No one knows when WeHo’s biggest projects will be finished — or if they ever will be

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The only progress seen on the Melrose Triangle project and the grand design approved by City Council years ago is a massive, waterlogged hole in the ground.

None of West Hollywood’s 15 major commercial construction projects has moved any closer to completion, according to the city’s Community Development Department — and most are still little more than plans in a state of flux.

City Council has asked the department to keep them apprised of the progress of these developments every quarter, and the Q1 report of updates they’re presenting Monday night contains one word repeated over and over: “None.”

The report notes which project’s “entitlements” —  the exceptions to the rules granted by City Council in exchange for affordable housing carve-outs and other public benefits — are active and inactive. 

The 10-years-in-the-making Melrose Triangle project (9040-9098 Santa Monica Blvd.) allowed its entitlements package to expire in March, and its building plan check expires on the 23rd of this month. The developers have applied to extend their expired entitlements, as have the developers of the former Arts Club project (8920 Sunset Blvd.).

The Robertson project (645-681 Robertson Blvd.) — pitched as a nine-story, 239,128 square foot commercial development with 123 hotel rooms, office space, and other commercial uses — allowed its building plan check to expire in January, and its entitlements will expire in December. The proposed seven-story, 57,612 square foot hotel and restaurant with 116 hotel rooms at 1040 La Brea also has a deadline approaching for its entitlements.

Seven of the 15 projects have had their entitlements approved (the other eight are still pending) but even with this major hurdle cleared, all the sites have shown negligible progress toward completion. 

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City Council is exploring ways of cracking down on these neverending construction projects but has yet to find a long-term solution. 

THE PROCESS

Developments over 30,000 square feet need a Development Permit from the Planning Commission, and as of April 1, 2024, there are 15 such projects at different stages of review.

The process begins when developers submit applications to the city’s Planning Division. These applications are checked for completeness and compliance with local and state regulations. After these checks, the Planning Commission reviews the application, holds a public hearing, and makes a decision. Their decision can be challenged and brought before City Council.

After approval, the project moves to the building stage, where detailed plans are reviewed by various city departments to ensure they meet all building and safety codes. If approved, construction must start within 12 months, or the permit expires, though extensions can be granted under certain conditions.

Some projects have applied for changes due to economic shifts affecting costs and demands. These changes are reviewed in the same way as new applications and may involve public hearings if they significantly alter the original plans.

City Council has also updated some rules: In 2015, they extended the life of initial project approvals from two years to three years and limited how many times these can be extended. In March 2024, they allowed further extensions for projects that are negotiating development agreements with the city. Once construction starts, the project approval is secure as long as work continues. If a project approval expires, the developer must start the approval process again under current laws.

 

Project Address / Name Description Status Planning Phase Building Phase Plan Check/Permit No. Other Updates General Zoning*
9040-9098 Santa Monica Boulevard (Melrose Triangle) New six-story, 350,983 sq ft mixed-use development with 80 residential units (24 affordable), offices, retail, and restaurants. Entitlements are approved and active; no amendments are pending. Approved by City Council on June 19, 2014, effective March 19, 2018. Recent changes approved on February 17, 2022. Building plan check is active, expires May 23, 2024. B22-0378 Applicant has applied for a Development Agreement to extend entitlements. CC2 (2.0 FAR, 45 feet/4 stories), Gateway Mixed Use Overlay: up to 15 feet additional height; up to 0.5 additional FAR.
645-681 Robertson Blvd (Robertson Lane) New nine-story, 239,128 sq ft commercial development with 123 hotel rooms, office space, and other commercial uses; includes rehabilitation of the Factory Building. Entitlements are approved and active; no amendments are pending. Approved by City Council on June 4, 2018, extended to December 4, 2024. Recent changes approved on August 15, 2022. Building plan check expired on January 8, 2024. B22-1107 Once permits are issued, phase 1 of construction will begin at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Robertson Blvd and continue south. RLSP (Robertson Lane Specific Plan): up to 2.83 FAR; up to 117′ in accordance with WHMC 19.16.040.
8920 Sunset Blvd (Formerly Arts Club Project) New nine-story, 116,801 sq ft commercial building with a private membership club and office uses. Entitlements are approved; extension is pending. Approved by City Council on August 20, 2018, effective April 1, 2019. Extension request filed prior to expiration. Building permits issued. Permits withdrawn by the developer. B19-1432 Applicant has applied for a Development Agreement to extend the life of the entitlements. SSP (Sunset Specific Plan) Site 7-B: up to 5.89 FAR; up to 141′ in height in accordance with Ordinance 18-1037.
1040 La Brea Ave New seven-story, 57,612 sq ft hotel and restaurant with 116 hotel rooms. Planning Entitlements Approved Approved by the Planning Commission on September 2, 2018. Entitlements will expire on September 2, 2024 unless extended. Building Plan check active and expires on September 3, 2024. B22-0203 None. CR (Commercial, Regional Center); 3.0 FAR and up to 90’/8 stories in height.
8527-8555 Santa Monica Blvd. & 8532-8552 West Knoll Drive (8555 Santa Monica) New five-story, 158,836 sq ft mixed use development with 111 residential units (17 affordable) and other commercial uses. Entitlements are approved; no amendments are pending. Approved on appeal by the City Council on May 15, 2023. Entitlements will expire on May 15, 2026 unless extended. No plan check submittals received. NA None. CC1 with Mixed Use Incentive Overlay: up to 2.0 FAR; up to 45 feet/4 stories), and R4B (1 dwelling unit/872 sq ft lot area, 45 feet/4 stories).
8500 Santa Monica Blvd New six-story, 40,235 sq ft mixed use development with 30 residential units (5 affordable) and other commercial uses on the ground floor. Entitlements are approved; no amendments are pending. Approved on appeal by the City Council on April 3, 2023. Entitlements will expire on April 3, 2026 unless extended. Building plan check active and expires April 27, 2025. NA None. CC1 with Mixed Use Incentive Overlay: up to 2.0 FAR and 45 feet / 4 stories
8025 Santa Monica Blvd New seven-story, 82,510 sq ft mixed use development with 110 residential units (15 affordable) and ground floor commercial uses. Entitlements are approved; no amendments are pending. Approved on appeal by the City Council on February 5, 2024. Entitlements will expire on February 5, 2027 unless extended. No plan check submittals received. NA None. CC2 with Mixed Use Incentive Overlay: up to 2.5 FAR and 55 feet / 5 stories
7811 Santa Monica Blvd New six-story mixed use development with 86 hotel rooms, 70 residential units, art gallery, and restaurant. Planning Entitlements Pending Application materials under review; Environmental analysis in progress. No plan check submittals received. Applicant is preparing minor project changes for DEIR analysis. CC2 (Commercial, Community 2); 2.0 FAR and up to 45’/4 stories in height
Project Address / Name Description Status Planning Phase Building Phase Plan Check/Permit No. Other Updates General Zoning*
8850 Sunset Blvd New 11-story, 269,263 sq ft mixed-use development with 78 residential units (16 affordable), 90 hotel rooms, and other commercial uses. Includes a digital billboard under the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. Planning Entitlements Pending Planning Commission recommended approval to the City Council. Next step: Final EIR and decision hearings in 2nd Quarter 2024. No plan check submittals received. NA None. SSP (Sunset Specific Plan) Site 6-E: up to 2.75 FAR and up to 100′ in accordance with SSP requirements.
9034 Sunset Blvd New 25-story, 448,205 sq ft mixed-use development with 156 residential units (47 affordable), office, and other commercial uses. Planning Entitlements Pending Revised application materials under review – next step is EIR scoping meeting; date to be determined. No plan check submittals received. NA None. SSP (Sunset Specific Plan) Site 7-D: up to 2.75 FAR; up to 55′ in height in accordance with SSP Requirements.
8228-8240 Sunset Blvd (The Harper) New nine-story, 169,959 sq ft mixed-use development with 45 residential units (9 affordable), 167 hotel rooms, and other commercial uses. Includes a digital billboard under the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. Planning Entitlements Pending Application materials under review; Environmental analysis in progress. Next step: Draft EIR Circulation and comment period. No plan check submittals received. NA None. SSP (Sunset Specific Plan) Site 1-B: up to 1.5 FAR and up to 45′ in height in accordance with SSP Requirements.
9176 Sunset Blvd New five-story, 52,999 sq ft commercial building with retail, restaurant, and office uses. Includes two digital billboards under the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. Planning Entitlements Pending Application materials under review; Environmental analysis in progress. Development Agreement negotiation is in process. No plan check submittals received. Applicant has reduced area of proposed digital signage. None. SSP (Sunset Specific Plan) Site 8-D: up to 2.75 FAR; up to 90′ in height in accordance with SSP Requirements.
1000 La Brea Avenue New 34-story, mixed-use development with 30,000 sq ft of ground floor commercial uses and 514 residential units (116 affordable). Planning Entitlements Pending Application materials under review; Environmental analysis in progress. Next step: Draft EIR Circulation and comment period. No plan check submittals received. NA None. CR with Mixed Use Incentive Overlay: 3.5 FAR; 100 feet/9 stories
9016 Santa Monica Blvd New 26-story, 277,251 sq ft mixed-use development with 160 residential units (32 affordable), 20 hotel rooms, and other commercial uses. Planning Entitlements Pending Application materials under review. Next step: initiation of environmental analysis. Project is deemed complete. No plan check submittals received. NA None. CC2 with Mixed Use Incentive Overlay: 2.5 FAR; 55 feet/5 stories
8816 Beverly Boulevard New 19-story, mixed-use development with 130 residential units (26 affordable) and other commercial uses. Planning Entitlements Pending Application materials under review. Next step: initiation of environmental analysis. Project is deemed complete. No plan check submittals received. NA None. CC2 with Mixed Use Incentive Overlay: 2.5 FAR; 55 feet/5 stories

