The relatively swift approval of the project Tuesday was a contrast to last week’s three-hour discussion on the famed architect’s design for 8150 Sunset Blvd. The five-building complex at Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards will include two residential towers, terraced gardens and a shopping center.
Elected officials for both Los Angeles and West Hollywood as well as some neighborhood groups had voiced concern about the project, which originally included a 234-foot-tall tower. Critics believed the tower would be out of scale with the neighborhood. Others worried the project would bring too much traffic to an already busy intersection.
But at last week’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting, the developer, Townscape Partners, agreed to reduce its tallest tower to 178 feet and add more affordable housing and more parking spaces. It will also provide $2 million to ease traffic congestion.
The project will have 229 residential units, including 38 for low-income families. There will be 65,000 square feet of commercial space and a pedestrian plaza.
Many of those changes came after the area’s councilman, David Ryu, released a lengthy letter outlining his concerns over the density and height of the development.
“Compromise is never easy but it’s a core value of our city and democracy,” said Ryu, who represents this stretch of the Sunset Strip. “While this compromise isn’t perfect, 8150 Sunset Blvd. is a much better project today.”
One issue that has yet to be decided is what will happen with the Lytton Savings building on the project site. The building, which is currently a Chase bank, was designed by architect Kurt Meyer in 1960. It was nominated for historic-cultural landmark status but council members have delayed a vote on its landmark status until November.
If the City Council votes to preserve the bank building, it could be incorporated into Gehry’s design or moved to a new location.