Will the get the green light this week? And will the proposed be reviewed?
Those are two of the questions before the Planning Commission this week as it holds its biweekly meeting on Thursday.
The Centrum Sunset project from developer Sol Barket proposes to demolish the old Tower Records building at 8801 Sunset Blvd. Barket wants to replace it with a 52,000-square-foot building with retail shops at ground level, a David Barton specialty gym/spa on the second level and office space on the third level.
The Commission first heard this proposal at its , but continued it until August, stating the need for more information on traffic impacts, parking within the structure, a proposed parking deck exit on Horn Avenue and the building’s video billboard, which will consist of four separate video screens wrapping around the southeast side of the building.
“We have revised our plans for 8801 Sunset considerably over the last several years in response to feedback we have received from our neighbors,” said Barket of Centrum Properties.
The building mass has been lowered by putting the parking below ground, the amount of signage has been cut significantly, the size of the David Barton Gym has been reduced by more than half from the 45,000-square-foot facility included in the early plans to the current 21,400 square feet of gym/spa space, he said.
“We have added a public amenity in the form of a pocket park at the northern end of the site at the request of neighbors who asked for green space," Barket said. "At the same time, the overriding goal has remained the same: to design a great project that will fit into the community and revitalize the Sunset Strip.”
Resident Elyse Eisenberg, who lives on Horn Avenue just above the project, is one of many residents fighting the project.
“It is still a 52,000-square-foot building with a large gym at the heart of it," she said. "The gym is what creates the parking and traffic intensities. Another use for the property has never been considered.”
She believes the building’s parking and increased traffic on Sunset and surrounding streets are not acceptable.
“The traffic circulation plan is unmanageable in any incarnation,” Eisenberg said. “With their parking, they are over 40 spaces too few by the city's calculation, over 70 too few by my attorney’s calculation. The parking they do have is achieved only by 100 percent valet, mechanical lifts and aisle parking, none of which make sense for a gym/office combination where the peak hours overlap.”
The Commission will also debate whether to review a recent decision by Community Development Director Anne McIntosh to approve a for the old Laurel Hardware building at 7984 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Laurel).
Planning Commissioner Lauren Meister filed a request for review upon instruction from City Councilman John D’Amico, who appointed her to the Commission. The Planning Commission has the right to review any decision made by the Community Development Director.
Meister told Weho Patch she filed the review request because residents had complaints about the procedure used in the Director’s hearing, when McIntosh approved the restaurant.
Meister said she also has concerns about restaurant parking, as do many area residents. City zoning codes require the restaurant have 32 spaces, but McIntosh approved the project’s plan to lease 19 spaces off-site. Area residents say parking is always short in the mid-city area and the restaurant will only aggravate things.
At Thursday’s meeting, the Commission will not hear the actual case, merely discuss whether to review it at a later date. “If the Commission votes to go ahead with the review, a hearing date will need to be set,” Meister told Patch. “I don't know when that will be.”
The Commission will also determine whether to allow bar at 8809 Santa Monica Blvd. to install a smoking patio. Also on the agenda is a proposal to demolish the existing two-story, 14-unit apartment building at 1264 N. Harper Ave. and replace it with a four-story, 14-unit condominium building.
The Planning Commission meeting is Thursday, Aug. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in .