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Aug1

21-story hotel across from Amoeba moves ahead

By Bianca Barragan for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

The Ivar Gardens, a 21-story hotel planned to replace the Jack in the Box on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, is still kickin’.

Urbanize LA noticed the hotel project from developer R.D. Olson is set to be discussed by the governing board of the successor entity to the defunct community redevelopment agency. (The project is located in a redevelopment area.)

The Art Deco-inspired tower, designed by architecture firm WATG, would hold 275 rooms, a gym, a rooftop deck, and parking for 135 cars.

In documents provided to the governing board, the hotel is described as an improvement on the “currently underutilized site” that would “upgrade the site and the immediate surrounding area along Sunset Boulevard.”

A number of hotels have recently opened or are in the works for the blocks surrounding the property on Sunset between Cahuenga and Ivar. Across the street, the Amoeba Records is set to be replaced by a 28-story tower with over 200 residential units. Their lease runs out in early 2019.

Jul23

Redondo Beach pulls plans for big waterfront redevelopment from California Coastal Commission

By Bianca Barragan for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

A huge plan to redevelop the Redondo Beach waterfront with new shops and restaurants has derailed.

The Redondo Beach City Council has withdrawn its part of the joint application for the project with the California Coastal Commission, the Daily Breeze reports. The move prompted Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand to declare the project “dead.”

The city was teaming up with the developer, CenterCal, via a public-private partnership to redevelop the site. CenterCal pulled its portion of the application out this month too.

This is just the latest in a string of huge hurdles for the development, which is unpopular with many residents.

In May, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the project’s environmental impact report—a vital planning document—had to be altered and redistributed to the community.

Last year, a ballot measure aimed at halting waterfront development passed with the support of 57 percent of Redondo Beach voters. It’s unclear what impact that vote had on the city’s decision to withdraw its application.

Many city residents supported some kind of revitalization for the pier, but differed on what form that rehabilitation should take.

With the withdrawal of the project’s applications before the coastal commission, it’s unclear what the next steps for the project are and when they will happen. “Things are up in the air for now,” Brand told the Breeze.

Jul16

Warner Brothers pitches LA on an aerial tram to the Hollywood Sign

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

One of entertainment industry’s largest and most recognizable movie studios wants to get into the transportation business.

Warner Brothers announced plans Tuesday for an aerial tram that would ferry visitors to and from the Hollywood Sign. The company would pay for the tram’s construction and would operate it from a parking lot just south of its Burbank backlot.

In a letter sent Monday to Los Angeles parks and legislative officials, the studio offers the tram as a potential solution to issues of access to the landmark.

In 2017, the city closed a popular Beachwood Canyon access point to the Hollyridge Trail, which provides some of the best views of the sign. Soon after, Councilmember David Ryu commissioned a study examining ways to alleviate traffic in neighborhoods around the sign while ensuring it remains accessible to residents and visitors.

The study included several outside-the-box recommendations, including an aerial tram or gondola and even a replica sign that would be easier for hikers to get to.

In December, Variety reported that media mogul Barry Diller, along with his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and her son, Alexander von Furstenberg, were considering their own plans for a tram that would take riders to and from the sign.

Now, the city has a more concrete proposal for such a system.

The Warner Brothers tram would take riders up the back of Mount Lee to an education center about the sign that the company also plans to build. Warner Brothers would charge visitors to ride the ferry and would split the revenue with the city.

The company would also pay for a new transit hub on the north side of Griffith Park from which passengers could access buses, shuttles, and the tram itself.

If city officials should pursue the proposal further, it would still need to go through an extensive environmental review process—and any related legal challenges.

Any privately funded development within Griffith Park is bound to draw plenty of public scrutiny, but Warner Brothers argues its solution is one that makes sense for the city and visitors alike.

In a statement, the company says its tram proposal would have the “least impact on the surrounding environment” and would allow easy access to the park “at no cost to the taxpayer.”

Jul10

Spotify will open regional headquarters in the Arts District

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

Music streaming service Spotify will open a new regional headquarters in Los Angeles’s Arts District.

