Melrose Triangle project aims to improve integration and pedestrian flow in latest plans

The Planning Commission’s Design Review Subcommittee got an in-depth look Thursday evening at the latest incarnation of the Melrose Triangle mixed-use project proposed for 9040 Santa Monica Blvd.

The sprawling development will encompass the entire triangular lot between Santa Monica Blvd., North Almont Drive. and Melrose Ave., and will be comprised of three separate buildings — the Boulevard Building, the Gateway Building and the Avenue Building.

The project was first approved by the city in 2014. The new changes to the project came at the behest of the developers themselves.

“This has not been delayed by the city,” Chairperson Lynn Hoopingarner noted. “This is been an election by the developer to modify the project that was entitled back in 2014.”

The amended design proposes increases the gross floor area by approximately 48,000 square feet, for a total of 350,954 square feet. Also among the changes are an increase in the number of dwelling units from 76 to 77, 24 of which will be set aside for low-income households. The plans also increase square footage for office and restaurant areas, while removing space allocated for art galleries and design show rooms, as well as reducing parking down by 360 spaces.

Other major changes include:

  • Removal of a driveway access from Santa Monica Boulevard and relocation of all commercial access to Melrose Avenue. A second driveway is provided on Almont Drive for residential access only.
  • Enlargement of the central court space as an active and vibrant setting for retail and dining, and heightening of the paseo connection linking Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose.
  • Strong pedestrian-oriented treatment of the three corners of the Triangle area
  • Elevated building performance based on greater attention to individual building orientation and exterior material systems
  • Positioning a housing component as an active presence along Almont Drive
  • Activated site perimeter with addition restaurant space and liner retail along the sidewalk
  • Public way enhancements that integrate designated ride share and passenger loading areas and coordination with bike lanes.
  • New design configuration for the Melrose/SMB corner tip turning lane with pedestrian crossings

City staff praised the new designs in their report. “A particular success of the project is in the street front activation using a combination of green walls, shallow depth liner retail, grand circulation features, material changes, and a two-level café on Almont to enliven the pedestrian experience. The Almont stair entry is a significant improvement that greatly enhances access and potential future linkages to create a true walking district in the entire Triangle area,” the report reads.

The Subcommittee members were thorough and incisive in their critiques, addressing the flow of pedestrians and the ground-level impression.

“I spend a lot of time in this area,” said Commissioner Rogerio Carvalheiro. “This package seems to be void of is the sort of understanding of how people circulate around the site. Santa Monica Boulevard, and that quarter is so brutally hot at Melrose, Santa Monica and Doheny, and putting the glass box there like that without any shade devices or any trees, it will be a complete failure.”

“Where’s the real traffic going to be?” asked Hoopingarner. “Everybody lives to the east and south, and they’re not going to come up through Petco to get to that corner; it’s just not going to happen.”

“I understand that all projects need to be revenue generating, they need to be financially successful, but is there something in between?” Carvalheiro asked. “I hate using the term generic … but there’s a generic quality still to the project that I want to see go away.”

“While this is a destination city we want to invite people in there,” said Hoopingarner. “We have many long lived destination restaurants. We also have a lot of very short lived. And we have a real neighborhood need for neighborhood serving businesses, especially in that area. And I think that the opportunity exists to do something really exciting and vibrant around a food court concept around some micro retail.”

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Don S
Don S
1 month ago

Agree 100%. It’s all Lynn Hoopingarner. Folks we have a NIMBY on our commission and we need to get rid of her. She fights tooth and nail every development project. She’s completely clueless and full of arrogance.

Last edited 1 month ago by Don S
No Experiments
No Experiments
12 days ago
Reply to  Don S

She is the singular commissioner that understands the balance of all the aspects in additional to the details. Two other commissioners have some sense of reality but others are lost. They chime in with carefully crafted non specific comments to sound vaguely knowledgable and decisive but in the end just applaud the idea of “Affordable Housing” with out much understanding or experience. Thin resumes do no good service to the city.

If a Tree Falls
If a Tree Falls
1 month ago

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

A whirling, fallen somewhat defective Christmas Tree laden with shiny ornaments and a collection of post it notes from the commissioners. Project audibly and visually presented by Andy Cohen Co-CEO of Gensler and their premier land use attorney. Wow! The big guns to sell the project and not the folks that initiated the design and/or could discuss many of the comments presented by the community, some of which are practicing professionals in the field. This will not end well.

Chloe Ross
1 month ago

Fascinating. But if you build it…will they really come?

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
1 month ago

All this fuss for a tiny project I can barely see in the picture.

People wanting to shop for there will miss it driving by such a small and designed non intrusive & discrete.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

any development that changes SMB is a good thing. it’s been a dump for far too long.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago

Needs more scooter corals. I love riding scooters in West Hollywood!!!

Chloe Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Do you also love them being stopped and dropped anyway the rider feels like?

