Developer plans to build more than 300 housing units near Sunset Junction

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The developer that demolished a block of storefronts at Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction last year now wants to demolish more buildings – including  the former Sunset Pacific Motel  and the 4100 Bar – and build more than 300 units of housing  as well as retail and restaurant space within a three-block strip.   Frost/Chaddock has notified the city’s Planning Department that it is preparing a preliminary environmental review  for three different projects on or near Sunset Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Bates Avenue. “This is the first step of many,” said an attorney working with the developer.

The attorney said the developer is far from finalizing plans and filing building permits.  He said the intention is to build roughly an equal amount of housing – a total of 311 units – at each of the three locations. In addition to housing, more than 16,000 square-feet of shops and restaurants are also planned.

Two of the properties, including the former storefronts on Santa Monica Boulevard and the 4100 Bar site, are located across the street from each other in the heart of Sunset Junction.  The  former Sunset Pacific Motel, which has been vacant for several years, is located less than three blocks west on Sunset Boulevard.

Frost/Chaddock angered many residents  when it unexpectedly demolished  a cluster of Sunset Junction storefronts  last September. Officials from the neighborhood council and Council District 13 said they were taken by surprise when Frost/Chaddock ordered the demolition of the one-story building near the corner of Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards. The building –  which once  served as the original site to A Different Light, a gay bookstore that eventually become a nationwide chain – was considered a possible historic landmark.

This time around, Frost/Chaddock makes clear it plans to demolish all existing buildings.

Julie Wong, spokeswoman for Councilman Eric Garcetti, said the office does have concerns about Frost/Chaddock in the aftermath of last year’s demolition. Since then, the council office has helped arrange meetings between the developer and some members of the community. “We have told them that we are going to be watching,” Wong said. “We will be looking at their efforts with an eye toward community involvement and open communication.”


  1. It SUCKS that the AGLAGO house is getting demolished. This place is the cultural heart of the bike scene, the silverlake art scene, food not bombs, and sustainable living practices, plus the best parties in Los Angeles hands down. LAME.

  2. They should just revamp the Sunset Pacific into a bougie hipster hotel. DUH.

  3. Gross.

  4. Suck balls, frost/chaddock. I’m sure y’alls will get your way in the end but hopefully the community makes this as difficult as possible for you.

  5. At one point the sunset pacific was going to be turned into a hipster bougie hotel, but the project was abandoned. I guessed it was probably way too costly to fix up but I dunno for sure.

  6. I actually live in that stretch of land and there is nothing there except broken sidewalks, overgrown foliage and trash. Bringing in additional housing and lots of new retail will help keep the area growing, dynamic and diverse. Other than the JCC (which is like an armed camp because the neighborhood is so gross) and the new apartment buildings there is little of value along this strip. Bring on something more than another layer of cheap paint and empty political promises. Let’s see someone put up hard cash to make a difference.

    That hotel was going to be rehabbed a few years ago but a bunch of “neighborhood” groups opposed the developer (who actually has done a great job building up the now hip east sunset with a number of restaurants).

  7. Save the 4100 Bar!!!

  8. Just a tad too dense, wouldn’t you say? But this story needs to say how many stories that will be at each location — sounds like 15 stories or more! And they’ll probably even give them a variance so they can build less parking.

    Wrong response from Garcetti’s office — set up a meeting and actually entertain this A##h&&l’s desires. When someone pulls a stunt like he did at that location on Santa Monica at Sunset, the councilman’s office should instead be dreaming up one barrier after another to throw in his way, bog him down so much that he flees the city. We don’t need people like that in this city. Unfortunately, Garcetti wants to accommodate him. I guess there’s campaign contributions to be had. Figure Garcetti will get it reduced to 275 units, claim he has done wonders and won, and then move on to run for mayor.

  9. Noooo… I’m gonna miss the 4100 bar.

    I heard Ace Hotel was looking at the Bates Motel, but they went with the old United Artists Theatre on Broadway instead.