Representatives of the recently opened At Mateo office and retail complex announced Monday that the Swedish tech company had signed on to lease approximately 110,000 square feet of office space at the site.

The arrival of Spotify marks another big step in the Arts District’s transformation from a trendy area popular with artists and gallery owners to a major corporate hub and a live-work destination for highly paid creative types.

Warner Music Group announced plans to relocate to the neighborhood from Burbank in 2016, and both food-replacement startup Soylent and the USC Roski School of Art and Design are moving into At Mateo along with Spotify.

Spotify will occupy well over half of the complex, which was originally planned as an open-air shopping center before owners began focusing on office space midway through development. Rumors have been swirling since the beginning of the year that the tech company was considering a lease at the site.

At Mateo representatives say the complex, which quietly opened earlier this year, is now 85 percent leased.

Jul2

LA moves forward with regulations for dockless bikes and scooters

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

The Los Angeles City Council is crafting new rules to regulate dockless bikes and electric scooters, and the policy will likely limit how many vehicles companies can disperse on city streets and sidewalks.

The bikes and scooters, which can be rented through a smartphone app and left on the curb once a ride is finished, have become a common sight on the Westside. More recently, they’ve begun popping up in more central neighborhoods as well, like Hollywood and—briefly—the Arts District.

The dockless vehicles have attracted plenty of riders, but not everyone is happy with the new bikes and scooters. Critics complain that riders hog the pedestrian right-of-way and leave vehicles haphazardly dispersed on sidewalks.

After being flooded with dockless vehicles last year, the city of Santa Monica approved regulations on “shared mobility devices” earlier this month. Los Angeles officials are now considering similar guidelines that would address concerns about the vehicles, while allowing companies to expand into new areas.

At least one councilmember wants to entice dockless providers to set up shop in the auto-centric San Fernando Valley.

“I don’t have any dockless bicycles or scooters or any of that fancy stuff,” said Councilmember Nury Martinez, who represents much of the central Valley, in a city transportation committee meeting last month. “We’re simply trying to cross the street without getting killed.”

On Wednesday, the committee approved preliminary regulations for the vehicles, including a cap that limits the number of vehicles companies can deploy in the city to 3,000. That number could go up if companies agree to serve areas they might otherwise have ignored.

If companies expand operations into “disadvantaged communities,” lower-income areas identified by the California Environmental Protection Agency, they would be able to add an additional 2,500 vehicles to their fleet—to be deployed in those areas. At Martinez’ request, the number of additional vehicles would be double that in the Valley.

That means that companies could put up to 8,000 bikes on city streets, as long as 5,000 of them were in low-income neighborhoods in the Valley.

Such a large incentive may seem like a dramatic step, but transportation department officials told the committee that luring companies away from more affluent areas in the LA Basin could otherwise be a challenge.

The cap on fleet size wouldn’t be the only rule companies have to abide by. The guidelines recommended Wednesday also impose safety standards on vehicles, requiring them to have lights and reflectors, and for electric vehicles to have working motors.

Companies would also have to provide ridership data to the city and will be responsible for ensuring that vehicles are parked in appropriate places where they don’t block the path of pedestrians.

The rules still need to be approved by the full City Council before going into effect. Even then, they won’t be set in stone. Transportation officials would have leeway to adjust limits on fleet size, should companies provide data that proves their vehicles are popular enough that more are needed.

Councilmember Mike Bonin, who leads the transportation committee, stressed the importance of ensuring residents aren’t overwhelmed by the number of new bikes and scooters in their neighborhoods.

“This is an exciting new mobility option for Los Angeles,” said Bonin Wednesday. “If we don’t strike the right balance, it won’t succeed.”

Jun25

Hollywood’s Academy on Vine mixed-use development with 20-story breaks ground

By Bianca Barragan for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

Hollywood’s ever-changing landscape is due for another major new addition. Kilroy Realty has begun work to build Academy on Vine, its $450 million mixed-use development, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The development will rise on a full city block bounded by De Longpre, Homewood, Ivar, and Vine, directly south of the ArcLight Hollywood parking garage.

Made up of four mid-rise commercial buildings and one 20-story residential tower, the completed project will offer approximately 335,000 square feet of office space and 13,000 square feet of retail space.