Bad scooters
Bad scooters
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Soon Weho will need a Scooter Task Force so they can chase the scooter offenders and create more pandemonium.

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
2 months ago

This section of Melrose has tons of jay walking day and night as no one wants to use the cross walk so I can’t imagine with this giant development how the traffic will do when you have to stop many times because people are cutting and walking in front of your car when you drive by.

JF1
JF1
2 months ago

That corner desperately needs to be re-developed! And one of the commissioners is correct when she says we need some more restaurants for the neighborhood! We have plenty of destination restaurants but we need a place that we can walk into and grab a meal and we’ve lost almost all of them. I like the fact that the courtyard space has been increased and the sidewalk has been more activated but we do need to see some more neighborhood friendly restaurants.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

Please give some examples of restaurants you want.

I have a feeling people like you will complain when a couple restaurants open and you accuse them of being too expensive because they don’t have 1997 prices anymore.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

A place that doesn’t need a bouncer outside. A place that doesn’t have red velvet ropes. A place you don’t need to make reservations two weeks or more in advance to get a table. Is that enough for you? I certainly don’t expect 1997 prices and I can afford whatever comes into the neighborhood. Your constant silly comments are getting boring.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

Shake Shack, Tender Greens, Hugos, Guisados, Fresh Corn Grill, Pink Taco, Weho Bistro, Le Pho etc

I can name many more if you’d like. There are plenty of non reservation restaurants. Have you tried looking around?

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Yes, and with exception of one, none are located on the west end where this project is located. You asked for types, I gave you types -with regards to this project.

WEHO!!!
WEHO!!!
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

I would love a Carl’s Jr back in WEHO and add an IN N’ OUT too!!!

Waide Riddle
1 month ago
Reply to  WEHO!!!

There’s nothing better than an IN N’ OUT burger & fries! Yum! Shake Shack is way overpriced and way overrated to the point of laughable. But, imagine an IN N’ OUT in WeHo! A whole new neighborhood hangout. Mark my word, I’m sure someone will complain, though.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

Don’t see many WeHo types in Bottega Louie when I walk past. They don’t even have today’s pastries out till after 10am.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

what is a “WEHO type”????????

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
2 months ago

Hopefully this monster is years away.

Chloe Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

Live in hope!!! I agree.

Matti
Matti
2 months ago

Maybe some of the critiques would be better rectified if the vacant land could be split up and developed incrementally, as much of the city was long before incorporation. Give many small developers a chance to build neighborhood-serving, financially sustainable properties. Is this not feasible in the modern market? These mega projects try to do a lot at one time, at bird’s-eye scale, and inevitably need a lot of compromises. Maybe the upside is the speed at which they’re completed, but this has one has awhile to get started anyway.

JF1
JF1
2 months ago
Reply to  Matti

The developer owns the land and he’s going to develop it. I don’t see him selling off parcels.

agag
agag
2 months ago

The animation is inaccurate unless they also plan to eliminate street parking and turn Melrose into four lanes. It’s currently two lanes.

The single Melrose westbound lane doesn’t even go into Beverly Hills, instead it’s forced to make a U-turn at Doheny onto eastbound Santa Monica Blvd.

Being allowed to have 360 less parking spaces from the original plan is a bad idea.

Melrose Doheny WB.jpg
Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  agag

Good eyes! Not only is all metered parking gone on both sides of Melrose, metered parking is also gone on both sides of Santa Monica Blvd. How does that happen? Maybe they think everyone’s coming on a scooter. That’s so 2017.

Bad Scooters
Bad Scooters
1 month ago
Reply to  Manny

Council Members Shyne and Erickson have publically stated that scooters are the future. Something like if we build the infrastructure they will come. Nipping bad ideas in the bud is essential because this train is leaving the station and it may be an express.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  agag

I think we can agree that the animation is purposely inaccurate, with four lanes of traffic on Melrose and vehicles just zipping by. With the elimination of 360 parking spaces, the project will probably be under parked and thus there will be more traffic at this problematic intersection was designed at the turn of the last century to accommodate the Red Car. I want to be supportive of this project as this will be a gateway to the City but Staff seems a bit too willing too anxious to make concessions; removing access from Santa Monica and putting all commercial… Read more »

Chloe Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Good observation.

agag
agag
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

If they added back the original number of parking spaces it could actually benefit the project and area.

Before the project, patrons of Troubadour and shops on nearby Melrose & Santa Monica Blvd paid to park there. Employees and office workers at the project, including off-property ones could purchase monthly passes.

I agree removing access from Santa Monica Blvd doesn’t make sense. A dedicated right turn lane on eastbound Santa Monica is an option if backed up traffic is a concern for the City.

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

Amazing animation with all the traffic merrily whizzing along Santa Monica and Melrose. Note how they cut the pan at the point where it would show the 43 car pile-up at Doheny all that speeding traffic would no doubt cause..

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