By Edwin Folven, 3/08/2012
Plans Call for Facades to be Restored
The dilapidated Fairfax Theatre and retail stores at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard may soon be replaced by a development that will include retail, housing and a rooftop pool.
The project is being proposed by the building’s long-time owner, Alex Gorby, who is operating as the developer, B & F Associates. It will include 71 units built to condominium specifications, but that will likely later be marketed as apartments, according to Ira Handelman, a consultant representing the developer. The project will be five stories from street level. A sixth story will include a small structure on top housing bathrooms and showers for the rooftop pool. The rooftop structure will not be visible from the street, according to Handelman, and the building’s height, as viewed from street level, will not exceed the existing art deco spire and a billboard currently on the property. The new building would be staggered in height between 37 and 62 feet. The tallest billboard currently at the site is 62 feet from street level.
The project will feature 11,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and the owner plans to restore the existing street-facing façades on Beverly and Fairfax. The entryway to the housing units will be through the former theatre entrance, and the marquee will also be restored. The project was designed by Santa Monica-based architect, Howard Laks.
“We believe it is a catalyst for the revitalization of Fairfax, one that respects the past and looks towards the future,” Handelman said. “We believe it will be a major benefit to the community.”
Handelman said owner is still in the process of obtaining entitlements, and construction is likely a year away. The project went before the Mid-City West Community Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee last week, but was tabled until a future meeting to give members more time for consideration. Stan Brent, chair of the council’s Planning and Land Use Committee, said he could not comment on the project until the full board has a chance to review the plans.
Christopher Koontz, a planning deputy for City Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th District, said the councilmember has not taken a position on the plans, and is waiting until the neighborhood council weighs in. He said the councilmember was not supportive of a failed effort three years ago to have the theatre designated historic. The theatre was last operational in 2009, and remains vacant. The building dates back to the early 1930s.
The plans also call for 228 parking spaces, according to Koontz, to be provided below grade in four subterranean levels. Once the neighborhood council makes a recommendation, the project will go to the city’s planning department, during which time the public can weigh in. It will eventually be reviewed by the Los Angeles City Council.