The Times notes that “office developers commonly line up some tenants before breaking ground, but Kilroy is proceeding ‘on spec’ without renters in hand.”

Kilroy did the same with its nearby Columbia Square project, which reused the former Hollywood headquarters of CBS’s radio and television operations as a high-end extended stay hotel, a fancy restaurant, an outpost of the chic coworking space NeueHouse, and office space that’s attracted high-profile tenants like Viacom.

Kilroy has owned the Academy on Vine property since 2014, purchasing it for $46 million from The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The site was once planned to house the Academy’s museum, which is under construction now at Wilshire and Fairfax.

Academy on Vine is expected to open in early 2020.

Jun20

Inglewood residents sue to block Clippers arena

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

Trying to halt plans for a new Clippers arena on public land, a group of residents filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Inglewood on Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeks to make the land available for affordable housing, rather than the NBA team. The Clippers want to build a new home court on the city-owned site, which is located directly across the street from an under-construction NFL stadium and a massive new mixed-use community at Hollywood Park.

“Our city has been moving in the wrong direction,” says Uplift Inglewood member Woodrow Curry III. He says city officials of favoring “billionaire sports owners” over working class residents facing rapidly escalating housing costs.

The mayor’s office did not return messages seeking comment.

Last year, the Inglewood City Council entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Murphy’s Bowl, a company owned by the Clippers, setting the stage for development of a new basketball arena on a multi-acre site owned by the city.

Under the terms of the California Surplus Land Act, cities planning to sell or give away public land must first seek out proposals for affordable housing construction on the site.

Attorneys for Uplift Inglewood say Inglewood skipped this step when it moved forward last year with plans for the basketball arena.

Inglewood rents are still lower than those in the greater Los Angeles region, but prices are climbing quickly. The average cost of an apartment in the city is now $1,250 per month, up nearly 6 percent over a year ago, according to CoStar.

The suit also alleges that Inglewood has been ignoring other state laws that mandate construction of new affordable housing. For instance, when the city’s community redevelopment agency shuttered in 2012, local leaders were obligated to replace any affordable units demolished as part of past redevelopment projects.

According to a 2015-16 report, the city still has 112 units to go to fulfill this obligation.

That may not be enough to meet demand from residents. According to the Department of Housing and Community Development, Inglewood—along with most California cities—is falling well short of regional housing goals.

To meet these state-monitored goals, Inglewood will need to add 567 units of housing affordable to residents earning very low to moderate incomes by 2021. Since 2013, none of these units have been built in the city at all.

Representatives of Uplift Inglewood say a lack of affordable housing construction amounts to discrimination against lower earning residents.

“This lawsuit is about more than a wonky housing violation,” said Public Counsel attorney Antonio Hicks at the press conference. “It’s about residents being forced out of their homes by skyrocketing housing costs.”

Jun11

No More ‘For Sale’ Signs On Homes In This Connecticut Town

By John Dias for CBS New York | Read the original article here

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (CBS New York) – ‘For Sale’ signs will soon be a thing of the past on homes in New Canaan, Connecticut.

A six-month trial ban starts July 1, meaning those signs you see in front of houses will have to be taken down.

The New Canaan Board of Realtors voted in favor of the ban, saying prospective home buyers aren’t driving around town anymore. Instead, they’re researching online.

“Most people recognize they’re not really contributing to the sale of the home,” said Joe Scozzafava, a realtor at William Raveis. “With the buyers that we’re dealing with, who are mostly millennials, who are very tech-savvy.”

The board also said the signs take away from the beauty of New Canaan and the rest of Connecticut.

“I find it to be a little tacky and it doesn’t look so great,” homeowner Priscilla Rossi said.

“The amount of them is giving buyers an idea that this entire town is for sale,” said resident Shawn Gardner.

But not everyone agrees with eliminating the signs all together and enjoy their subtle appeal.

“They’re not super advertising companies,” Rachel Palacios said.

“I think they’re nice to know what’s going on,” said Jenny Goldstein.

Ron Marks said he wouldn’t have found his dream home without a lawn sign.