    Hopefully this brings some pedestrian improvements and a few practical amenities to that walkable stretch of Sunset to compliment all the boutiques and cafes up the block (maybe that Erewhon that’s been rumored, or another Trader Joe’s)… but given the developers actions so far, I’m not expecting much more than a Chipotle, a Starbucks and some sh*t green “modern” fortresses.

  10. Aren’t there penalties and fines for un-permitted or illegal demolition? Why isn’t this being pursued?

    • He had a permit. Garcetti and the Neighborhood Council decided developers in contentious developments at odds with the city and neighborhood are good and honest people who care and go to church and Disneyland, and believed him when he said there were no plans to proceed with demolition. I guess they think people get demolition permits for the intention of not using them. Or maybe not — maybe they actually realized there were good campaign contributions to be had from developers of contentious developments, and there’s a mayor’s race coming up and who gives a damn about the neighborhood anyway.

  11. I am very angry that the building housing the first Different Light Bookstore was demolished without any notice to the community or permits filed. I took my first steps towards coming out at a Different Light. The Founder/Owner, Richard, made it very easy to come out at my own pace. Later, when I was fully out at the end of my first year in college, he introduced me to a boy who was entering his senior year of high school and needed someone to help him with the difficulties of coming out.

  12. I have no problem with development at any of these locations. Most of this area is an eyesore as @commuter mentioned. The problem will be what goes in there: 1. what does it look like. if it’s faux tuscan/spanish/brown/pink spray-on stucco vomit, that’s a huge issue, and the reason why LA is one of the ugliest cities in the world (just drive Vermont down to the 10 for exhibit A) and 2. what are the storefronts, if they are in fact more corporate chains like @cornersoul referenced, that’s also a problem. if it’s local businesses by local people, like amsterdam modern, intelligentsia, berlin currywurst…that’s awesome. We dont need another fucking del taco or el pollo loco.

  13. @Mr Rollers it was permitted, but the neighborhood didn’t know about it

  14. Oh all those people will ride the bus! they won’t need cars!

  15. There have been statements from the staff at Eric Garcetti’s office that the developer is expected to fund documentation of the historic significance of the bookstore. Let’s hope this comes through. With respect to the large number of units — maybe this makes sense at this location. But if an EIR is done (and the developer has said that one will be) — that provides for the examination of alternatives. How about a small community-serving market along with all those units? Could be transformative.

  16. That dick had a permit. City hall is no help

  17. We need to start looking at some of the cities in the county that have decent zoning and building permitting processes and follow suit. South Pasadena and Pasadena, for example, both have excellent rules and regulations concerning development. Nothing is done without public hearings, community notifications, historic considerations, etc, and the fees that accompany that work. It’s time for a change in LA’s building dept.

  18. Developers always ask for really large numbers. That way, when they are scaled back to half or less that amount, all sides are “happy”!!?

    My money is on them gettin 80-120 units there

    • The projects are ‘by-right’ using a density bonus’ and credits for low-income housing. If they are truly ‘by right’ all they have to do is have a plan check by building and safety, approved haul routs and then pull construction permits.

      There’s really no opportunity or reason for a city agency to change the size of the project or say no to it. It’s a basic premise of property rights, if you follow the law as it’s written then you can do whatever you want with your property.

      The only wildcard is if the EIR comes up with a significant impact that can’t be mitigated but that is unlikely at that intersection.

      • Not so, Anthony. That zoning density right is merely where things start. That must be balanced, in particular, by the findings of an EIR. If the project has an impact of the many things an EIR addresses, then the project has to be changed or denied to address that issue.

        The developer will choose someone to do the EIR who will basically give them whatever they want, twist and lie all the way. But once issued, then anyone else can challenge it all and get it right, but with a lot of time and work to do so. And the community also could sue over it.

