WeHo Design Review Subcommittee Takes Up 8713 Beverly Project

EDITOR’S NOTE:  An earlier version of this story erred in calling out previous projects reviewed by the Design Review Subcommittee.  That follows are the projects on Thursday’s agenda.

WeHo’s Design Review Subcommittee will take another look on Thursday at a proposed project at 8713 Beverly Blvd. at Sherbourne that was rejected in April by the Planning Commission.

lorcan o'herlihy, west hollywood planning commission
8713 Beverly Blvd. project as seen from Sherbourne (Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

In its unanimous decision in April, the commission said the proposed five-story residential-retail project was not compatible with the neighborhood. Nearby residents spoke against the project, saying they were concerned about traffic, noise from the rooftop decks and the proposed 55-foot high wall on the north side near their backyards might block sunlight from reaching them.

The developer, Arash Danialifar, has proposed demolishing the one-story building at 8713 Beverly, which currently is home to the Peppermint Club, and combining it with a parking lot at 321-327 Sherbourne Drive. The combined property would be used to construct a project consisting of two five-story buildings, one facing Beverly and the other facing Sherbourne. As proposed, the two buildings would be connected by catwalks between each of the upper floors.

The latest iteration of the project, designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy, would contain about 10,000 square feet of commercial space and a 26 apartment units, four of which would be designated “affordable housing.” There would be street level and two levels of underground parking.

The area is zoned for a maximum of three stories (35 feet in height), but because the city wants to encourage “mixed-used” buildings that include retail and residential in the same project, the city’s Mixed-Use Incentive Overlay Zone allows addition of another floor (10 feet) to a project. Because the project also would include “affordable housing” (three units for very low-income residents and two for moderate-income residents), the developer asked for permission to add another floor (10 more feet), for a total height of 55 feet.

In a memo to the Design Review Subcommittee, Gwynne Pugh, the city’s urban design consultant, said the developer has made a “significant and primary change … to the northerly elevation which faces a residential district. Initially the elevation was canted back. This did not comply with zoning code requirements and the architect revised the project so that the upper two floors are notched back from the northerly elevation.”

“The context and massing for this project is appropriate as it is located on a street with varying building sizes from the eight story Cedars-Sinai structure immediately across the street to the one, two and four-story buildings within the same block,” Pugh said. “This project is a very pedestrian oriented project with retail/office space on three floors fronting on Beverly and the primary residential entry and an art gallery on Sherbourne. In both instances, the front elevation has been canted back to create a mini plaza-like space, and is connected with the paseo through to the internal courtyard.”

The Subcommittee also will review on Thursday two smaller projects.

943 Stanley project as viewed from the north.

943 Stanley Ave.

This building is a five-unit condominium on three levels over an underground garage. The project, by Ilan Kenig’s FMB Group, was heavily criticized by Pugh.

“This project has been poorly thought through with little consideration for massing, use of materials, and how materials come together, how materials might last through time, and many other elements that make it an unsatisfactory project,” he said in his memo to the Design Review Subcommittee. “The elements of concern include compliance with code requirements of recessing of stairways above the roof line, and the inadequate buffering of the edge of the roof deck. In addition, the interior layout of this project will make for substandard housing. As a consequence of all of these issues it is recommended that the applicant rework the project to a more satisfactory condition.”

938 N. Genesee project

938 N. Genesee Ave.

This proposed building also is a five-unit, three story condominium building over an underground garage. It would replace a three-bedroom house. In his review, Pugh was somewhat critical of its design.

“Some of the simplicity of the original design has been lost in this latest iteration,” he said, noting that “the use of wood and stone veneer as an applied exterior material, in particular, is problematic. It is neither accenting the massing nor providing screening and should therefore be reconsidered.

Pugh also was critical of the “dark ‘charcoal gray smooth stucco finish,’” which he said “is used in excess and does not follow a clear logic.” And he noted there are large blank facades on the south and north sides of the building that would benefit from “clerestory type windows or other private openings to bring in more natural light.”

The Design Review Subcommittee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Room 5 of the Plummer Park Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. near North Fuller.

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Susan Pinkus
Susan Pinkus
5 years ago

It really doesn’t matter the criticism or objections expressed by the community — the Planning Commission and thereby the Council always pass the projects. Don’t you realize the city is owned by the developers. It is frustrating, but that is the way it is.

J Simmons
J Simmons
5 years ago
Reply to  Susan Pinkus

100% AGREE! You said it as precisely as possible. True.

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