[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first of several major buildings that are likely to transform the gritty La Brea Avenue gateway to West Hollywood into a more upscale neighborhood is now soliciting tenants.
The Huxley, which has 187 apartments and sits on the southeast corner of La Brea and Fountain, has set a move-in date of March 15. The building is on a lot once occupied by a Jons grocery store. One-bedroom apartments rent for as much as $3,485 a month and two-bedrooms for as much as $4,340 a month, and the building features amenities such as a heated pool, a fitness center, three courtyards, a club lounge, a roof deck, a cafe space and a dog run. There also are many outlets for charging laptops to accommodate what is likely to be a tech-savvy group of residents. And, of course, there is parking. The building will also have stores and restaurants on the first floor.
The building is owned by Essex-Monarch, which in a few months hopes to open the Dylan, a similar building on the northwest corner of La Brea and Santa Monica Boulevard. The Dylan is named after the author Dylan Thomas and the Huxley is named after writer Aldous Huxley.
The goal of both buildings is to create an environment where young professionals can not only live and work but communicate and collaborate, says Mike Leipart, chief marketing officer of The Agency, which is handling marketing for the buildings. Leipart said The Agency worked to understand the people who find West Hollywood appealing so that the buildings could offer amenities that would appeal to them.
“Are we going to get someone who has no interest in living in West Hollywood to move to West Hollywood? Doubtful,” Leipart said. “Can we differentiate ourselves with the other apartments that are available by these things. Absolutely.”
The Huxley is staging a “Hard-Hat” open house from noon to 4 p.m. this weekend to offer prospective tenants a look at the apartments.
In addition to the Huxley, other projects are under construction or being planned for the area by other developers, meaning an addition of almost 700 apartments to the area. Not on La Brea, but only a block west, Trammell Crow Residential has demolished the old Faith Plating building and will erect a six-story apartment building with 166 units. That “Domain West Hollywood” building is scheduled for occupancy in the Spring of 2016 and current projections put rents in the $2,000 range.
South of Santa Monica, on the northwest corner of La Brea and Willoughby avenues, work has begun on the La Brea Gateway, a project of the the Holland Partner Group, that will include 179 residential units and a Sprouts Farmers Market. The developers anticipate that project being ready for tenants in the winter of 2015/2016.
A dramatically designed building on La Brea at Lexington (left), with less affluent residents, is having its official opening on Mar. 1, although tenants started moving in in January. The Courtyard at La Brea is a project of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (WHCHC), which serves people with low or very low incomes, including households with special needs and young people from 18 to 24 who were formerly homeless or previously in foster care. The 32-unit building was designed by Mutlow + Tighe. It features photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water heating, on-site bicycle storage, and an edible garden with a composting program. It was funded by the City of West Hollywood, LA County’s Community Development Commission, Union Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.
The City of West Hollywood has made other improvements in the area, including widening sidewalks and planting trees on La Brea between Romaine and Fountain. That project was completed in December. The La Brea projects are likely to help connect West Hollywood with the Hollywood Media District, an area that stretches from La Brea west to Vine and is bordered on the north by Santa Monica Boulevard and the south by Melrose Avenue. The area houses a number of small live theatres on a section of Santa Monica known as Theatre Row as well as restaurants and trendy shops and the offices of some entertainment produceers.
La Brea has been the east side boundary of West Hollywood since its incorporation as a separate city 30 years ago. But until recently it has been home to a few small houses and small restaurants and shops north of Santa Monica and shops and deteriorating industrial buildings to the south. A major exception has been West Hollywood Gateway, a shopping plaza on Santa Monica and La Brea that houses major stores such as Target and BestBuy along with a number of restaurants. The Gateway opened in 2004. Also, BMB Investments has renovated an empty 44,500 square-foot industrial building on the southeast corner of La Brea and Romaine that was built in 1933. The building will house retailers on the ground floor and office on the second through fifth floors.
The pages that follow offer a look at apartment interiors at the Huxley as well as buildings under construction or where construction will be starting soon. Take a look: