By Aaron Blevins, 4/05/2012
Council Decides Negative Impacts Would be Too Great
The West Hollywood City Council on Monday opted to let the record skip on a project that would have revitalized the former Tower Records property at 8801 Sunset Blvd., near the intersection of Horn Avenue.
In a 4-1 vote, with Mayor John Duran casting the lone vote for the development, council members denied the project, citing traffic congestion and signage concerns.
“The council felt the benefits of the project didn’t outweigh the negative impacts,” Councilmember John Heilman said.
According to project documents, the developer, Centrum Sunset LLC, proposed a 47,504 square foot commercial building to replace the iconic music store. The development would have been a mixed-use project containing retail, a gym/spa and office space.
While even remonstrators praised its design, several residents, as well as members of the West Hollywood City Council and the West Hollywood Planning Commission, feared that the development would exacerbate the congestion in the area.
The planning commission passed the project to the city council without its recommendation in August. In September, the council assigned the project to a subcommittee, citing parking, signage and public access concerns.
“We look forward to seeing a smaller, revised project with less signage,” attorney Jeffrey Haber, who represents a nearby Internet company, said at the time. “We believe something should go there, just not the huge project Centrum was proposing.”
The subcommittee, which met with representatives of Centrum on two occasions, reiterated the council’s concerns. In response, Centrum submitted plans with additional parking that allowed for easier access. More spaces were included in the event that the building housed a restaurant in the future, though a restaurant was not a part of the developer’s plans. Signage was altered as well.
According to the city’s project documents, representatives of Centrum were eager to get a decision from the council and felt that they had made all the changes they could. Therefore, the council considered the project again on Monday.
Heilman said the developers are welcome to apply for something new, but it’s unlikely that any new plans will replicate the proposed projects.
“I think this project is dead,” Heilman said.
However, the city would like to see the site developed, he added. It currently houses a fashion retailer.
“I think something will eventually happen there,” he said. “Hopefully, something will be developed with less impacts on the city.”