“It had a generic for sale sign by broker, with a phone number, which I called, followed up on and ended up buying the house,” he said.

The board said it has been talking about the ban for years, evening thinking it may become a trend.

“There are already sellers who request no signs in front of their homes because they don’t think it adds to the beauty,” said Lori Kelly, executive officer of the New Canaan Board of Realtors.

Once the ban is over, they’ll see whether it helped or hurt the local real estate market. It the pilot succeeds, they may try to make it permanent.

The board said a similar ban has been working in nearby Greenwich.

Jun5

Here’s a peek at planned Third/Fairfax mixed-user and its 26-story tower

By Bianca Barragan for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

We’re getting a clearer picture of project that could dramatically alter the southeast corner of Third and Fairfax, thanks to details and visuals from the Mid-City West Neighborhood Council’s planning and land use committee.

As proposed, the MVE and Partners-designed project would include 380 residential units and a 26-story tower, and it would rehabilitate some of the retail on the site now while adding more. The project would replace the low-rise Town and Country shopping center that houses a Kmart, a Whole Foods, and a CVS, among others.

Some tenants, like the Whole Foods and CVS, are incorporated into the new project; the Kmart site will give way to the tower.

The plans come from property owner Arba Group and its partners shopping center firm Regency Centers and developer Holland Partner Group.

Arba Group—made up of Ira Smedra and Jacob Wintner—have owned the property for 30 years, but were unable to develop it because of Kmart’s lease for its space, reports the Larchmont Buzz. That lease ended last year, and the store has been occupying renting on a month-to-month basis.

The number of planned units is far fewer than the maximum 800 developers could put on the site, the Buzz reports. But residents who attended a presentation to the neighborhood council on Wednesday were still “stunned by the scale of the project,” and the majority of those who spoke at the meeting were against the project, according to the Buzz.

Neighborhood councilmembers seem optimistic that this preliminary version of the project could, with input from the community, evolve into something that residents could welcome.

“In my time on the council we have tried to work with the community and developers to help see that projects integrate well into the existing neighborhood,” planning and land use committee co-chair Mehmet Berker tells Curbed. “We would hope that any large project in our area would work with us in a similar manner.”

It’s not totally surprising that locals are not enthusiastic about this project. In 2012, the Ross Dress for Less site just east of the Town and Country mall traded hands after the owner, Alan Casden of Casden Properties, tried unsuccessfully for years to get approvals to build a 300-unit mixed-use development on the property.

May29

Construction set to begin on 21-story tower in county’s big Vermont Corridor project

By Bianca Barragan for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

A plan from the county of Los Angeles to replace and rehab a handful of government offices near Vermont and Sixth streets in Koreatown is moving full steam ahead, with work on one of the new towers expected to begin as soon as this summer.

The Board of Supervisors’ on Tuesday certified the project’s final environmental impact report and approved a wave of funding.

The planned development—hailed as a “victory” for Koreatown—will include a new 21-story office tower and the renovation of an existing 12-story building for use as housing, both developed by Trammell Crow. The complex will also include a new low-rise affordable housing complex with a community center from Meta Housing.

When complete, the new Gensler-designed office building will serve as the new headquarters for the county’s department of mental health and for the county’s workforce development, aging, and community services.

Greg Ames, managing director of the Trammell Crow Company, tells Curbed that work is expected to start this August on the new office tower, with estimated completion in late 2021.

A 12-story building already on the site will be upgraded by and reused as 172 apartments with ground-floor retail and a rooftop amenity deck, designed by Steinberg Architects. This building is now occupied by county workers, who will be moving into the office building once it is complete. Renovations here will begin after the office building is finished in late 2021, and are expected to wrap up in early 2023.

Meta Housing’s six-story affordable housing complex will hold 72 units designated for seniors. This structure, designed by Y&M Architects, will also include a 13,000-square-foot community center.

Trammell Crow was “drawn to the opportunity to have a partnership with the county of Los Angeles for a multi-faced, multi-faceted development,” says Ames. The company is looking forward to “participat[ing] in the revitalization of the Vermont Corridor and really help advance transit-oriented development in Koreatown.”

The board of supervisors approved the Vermont Corridor project in 2016.

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