Planning Commission Approves a New Private CoWorking Club on Sunset

9165 Sunset Blvd.

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.

Interior of SoHo Works, 9000 Sunset Blvd. (Courtesy of Stewart and Connie Photography)

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.”

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Drew
Drew
3 months ago

I’m not understanding the points of concerns as expressed in the comments. I’m a resident of West Hollywood and have lived here since 1997. I’m thrilled that the owner has found a low-impact use for this historic space rather than have it bulldozed and turned into another cookie-cutter office building. I don’t currently have access to the building as I don’t have access to multitudes of buildings and businesses unless I have a reason to frequent them. This is not a huge SoHo House private club, it is a working club, for people who want to work in the environment… Read more »

John Ryan
John Ryan
3 months ago

West Hollywood has unfortunately strayed far from the very reason the city was created in the first place….affordable living. Private clubs, multi-million dollar condos, exclusive bars and restaurants; this is what West Hollywood is now. My husband and I have lived her for 24 years in a rent-controlled apartment, moving here in our early 30’s while working as waiters. Could a similar couple move here now? No way! We both now have good jobs and are considered high earners, no kids, no debt. Could WE afford to move to West Hollywood now or could we afford to buy something here… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
3 months ago
Reply to  John Ryan

No where in west LA is affordable. WH has changed……although the city council has realized it yet.

Woody Mcbreairty
Woody Mcbreairty
3 months ago
Reply to  John Ryan

Unfortunately the situation you describe about WH could apply to every big city in the country & in many, if not most, small cities too. Those who bought condos & houses in WH & BH & SM in the 90s for example, inadvertently made the best investments of their lives. And still counting

James Francis
James Francis
3 months ago
Reply to  John Ryan

My sentiments exactly where the wealthy can stay, the club goers will stray and pay, while the people unable to be members or afford Weho will be told to stay then move away. How hypocritical and warped and the complete opposite of the city that incorporated 35 years ago. My only concern is will private clubs just become like condo developers Airbnb’s and Cannabis where they dictate to the city and residents that no ordinances apply to them and the city change its laws. It’s as if Sunset Plaza Sunset Strip and Sunset Heights and Doheny has its own laws… Read more »

John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell aka Dan
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell aka Dan
3 months ago

So West Hollywood residents get the exclusivity of Clubs that they cannot access. We get the noise and parking impact but no benefit. Absolutely Ridiculous, wakeup WEHO!

Richard K.
Richard K.
3 months ago

Dan, good point.
Since this is a private club, planning’s primary/only concern should be to eliminate or mitigate any negative impacts to neighbors. These reviews at 6 months are weak and place a undue burden on residents to appeal to the City. Better to address these concerns now in the planning and permit stages while the City has leverage and the applicant has the proper incentive of insuring a neighborhood friendly business in order to get their approval.