a 2,100-square-foot penthouse which will be occupied as a live-work unit. The building has been used as office space for decades, but with its approval, the Planning Commission changed the land-use category from office to private club. The city’s zoning code does not allow alcohol sales with office space, so the owner requested the change to a private club.
House on Sunset will not have a formal restaurant or dining area, but members can order snacks and light meals and/or alcohol from the kitchen located in the basement. The food and drinks would be consumed at their work area or in the rear garden or balcony.
Commission members liked the project, with Commissioner John Altschul calling it “well thought out.”
Commissioner Lynn Hoopingarner was equally impressed, saying it was a “marvelous use of the space and a creative way to preserve a beautiful, historic property on the heart of the Sunset Strip.”
The Commission’s main concern was about potential noise in the garden and rear balcony disturbing neighbors living behind it. Even though the garden’s perimeter is surrounded by mature trees, the fear was that noise would spill over into the residential area to the north (which is in the city of Los Angeles). The outdoor areas are scheduled to close nightly at midnight.
Because of the noise concerns, the Commission scheduled a review of the project for six months after the coronavirus pandemic state of emergency is officially declared to be over, since social distancing rules preventing a large number of people from gathering outside will be in place until then.
The building does not have any on-site parking, but the Commission waived the parking requirements since it was built before parking requirements were mandatory. Lehman reported people who have worked there typically have rented parking spaces in one of the four nearby office buildings with parking garages.
Constructed in 1936, the Regency Revival-style building was designed by noted architect Paul R. Williams. It is sometimes referred to as the Berman/Kohner Building because it originally housed the West Coast offices and salon for Berman Furs and later was the offices for the Paul Kohner Talent Agency. In recent years, director Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment was based there. Meanwhile, actor/director Orson Wells occupied the penthouse for a time.
The building was designated as a historic landmark in May 2018 and in December 2019, the City Council approved a Mills Act contract, which allows property tax reductions in exchange for rehabilitating and preserving the building.
In recent years, the number of private clubs in the city has been steadily increasing. The famed Soho House on the top two floors of the 9200 Sunset Blvd. building opened in 2010 and in July opened SoHo Works, a private coworking club at 9000 Sunset Blvd. The ultra-exclusive San Vicente Bungalows at 845 N. San Vicente Blvd. opened in late 2018.
Later this year, The Britely, a private club within the soon-to-open luxury Pendry hotel on Sunset at Olive Drive (in the old House of Blues location), is set to open. Meanwhile, The Arts Club at 8920 Sunset Blvd. will likely start construction within the next year.
Another co-working space that is also a private club is The Wing, located above the Sprouts Market at 8550 Santa Monica Blvd. That was initially a women-only space, but now bills itself as gender neutral.
In addition, AllBright West Hollywood at 8474 Melrose Place (just a few feet outside the West Hollywood border) is also a co-working space private club, which describes itself as “created by women for women.”