        Or, instead, our Councilman could simply see to it that such is considered by the City Council and the project denied, and make sure he had the votes lined up to get it denied — and let the developer be the one to have to decide whether to spend a lot on legal fees. Unfortunately, our councilman, Garcetti, isn’t interested in doing that, would rather accommodate the developer, no matter how dirty he has shown himself to be.

  19. Thanks to those that clarified the demolition permit issue – not that it’s any comfort.

  20. Again, the density issue rears its much ignored head. Sure, it would be great to have nice shops and expand the retail environment to get some more jobs and commerce flowing, but 300 units in that area seems excessive. Parking around there to access the shops and such is already a bitch. LA seems to never recognize a saturation point when it comes to parking- just keep cramming them in there no matter the safety issues or how it affects local residents. Blah.

    • I disagree… regardless of the developers shady actions so far, Sunset is a much better place to build than more sprawling small lot subdivisions up in the hills and away from infrastructure and amenities. For years the city of LA has mandated superfluous parking requirements, and as a result we have very little green space and a weak public realm throughout the central city. Take a look at Pasadena or Santa Monica, two neighboring cities that have reduced parking requirements over the last 20 years and are much more compact, prosperous and livable as a result. Mandating parking in an urban context is a waste of limited space and the additional construction costs to developers ($40-100k per spot) are just passed on to renters and businesses. I realize many people need to drive in LA, but if we don’t get our hands around this sprawl problem soon we’ll have no open spaces left in our growing region.

      Here’s a recent article on the negative impacts of govt. subsidized parking in LA: http://www.lamag.com/features/story.aspx?ID=1568281

      • No, Corner Soul, there is nothing superflous about the meager parking requirements. If that were so, the streets would not be overflowing with cars, they would all be in the “superflous” parking onsite that you refer to.

        You actually think people will be dropping ownership of cars, and instead will take the bus or ride a bicycle. But that is a bankrupt idea, as if it would be what happens, we would not have any rush hour traffic problems now — that bumper to bumper daily grind has not resulted in people leaving their cars behind. So, your plan to “don’t build it and they won’t have cars” is already proven to be a bankrupt idea. Thus, to pursue such in building plans is not merely reckless,m it is insanity.

        There are VERY good reasons why people continue to drive their cars. Also, without such transport, you can expect a major hit on the economy, among any number of other bad side effects too voluminous to list here. The concern of the past about air pollution is on the wane now with us being in the middle of changing over to non-polluting cars. So the only issue is parking and traffic — which you want to plan to be a disaster.

        • No disrespect, but your argument is a bit anecdotal. LA mandates a higher level of parking than most cities (and the junction is charming because much of it was built before this, along rail lines). I take the bus, I ride a bike, and so do others — even though our rail system is still slowly being built (an underground light rail down Sunset is in Metro’s long range plan).

          And even with electric cars, we can’t sustain this late 20th century car-centric paradigm in central LA — it’s just a huge waste of urban space and rapidly dwindling oil reserves.

          Think of it like this: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3402/3342003343_40b32098cd_o.png

          • You seem to want to remain in denial of the proof all over the top of you.

            Its great that you don’t drive. It is fine to encourage others to do the same — but it is not fine to force them, as you would do. But the reality remains the same, people will continue to drive despite your fantasies.

            Frankly,w hat you propose would bee catastrophic to the economy. Transportation is what runs the economy. If you slow it down — as the universal bicycling and transit you propose would as opposed to cars — you will undermine the economy with it. It will become like the third world economy of Vietnam, whose transportation is heavily bicycles — not because they want that, but because they can’t afford anything else.

            And how are electric cars a waste of oil, as you claim? And also consider the fuel cell cars that will bee coming online. And Tata Motors in India is now producing a car that runs on mere compressed air!

          • @Henry:

            I’m not talking about forcing anyone to do anything, I know cars aren’t going away, and that much of LA will be low-density for a long while. I was just suggesting that we focus the future growth of the region on dense/walkable/infill buildings with smaller footprints around transit corridors in the central city, instead of more car-dependent sprawl up in the hills or out in the suburbs. That way new residents have more shops and amenities to walk to (reducing car trips) and we aren’t paving over our remaining green spaces.

