Centrum Sunset Gets Reprieve; Could Come Back without David Barton Gym

City Council votes to give the Centrum Sunset project, which it denied in April, a chance to come back with revised plans for a scaled down building that would have less video signage and no David Barton gym as a tenant.

The Centrum Sunset project may not be completely dead after all as the City Council gave it a last-minute reprieve of sorts at its Monday night meeting.

the three-story, 47,000-square-foot building set to be built on the old Tower Records lot at 8801 Sunset Blvd. An upscale David Barton boutique gym and spa was set to be the main tenant.

Area residents strongly opposed the project due to the video signage on the building and the estimated 1,200 car trips a day the project would produce. Councilmembers agreed that amount of traffic was simply too much of an impact on the residential areas and voted 4-1 to deny it.

The Council was scheduled to finalize that denial at Monday night’s meeting as part of the consent calendar, but a last minute appeal changed that plan.

Representatives for Centrum Sunset asked the Council to continue the project rather than deny it. By asking for the continuation, Centrum Sunset was asking to Council to give them a chance to revise the project.

Exact details haven’t been worked out, but the revised project would be scaled down. It would have less video signage, no billboard and no David Barton Gym as a tenant. Essentially, the things to which residents were most opposed would be removed.

The Council had mixed feelings about this request.

Councilmember John D’Amico lauded the architecture and said it would be a shame to loose a building that would stand out so prominently along the Sunset Strip.

Meanwhile Councilmember John Heilman said, “We voted to deny it. It seems unfair to revive it at 1 o’clock in the morning when none of the residents who opposed it are here.”

(The item was one of the last things the Council dealt with during its marathon six-and-a-half-hour meeting that ended shortly after 1 a.m.)

The Council voted 3-2 to approve the continuation. Heilman and Mayor Pro Tem Abbe Land voted against the continuation.

Centrum Sunset agreed to hold neighborhood meetings to get input from the community about the revised plans before coming back to the Council in the summer.

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Djaluvit May 08, 2012 at 09:55 PM
So what have we learned from this latest after-midnight twist? City Council decides to approve or deny a project at a public hearing, but the project has to come up one more time at a later meeting as a "consent" item for final approval, at which point, the item can be "pulled" from the consent calendar by any council member and reconsidered all over again! No wonder the Save Plummer Park people and the bicyclists come to about every meeting. They know you have to stay on top of things every minute cause it ain't over til the fat lady sings. Have heard that the Centrum Sunset developer has been considering putting a Walgreen's there, just like the Council approved last night for the beleaguered corner of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights. That new drug store was laughably being hailed as 'iconic," a "landmark." If Sunset/Holloway/Horn gets its drugstore, what adjectives to use for that Walgreen's: perhaps "legendary," mythic," transcendent"?
90069 May 09, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I enjoy the video screens as long as they are not used for advertising. That is part of the flavor of the Strip. If a developer is willing to invest in them the city should encourage it. However, I'm not sure if it is possible to limit what is actually presented on the video screens. However, the city should be open to developing this parcel. Right now it is really underutilized and along with the condemened looking propetry next to Book Soup we need more street activity here.
Paul May 09, 2012 at 08:46 AM
John Heilman needs to get to bed early and has no business being up that late.
Manny May 09, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Apparently, at that late hour, John Heilman was the only one concerned about the residents.
joninla May 09, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Hypocrisy, Irony or just Redundancy John Heilman said, “We voted to deny it. It seems unfair to revive it at 1 o’clock in the morning when none of the residents who opposed it are here.” The vague excuse of something being 'UNFAIR' is John Heilman's 'go to' reasoning to keep things going his way. Last time Heilman's belief was that it would be "unfair" to the employees who had prepared the 25 year Master Plan to have to revise or redo it just because it was started pre-housing crash, used the proposed, but rejected, subway going through weho, and lacked any serious professional studies in favor of opinions to fit the desires of 'Heilman's Plan'. UNFAIR? I think, John Heilman, pushing through your desired 25 year master plan for the City without disclosing the primary intent and purpose in creating the plan was because Heilman wanted to change the existing zoning (which is very hard to do) and the process includes a mandatory 25 year plan explaining what radical changes have occurred in the way we live/do business that was not foreseeable when the zoning plan was created and actually restricted Heilman from omnipotence in deciding the Developers he favors to be allowed to build projects that exceed the protective zoning limits? The time and delays in getting anything done in this city are well known. Yet the rezoning took place days after Heilman finally got his 25 year plan. At least come up with a new excuse other than 'unfair'
Jerome Cleary May 09, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Even if some things are removed from this project it does not change the traffic study number so over 1200 vehicles a day and over 550 u-turns so this already gridlocked area would basically come to a complete standstill. It jeopardizes first responders 911 calls for fire engines, police cars and ambulances.
joninla June 06, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I don't have a strong feeling, but of all possible uses for the site (assuming despite the locals not wanting anything - the property is developed) I am not sure why an 'expensive' Gym is so objectionable a business of all the possibilities. I wouldn't (and couldn't afford) to ever use it, but gyms don't seem to be nearly as much a type of business that would disrupt both traffic in general and the noise, frequency and number of cars coming and going from the small local streets as almost any other use I can think of. People who drive to the gym, stay a long while and don't tend to linger in the parking lot where food/beverage/trash might start to accumulate. Likewise, with the high end nature, the people going will be wealthy, have fancy new cars and like their interest in keeping their bodies fit, their cars nice and clean, they will in general be the least likely of users of any development that would bring undesirable elements into the neighborhood. A Walgreens will have so many more short/quick visits by shoppers who will be of a much less affluent class, having cars that are old and make noise. Likewise, the shoppers will include many who are there for cheap/junk food because they are not so concerned about their own health or effects their actions have on themselves let alone others. I am not saying I want or like rich snobby people, but objectively, wouldn't a fancy gym be less disruptive to daily life of the NIMBYS who are so upset??? or not ??
OTW June 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
The thing to remember here is that something IS going to be built on this site. Just about anything that is to succeed there will cause more traffic, will most likely have a giant driver distracting billboard on top, and will never get the approval of everyone. Keeping that in mind, maybe, just maybe the powers that be will consider less density, in terms of height. Another Walgreens? How about a hip bowling alley, with 2 stories of office space on top. Just a thought...... And yes, if you care, really care about something happening in our city then you must attend not only every Council meeting, but every commission, and advisory board meeting at which the item will be discussed. You never know what you might hear and learn at these meetings.
Stephanie June 06, 2012 at 07:34 PM
@Djaluvit - Re: Protect Plummer Park people and Bicyclists: You hit the nail on the head with that. I am one of the PPPP! It is the only way. You have to be there at all times and in all places or fat lady will be singing the final aria and you will have missed it. Community participation is PRESSING AND URGENT. If citizens do not get out there and make themselves heard, the billboards will go up, the trees will come down, the history will be lost, the buildings will be 10 stories tall, the traffic will get worse, density will increase, businesses will leave and we will be in debt, just like everywhere else. So, don't be complacent. It is the kiss of death to be silent. Trust me, the developers and the City speak out. We must, too.


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