By Edwin Folven, 11/29/2012
New plans do not require WeHo city council approval
A new developer plans to bring a scaled-down housing and retail project to the Movietown Plaza site in West Hollywood. Avalon Bay Communities is currently in the process of purchasing the site from Cerberus Properties for an undisclosed amount, according to Chris Payne, senior vice president of development for Avalon Bay.
Except for a Trader Joe’s, the site has been vacant for the past three years after the original development plans stalled. Cerberus had formerly partnered with Casden Properties to build a 371-unit condominium and retail complex at the site, but the partnership was later dissolved and Casden sold its interest in the property. Cerberus ended up with the Movietown site.
Payne said Avalon Bay plans to move forward with a redesigned project. He said the final number of units and the exact size of the retail space has not yet been determined. However, Emily Stadnicki, a senior planner for the city of West Hollywood, said the company has applied to build a project with 294 luxury apartments, and an additional 77 units designated as affordable housing for senior citizens. Stadnicki also said the building height is being reduced from 10 to seven stories, and the retail space would be reduced from 32,300 square feet to approximately 26,000 square feet.
Payne said the location in the 7300 block of Santa Monica Blvd. is ideal for new housing.
“West Hollywood is highly desirable, [and] centrally-located. People can easily commute to work, go to their favorite lifestyle or entertainment destinations and restaurants. It has a draw,” he said. “We think this project will be a great addition, both for the city and the marketplace.”
Payne added that the Trade Joe’s will remain, but no other retail tenants have been secured. Avalon Bay hopes to begin construction next year.
Stadnicki said the West Hollywood City Council already approved the Casden project in 2010, so the new, scaled-down development would not require secondary council approval. The project will go before the city’s design review subcommittee on Dec. 13, and if approved, the developer will be cleared to begin construction.