            And you’re right, I should have said *dwindling energy supplies*, as most of our electricity comes from natural gas or coal, but it’s gonna be a good 20-25 years before electric cars are any kind of panacea, so in the meantime oil conservation is crucial as it effects the environment and the cost of shipped goods. And electric cars won’t address our inefficient urban land use. LA is just becoming a more conventional city with denser housing, better transit options and *hopefully* more complete streets to make our urban neighborhoods more livable for people that choose to go car-lite or even car-free.

            Projects like this are a good start: http://www.californiahomedesign.com/blog/re-imagining-silver-lakes-sunset-junction

  21. As someone who lives on the Junction, I’m very concerned about the scale of this upcoming project… Where can I find out if the old Lovecraft corner (which used to be a trolley stop back in the day) and the house behind it will also be demolished (as currently rumored)? How do we know when Silverlake neigborhood council meets on this? I didn’t quite understand if it’s 300 units in EACH of the three locations? Or total? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

  22. From my 40 years of watching how this city works, you may as well expect that whatever any “developer” wants he will get, unless the city official’s jobs are threatened by the people rising up and saying NO! Governments at any level work on the money that they can generate. New development means more money in tax revenues, therefore they will approve just about anything that will bring in more money for them to spend. Los Angeles is virtually an “historic desert” because of these policies.
    Regardless of any pretty-picture-site-rendering that developers flaunt in trying to get their projects approved, you can generally expect bland and tasteless architecture to replace anything that is destroyed. 99% of the time, developers want only to make money by the cheapest construction possible. You just don’t see anything being built that has the charm and character of the great old buildings of downtown.
    One thing that I have learned from living in an historic neighborhood in L.A. is that you can’t blame the building (and want it torn down) because of problems with either the occupants or its condition. If you deem a building worthy of preservation then you should fight to have the building saved, even if the developer has to restore it and make better use of it. There is a big difference between preservation, rehabilitation (with the destruction of historic character) and demolition (being gone forever).

  23. By the way, I thought that there are a glut of houses being forclosed upon. Do be really need more houseing in this city? Everytime a permit is issued for construction in L.A., there is ALWAYS a variance given for the amount of parking that will be provided for. Each unit of an apartment usually has 2 cars, yet every new building only provides for 1 1/2 or less. This does not even consider the cars that visitors drive to the location.
    The street parking in my neighborhood has about tripled or quadrupled in the past 30 years. There is a game of “musical chairs” for parking on street cleaning days.
    Oh, and did I mention that every time there is a drought in California they want us to ration water. Yet they keep on issuing building permits. Is this just thinking of the moment or is it incompetence?

    • It’s incompetence… or was that a rhetorical question?

    • That has not been my experience at all. The city has always been very serious about enforcing the one covered /one uncovered rule for all the residential projects that I have worked on. I have even been on a project in which we had to consolidate apartments because the building didn’t have enough spaces.

    • Now it’s been a while since I have worked on a project that required me to know this, but iirc the city requirement for parking is 1.7 spaces per unit rounded up.

  24. Up In The Hills.

    I hope the plans move ahead, further modernization and gentrification is for the betterment and safety of the neighborhood. The stretch of Sunset between the junction and Vermont is a bit of a s*****e so I can only hope that new housing and a more affluent demographic will also attract more up scale stores and eateries.

    • ahhh because of people like you. You really should of just moved to los feliz o century city, so not sketchy there, your just in the wrong neighborhood girl

  25. Part of the charm of 4100 is its old funky location with history aka Detour. Dive bars do not transition well into brand new buildings/spaces and the last thing the area needs is more gastropubs at the expense of the classic dive bars with character in the area. stop killing Sunset Junction – some of us like the sketch

  26. This isnt about new or old, pretty or not pretty, safe or not safe.

    A new mega development = No Personality. People come to Sunset Junction to Film, Shop, Snoop around because of the way it looks now, BOTH GOOD AND BAD.

