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Planning Commission Approves Godfrey Hotel Hollywood

The Development, Mixed-Use Project Nearby Cause Concerns for Local Neighbors
February 9, 2018
Los Angeles City Planning Commission
Los Angeles City Planning Commission
The Los Angeles Planning Commission approved the proposed 220-room Godfrey Hotel Hollywood Thursday, along with two other projects in Hollywood and in the Fashion District.

The eight-story, 74,362-square-foot Godfrey Hotel Hollywood, which is under construction at 1400 N. Cahuenga Blvd., will include a restaurant on the ground floor, an open-air courtyard on the third floor, and a rooftop bar/lounge and swimming pool. Plans also call for on-site, subterranean parking for 104 vehicles and 94 bicycle parking spaces in addition to bicycle valet and complimentary bicycles for hotel guests.

The project would be built by Oxford Capital Group LLC.

The hotel would not have a traditional lobby, so, "The rooftop is really the only place that provides public amenities," said Dana Sayles, a representative for the project and a managing partner at Three6ixty.

While there would be no formal restaurant on the rooftop, the developer requested permission to serve food and beverages there and have the rooftop open from 7 a.m. to at least midnight.

However, some residents at the meeting had concerns about granting another project a conditional use to allow for the sale of alcohol.

L.A. Tenants Union activist Susan Hunter spoke out at the meeting, saying that she is greatly concerned about that and the possibility of another hotel coming to Hollywood.

"We already have a saturation of hotels in the area," Hunter explained, adding that issuing conditional use permits for alcohol in Hollywood has also gotten out of hand.

"Dear God, how much more alcohol are you going to cram into projects coming into Hollywood?" she wondered. Hunter went on to say residents of the community are, "Sick and tired of being bullied around by projects coming in that are more worried about guest experience than neighbor experience."

Hunter and other residents asked that the rooftop be closed earlier to address the issue of the impact of noise on the neighborhood.

"The conditions for closure should be reduced, at the very least 10 p.m. sounds more reasonable," said Elle Farmer, a research analyst with Unite Here Local 11 which represents 23,000 hotel, restaurant and other workers in Southern California and Arizona.

Commissioner Dana Perlman noted it marked the first time in his six years that he recalls being asked to approve a project that was already under construction. He also expressed concerns about noise on the rooftop impacting neighbors.

Commissioner Renee Dake Wilson requested a fixed planter be installed on De Longpre Avenue, citing her desire to increase pedestrian walkability on sidewalks over the use of cars.

The Planning Commission's approval came with conditions, including adding the fixed planter along De Longpre and street trees on Caheunga Boulevard and De Longpre, revising Los Angeles Police Department conditions regarding security and allowing public access to a rooftop bar.

The Los Angeles Planning Commission also unanimously approved a mixed-use project to be built at 1860 N. Western Ave. in Los Feliz. The development would consist of 87 residential units, with 11 of them (20%) being set aside for affordable housing.

A Valero gas station, a single-family residence and a one-story duplex would be demolished in order to build the 97,334-square-foot project that would also include 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

Dynamic Development Co. is currently in escrow for the property, which aims to be as transit-oriented as possible given its location near the Metro Red Line.

Aaron Green, president of the Afriat Consulting Group, Inc., represented Dynamic Development at the meeting and said the developer had made great effort to work with neighbors in the area, including scaling back the project.

More than a dozen local residents showed up at the meeting, with several saying they were concerned approval of the project would set a precedent for future development. While some complained the project should have more affordable housing, others said they did not want to live near a Starbucks or Subway that could set up shop in the project’s commercial space.

Roxann Speight, a local resident, started a petition and gathered more than 1,000 signatures in favor of the project, she said.

"I’ve heard multiple people say one unit, one building is not going to solve the housing crisis," Speight said. "No, it’s not, but every single unit makes a difference."

Commissioner Perlman said the project is in a part of Los Angeles that cries out for affordable housing. However, some commissioners expressed disappointment the project would not have more affordable housing. Others were concerned about the property’s current tenants, many of whom said they are living in squalid conditions.

Hunter filed an emergency request to the L.A. Planning Commission to have the hearing postponed.

"I’m asking that you postpone until such time the tenants have hot water, heat and operating plumbing fully returned back to both properties that they are residing in," Hunter said. "Please do not reward bad operators with more tenants."

The Planning Commission also approved a proposal from West L.A. developer Urban Offerings and Beverly Hills-based ESI Ventures to open an eight-vendor food hall and a rooftop restaurant with outdoor dining as part of its proposed 250,000-square-foot, creative office campus at 755 S. Los Angeles St.

The commission unanimously approved the proposal with an additional condition, requiring greywater and/or rainwater irrigation for rooftop landscaping.

It is now scheduled to go to the Los Angeles Planning Land Use Management Committee before heading to the L.A. City Council.

Karen Jordan, Los Angeles Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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