Judge Rejects LA Conservancy’s Suit Against the Melrose Triangle Project

The Melrose Triangle project's "paseo" linking Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue. (Architect: Studio One Eleven)
The Melrose Triangle project’s “paseo” linking Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue. (Architect: Studio One Eleven)

A Superior Court judge today rejected a challenge by the Los Angeles Conservancy to the City of West Hollywood’s approval of the Melrose Triangle project.

The Conservancy, an organization focused on preserving buildings that it deems to have historic significance, had claimed that in preparing its environmental impact report the city did not adequately consider an alternative that would preserve the Streamline Moderne building at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd. That building will be demolished for the project.

streamline moderne, 9080 santa monica blvd.
The former animal hospital built in the Streamline Moderne style at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd.

Melrose Triangle, a development of the Charles Company, will sit on a plot of land bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Almont Drive at the city’s border with Beverly Hills. It will consist of three buildings with a total of 300,000 square feet with a wide public passageway connecting Santa Monica Boulevard with Melrose Avenue. It will house offices, restaurants and shops and 76 residential units, 15 of which would be reserved for low- and moderate-income renters. Supporters of the project have described it as a dramatic eastern gateway to West Hollywood.

Those who campaigned against demolishing the 9080 Santa Monica Blvd. building argued that its design was architecturally significant. The building was built in 1928 and then renovated in 1938 in the Streamline Moderne style by Wurdeman & Becket, one of whose principals, Welton Becket, designed the Capitol Records building and the Cinerama Dome. For many years the building served as the Jones Dog & Cat Hospital, whose clients included actors such as Charlie Chaplin.

In his ruling, Judge Richard Fruin Jr. said the city had properly considered alternatives to the Charles Company design, including one that would have tried to integrate the 9080 building into the modern Melrose Triangle design. Fruin noted that the city had reasoned that incorporating the Streamline Moderne building into the Melrose Triangle project would reduce the size of the “gateway” building facing Beverly Hills, would reduce available parking and would create “a discordant architectural appearance.” “The city’s findings are entitled to deference,” Fruin’s ruling stated. “They are, in any event, supported by substantial evidence.”

In his decision, Fruin also noted that the 9089 building was damaged by a fire last May. A damage assessment report prepared for the city said that 25% of the building’s floor area was damaged beyond repair and requires demolition and removal.

The Conservancy has 60 days to appeal Fruin’s decision.

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Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
7 years ago

Also is this Artist Rendering what the project will look like or is it just a generic picture of what every single new mixed use project looks like these days? Either way – tear down an historic building. Build a massive OVERSIZED mixed use Project… But at least make it both Attractive/Inviting and UNIQUE – It is a UNIQUE property just rezoned for major construction. are we getting just another “hancock lofts” project?? Does anyone panning and designing notice (like it or not) THE GROVE and it’s style design and layout has become the benchmark for bulding “a mall’ and… Read more »

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
7 years ago

HALLELUJAH! That means LESS WORK for the just proposed Commission To Study Historic Building Resources in weho, How kind to ease the burden and work of the Historic Committee future members by demolishing an old building that looks just like every other …. I mean it’s just another …. Actually, it is one of the few Historic WeHo buildings that is a classic from an era with virtually no other comperable era/style/unique/classic anywhere on the westside of all of Los Angeles. 1. Why has NOBODY ever offered to let anyone have a proposed historic demolition for $1 on the condition… Read more »

Tony Villanueva
Tony Villanueva
7 years ago

Are you serious? “A dramatic eastern gateway to West Hollywood”? Hardly. That architectural rendering is hideous. Just what West Hollywood needs another instant mix with water pop up cookie cutter sterile box. West Hollywood is losing its charm and creativity. Its a shame that no one can see that. Terrible to demolish a building that has survived for 88 years,excellent example of Stream Line Moderne and one of the few left. When I was taking Design classes at UCLA I used this building as an example in my final project. Thank You LA Conservancy for recognizing this piece of outstanding… Read more »

Lynn
Lynn
7 years ago

Excellent! This project should proceed as planned. If the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance expects to achieve credibility, perhaps they could endeavor to get out in front of potential preservation sites not yet designated, seek their designation and or become a meaningful advocate for a site to be included in future development plans. Digging in one’s heels determined to be the tail wagging the dog is not helpful to anyone as it expends unnecessary time, energy and expense in search of a fruitless outcome. Initially WHPA declined the opportunity to theoretically link up with The Santa Monica Conservancy and LA Conservancy… Read more »

Manny
Manny
7 years ago

Hooray!….Good news for the west side and beyond……Now let’s get them to put a Starbucks on the corner of Almont and Melrose…..and it’ll have parking too!

Greenie
Greenie
7 years ago

Economically sound judicial review and finding. Congratulations to our City with this revitalization and delineation from Beverly Hills and the attractive, gateway that is not degraded for West Hollywood.

The Factory too, insignificant and unremarkable, cannot be part of this fresh turn to economic prosperity for the new gateway. No distractions that would leave visitors, consumers, residents… wondering why???

Now resolved, progress and change for West Hollywood’s thrust into the future.

JJ
JJ
7 years ago

Thank you, thank you!! Let’s get this blighted, underdeveloped, dead zone redeveloped! NOW! Can’t wait for that whole area to come alive again!

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