West Hollywood’s Planning Commission gave its approval to modifications to the planned Sunset-Doheny Hotel at its Thursday night meeting.
In March 2010, the City Council approved the 11-story, mixed-use hotel project at 9040 Sunset Blvd. (at Doheny Drive) with 148 hotel rooms, 20 condominiums, 18,000 square feet of retail space and 5,800 square feet of conference meeting rooms.
At the time, the project was just a concept proposed by developer Richard Weintraub. No specific hotel chain had committed to it.
Now, the Marriott hotel chain wants to operate the hotel as the West Coast flagship of its new “Edition” brand of high-end, luxury-service hotels. The chain also has Edition hotels planned for London, Miami and New York City.
With a specific hotel operator now in place, the project was asking for modifications to the originally approved plan. Edition wanted permission to increase to 190 hotel rooms, include a 5,000 square-foot “Crazy Box” nightclub adjacent to the subterranean parking garage and add eight feet to the building’s height for a 3,100 square-foot bar area adjacent to the rooftop pool.
The Commission was fine with those changes.
With these additions, the hotel’s parking requirements would change. The project was originally approved for 376 parking spaces, but the modifications would push the parking requirement to 488 spaces. However, Edition wanted to keep the parking at 376 spaces, saying the extra spaces would only be needed if everything was at full capacity.
Commissioner John Altschul had problems with that, saying, “Would you wish it any other way? Isn’t that how we calculate our code? At capacity?”
After much debate, the Commission left the parking requirement issue to the City Council to decide since it will have the final say over the modifications.
No new design
The Commission also had issue with the fact there were no designs for the Edition hotel being proposed. The project was approved in 2010 based on a design by architect Eric Owen Moss. That design was described as “landmark architecture” that would stand out on the Sunset Strip.
Edition doesn’t seem inclined to use the Moss designs, but doesn’t want to commission new designs until these modifications are approved.
Altschul called the lack of designs “smoke and mirrors,” asking how they could approve something that had no designs. Altschul said he was fine with however they wanted to arrange the interior of the hotel, but wanted to know what it would look like on the outside.
Attorney Jim Arnone, representing Edition at the hearing, said if the City Council approves the modifications, then Edition will come back to the Planning Commission’s Design Review subcommittee and later the full Planning Commission with the plans.
Ultimately, the Commission voted 6-0 to approve the modifications. Commissioner Alan Bernstein was absent from the meeting.
The project now goes to the City Council for final approval of the modifications. That hearing will likely happen in June.