Renderings from Frost/Chaddock
The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council tonight voted against a plan to build a trio of large apartment buildings with about 300 units, a proposal that has stirred up concern and anger over the additional congestion, parking shortages and change the project would bring to Sunset Junction. The council agreed to remain open to any new proposal from developer Frost/Chaddock but it was not clear how willing the firm would be reduce the size and mass of the four-story buildings. It was clear, however, that the vast majority of the overflow crowd gathered tonight did not like what they saw.
“I am really upset about this monster that you are planning on putting here,” said restaurant and property owner Gareth Kantner, whose Mediterranean-style shopping complex sits across two of the proposed buildings. “We need to sit down with the architects … and revise this.”
The new buildings would rise within three blocks of each other on or near Sunset Boulevard. Two of the properties would rise across the street from each other on the site of the 4100 Bar and the site of Santa Monica Boulevard storefronts that were demolished last summer. In addition, the vacant Sunset Pacific Motel on Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue would also be demolished to make way for a third, new apartment building.
Despite criticism of the building sizes and scale, Matthew P. Levy, vice president of acquisitions and development at Frost/Chaddock, defended the properties as “boutique buildings” that would bring new rental housing – including some low-priced affordable units – for singles and couples. He also said the new buildings, which could include ground floor stores and restaurants, would help continue the revival of the neighborhood. “What’s missing is an anchor – and that’s residential [development].”
Levy said that much of what his firm is proposing does not need special city approval but Frost/Chaddock is applying for density bonuses available under state Senate Bill 1818, which allows developers to build larger projects than normally allowed if they provide affordable housing.
While many in the audience welcomed affordable units, the vast majority of the apartments would be rented at market rates, which Levy estimated could approach $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit. Several longtime residents also expressed the sentiment that developers like Frost/Chaddock were cashing in on Silver Lake’s cachet at the expense of existing residents and Sunset Junction’s funky ambiance and history.
“We need something that real people who are here can afford,” said a woman named Dorit, instead of attracting people from Santa Monica and Newport Beach who are “trying to be all hip and cool and move to Silver Lake and destroy what ever it is we have here.”
Levy said there is no timetable to start construction and the project is still subject to city review and the completion of an environmental impact report. The public has until April 26 to comment on what kinds of issues that report should take into account. Click here to view a Silver Lake Neighborhood Council agenda with information about the environmental impact report and how to submit a comment.
The neighborhood council serves as an advisory body and has no authority to force the developer to change their plans. The motion adopted 11-0 by the council’s Governing Board reads:
The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council hereby expresses its strong opposition to the current versions and vision of these three projects, based on: overwhelming problems associated with the size, density and visual appearance of these proposed developments; the massive deviation from the visual character and architectural legacy of Silver Lake; the lack of information about landscaping; the manner in which these projects as proposed would devastate the Sunset Junction neighborhood’s already severely limited parking; the need for better delineated linkages with public transportation as well as possible creation of new transportation options (such as a DASH line); harsh questions about the economic impact of these projects on the community; the lack of sufficient governing mechanics limiting the impact of noise, dust, pollution and traffic associated with the construction of those projects*, the manner in which the views of current Silver Lake residents from their homes will be destroyed; and the significant questions about the credibility of the developer. The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council will welcome and objectively consider revised versions of these proposals.