Townscape Partners has moved past what appears to be the last legal hurdle to beginning construction on its project at 8150 Sunset Blvd.
Fix the City, which describes itself as a group of volunteers who work to improve Los Angeles neighborhoods and infrastructure, announced today that it had reached an agreement with Townscape regarding its issues with the 8150 Sunset project and no longer would oppose it.
Fix the City had sued Townscape over the developer’s plans to close the eastbound right-turn lane at Sunset and Crescent Heights Boulevard. The state’s 2nd District Court of Appeals sided with Fix the City in a lawsuit in which FTC claimed Townscape hadn’t obtained necessary approval from the City of Los Angeles for the lane closure. The court said the city needed to conduct a hearing on the proposed closure to prove that the lane wasn’t essential for traffic movement. Fix the City had argued that such a finding would be impossible because of the heavy traffic on Sunset.
“As a result of the court’s ruling directing the City of L.A. to conduct the … hearing, FTC has agreed not to raise any further objections to the project or street vacation,” says FTC’s announcement. “FTC continues to support the enhancement of intersections to achieve the highest level of pedestrian safety and facilitate the least amount of vehicle congestion possible.
“FTC wishes to thank Townscape Partners for their willingness and enthusiasm to embrace FTC’s public safety concerns by supporting the first-in fire station, installing enhanced pedestrian safety devices and requiring that AEDs be present throughout the project.”
FTC’s mention of the fire station is a reference to an agreement by Townscape to contribute $4,000 to a fire station in Hollywood. Townscape also has agreed to install defibrillators in the project’s retail spaces and embed lights in the sidewalk along the project site on Sunset and Crescent Heights that would provide pedestrian safety signals. Townscape still must get the blessing of the City of Los Angeles to remove the right-turn lane.
The mixed-use project, designed by noted architect Frank Gehry, consists of five buildings that include 229 residential units, 38 of which will be set aside as affordable housing, along with 65,000 square feet of commercial space that will include including a grocery store, restaurants and retail shops. Townscape has faced opposition because of its plans to demolish the Lytton Savings building, which now houses a Chase Bank branch. Historic preservation advocates have argued for the preservation of that building, an argument that was rejected in a court decision in March. Townscape also has received pushback from some residents of West Hollywood, which lies to the south of the project. They have expressed concern about the traffic the development might generate, its impact on the city’s sewers and the height of its buildings.
The City of West Hollywood struck a deal with Townscape in 2016 that called for reducing the height of development’s tallest building, proposed for 234 feet, to 178 feet as measured from the lowest point on sloping site. Townscape also agreed to give West Hollywood $2 million for traffic improvements. Then-Mayor Lauren Meister said at the time that the city plans to erect bollards at the city’s border along Havenhurst Drive (on the western side of the site) to create a cul-de-sac to prevent traffic leaving the 8150 Sunset project from turning left onto Havenhurst. Townscape will also give the city more than $500,000 for sewer improvements, since the project will connect to West Hollywood’s sewers.
In its announcement, Fix the City said Townscape had agreed to pay its legal costs and that the two had agreed not to disclose that amount.
“As is its practice, FTC neither asked for nor will receive any direct or indirect benefit from the settlement beyond its legal fees,” the announcement said.