Trader Joe’s Closing at WeHo’s Movietown Plaza; No Timetable For Wrecking Ball

Movietown Plaza

Just because Trader Joe’s at Movietown Plaza has received its long-anticipated eviction notice to be out by Aug. 31, don’t look for the wrecking ball to hit the shopping center at 7304 Santa Monica Blvd. at Poinsettia right away.

Avalon Bay Communities, the company developing the site into a large retail and residential complex, hasn’t yet applied for a demolition permit.

“We have met with them a couple of times, but they have yet to submit anything for plan review for demolition or new construction,” said Steve Bailey, the manager of the city’s building and safety division, which issues such permits.

Bailey explained that approval for simple demolition of existing buildings typically takes two to four weeks. However, if there are other aspects involved with the demolition, such as soil removal, that can add several more weeks to the approval time. Construction permits typically take 12 to 16 weeks for initial approval.

“Once the demolition permit is issued, then they could start right away,” said Bailey. “They seem eager to get started on the construction, but they haven’t submitted anything to us.”

Avalon Bay did not return calls, so its schedule for construction is not known.

The proposed new Movietown Plaza complex will have 26,000 square feet of retail space, 294 market-rate residential units and 76 low-income residential units. The complex will be five and six stories tall at the front of the lot (Santa Monica Boulevard side) and seven stories at the back.

When the project was first approved by the City Council in 2010, it was to be 10 stories tall with 32,000 square feet of retail. However, developer Casden Properties suffered financial difficulties and had to sell the project to Avalon Bay in 2012.

Avalon Bay scaled the height down by three stories and reduced the retail space by 6,000 square feet, but kept the same number of residential units by reducing the square footage of each unit.

West Hollywood Movietown Plaza
Movietown Plaza (Photo by Christine Detz).

Revised plans for the project were submitted to the Planning Commission’s design review subcommittee in December 2012, but that was merely a courtesy. Since it was being scaled down, city staff members considered the changes to be minor enough to be approved at the staff level, according to John Keho, the city’s planning manager.

With apartment buildings nationwide, Avalon Bay owns 30 other apartment building in the greater Los Angeles area, including the Avalon Sunset building (1443 N. Fuller Ave. at Sunset) and the Avalon Wilshire complex (5115 Wilshire Blvd. at Orange).

As for Trader Joe’s, the grocery store employees have the option of transferring to another location when the Movietown Plaza store closes.

There are six Trader Joe’s stores within a three-mile radius of the Movietown Plaza location:

  • 8000 Sunset complex (Crescent Heights Boulevard at Sunset Boulevard)
  • Boystown (8611 Santa Monica Blvd. at Westmount)
  • 8500 Burton complex (Burton Way at La Cienega Boulevard)
  • 175 S. Fairfax Ave. at 3rd (across from the Farmers Market)
  • 263 S. La Brea Ave. at 3rd (across from Ralphs)
  • W Hotel Complex (1600 Vine St. at De Longpre)
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9 years ago

Market rate condos Scott….sorry to disappoint you.

9 years ago

Oh great another “from the ground up” apt complex that will make the units too small to be worth anything.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
9 years ago

I do hope TJs will be encouraged to come back into the new space.

I do wonder how the owners were allowed to evict all the mom and pop businesses and just leave the mall empty for years. that certainly didn’t make the neighborhood any better.

and in the absence of any kind of comprehensive traffic plan I do worry about increasing gridlock.

9 years ago

@Simon – that Trader Joe’s serves the entire East Side. How would you like it if they tore down your favorite store to put up another eyesore mixed use building that nobody in that neighborhood will use? You notice that none of these monstrosities are being put up in the west side of WeHo. The are all being dumped on the east side. We don’t want or need them. The Gateway Project brought so much traffic that it has created an almost constant gridlock on Santa Monica Blvd. Now with the two being built on La Brea, travelling on the… Read more »

9 years ago

Do NOT let them close our TJ til they are ONE MONTH from starting demolition
We have been allowed to be without all the businesses at Movietown for over two years.
Doesn’t the city care about EAST weho. Then they wonder why we need “redevelopment”.
DEAR CITY…… fair to the easties. Don’t perpetuate to Eastside mentality that exists everywhere ie low rent district. We all know it, so don’t pretend it doesn’t exist here.

9 years ago

Yeah, but we need a hideous strip mall? The world doesn’t revolve around making your driving habits easier.

9 years ago

Why does the city of WeHo keep approving these huge eyesores of buildings? They build these huge apt complexes with not enough parking spaces and parking and traffic just keeps getting worse. We don’t need another giant apt/retail space building!

9 years ago

but that’s MY Trader Joes!!!!!!!!! sad face.

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