 

 

 

 

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UCSBGRAD
UCSBGRAD
8 days ago

I am not sure if they already do this but they should be looking if proper financing has been lined up before they approve.

hifi5000
hifi5000
17 days ago

West Hollywood needs to be careful they don’t turn into Palm Springs.Palm Springs have had problems in the past with hotel projects that are being completed slowly or have stalled. One huge example is the hotel/condo project at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Alejo Drive. That project has been off-and-on the last ten years and is finally close to completion.The COVID pandemic did slow things for a couple of years,but the pandemic is for all purposes done,so there is no reason why there are any delays. Palm Springs have just let the developers off the hook in terms… Read more »

West
18 days ago

Excellent article Brandon. In a sane world, developers would be held to a basic standard of accountability to motivate them to deliver on their promises. So why aren’t they? A glance at our elected official’s campaign donor lists— such as our ever-ethical Mayor Erickson— provides a clue.

Pedro B
Pedro B
18 days ago

Looks like a great place for a subterranean homeless camp, or for Chelsea Byers to bike in circles.

DavidJ
DavidJ
19 days ago

I think of Hamburger Haven, which had been in business 40 years, forced to close. Bossa Nova Restaurant had to move. They demolished The Factory night club. All for the Robertson Lane project that went nowhere.

gdaddy
gdaddy
19 days ago

There has to be a financial reason they keep bulldozing and then holding property (maybe to flip?). They need to stop approving any new projects while these are forced to completion. We eventually are going to be just living next to a bunch of holes in the ground.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
19 days ago

The last two projects listed on Beverly Blvd. and Santa Monica seem really over the top; are these “Builder’s Remedy” projects?

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

No Steve, you don’t get it. They don’t want to build affordable housing in areas that won’t upset anyone.

Bad Scooter
Bad Scooter
19 days ago

Short term, The Melrose Triangle can be used as a dumping ground for scooters. They will help solidify the big concrete pour whenever that happens.

Robert Steloff
19 days ago

Insidious at best, criminal at worst. City Council MUST employ strong teeth to cause these developments/developers, and any future developments to move forward with significant penalties & NOT renew permits unless thorough scrutiny is sought & applied. Enough of this nonsense affecting day-to-day lives of all stakeholders in our city. There is culpability for ALL concerned – UTTER NONSENSE!!!

JF1
JF1
19 days ago

Stop giving them extensions. When faced with having to go through the whole process again, that might persuade them to finally get things going even when costs have risen significantly. In the meantime, these developers better not count on community support for any future projects as we have totally lost faith in their ability to deliver.

Last edited 19 days ago by JF1
dave
dave
20 days ago

How many of these projects told city council and commissions that their projects ,if approved, were shovel ready for immediate construction? The West Knoll/Santa Monica Project is one that comes to mind.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
20 days ago

They should fill it with water and make a community pool!

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