    If the developer builds the sterile group of buildings that they would like to; Sunset Junction LOSES ITS IDENTITY. It will look like everything else, and in the end NO ONE WILL HAVE ANY REASON TO SPEND TIME here.

    As a Photographer; I actually moved to this area 10 years ago because there was so much to shoot, both ugly and pretty. It wasnt West LA, or God forbid Orange County. What the developers will build will have ZERO PERSONALITY.

    Just when you think L.A. is culturally on par with NYC and SF.. something like this happens.


  27. ….. if it has to happen, at least knock down that damn Jiffy Lube and/or El Pollo Loco

  28. Such crap as I’ve said before Garcetti and LaBonge are in it for their legacy. They don’t care about the long haul. Cram in some more people. Monte Sano, Rowena and Hyperion, Sunset Junction. It’s repulsive.

  29. Or is that repugnant

  30. I can not wait to get out of this neighborhood. Nail in coffin.

  31. Up In The Hills.

    @RR. Have you been to NYC recently?, especially Manhattan, talk about a cities character being diminished through endless and cheap hi-rise Condo projects. Agree regarding SF, one of the most visually attractive cities in the world.

    • we have a design office in Nolita next to Old St. Patricks in Manhattan and im there the months of June and each October for work

    SICKENING to see the beating heart of Silverlake ripped out
    and infested with generic- box zombie coffins.

    The historic storefronts, bar, hotel needed to be INTEGRATED
    into any development to keep the spirit of this special place alive.

    What is WRONG with these miserable people!!!

  33. Soon silver lake will be so undesirable to live in …. and i get that you guys will miss the 4100 bar, just like the majority of the people that used to live there miss the detour that was there before! Time to go gentrify east LA…. where else is left?

  34. Only to the insane does the tearing down of a 30 year vacant crackhouse motel and replacing it with brand new modern construction make a neighborhood worse

  35. It’s all very sad. These developments really aren’t interested in community involvement and input. They are only interested in maximizing profits and imposing themselves on neighborhoods. “You get what we give you.”

    For the long term, Neighborhood Councils in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Atwater Village, etc. should be working to establish a nonprofit Community Development Corporation which could be a catalyst to offset developers and do projects for the public and community good.

    Funds could be raised for community parks, arts facilities, community betterment, and to stop senseless, greedy developments which do not add to the character of a neighborhood.

  36. The development of Sunset Junction and Silverlake is inevitable as neighborhoods are always in flux in Los Angeles. The shame for those of us who have enjoyed the area is that the community that was once a melting pot of ethnicity, sexual identity, and culture will be replaced by the homogeneity that big money and “safe living” bring. Silverlake has a colorful history that includes bohemians, commies, hippies, freethinkers, gays, punks, gangsters along with families of various colors and classes. Not all of us want to live in Santa Monica and that is what Silverlake will become soon. It will be fine for some and for others, we’ll move to Eagle Rock and Altadena, etc. Character and charm is subjective of course but you can kiss the diversity and the artistic fertility of the area goodbye. Instead there will be condos and smoothed out sidewalks for designer strollers.

  37. Why do some people think character and charm (and even “artistic fertility”) mean that everything has to be filthy, tagged, and rundown? True artists can be artists without living in a slum, true artists can work even in a land of “smoothed out sidewalks.”

    • And by the way @frank, the designer strollers are already here.

    • One day, maybe every LA neighborhood you enter will be so clean and nice and free of scary people. And they will be full of TRUE artists creating. And then My Little Pony will give us free rides and we’ll visit with Rainbow Brite. And we’ll all smile with our whitened teeth.

  38. Right on, frank.
    But I’m afraid Rainbow Brite might not be welcome in Silver Lake at this point.

  39. I have lived in the neighborhood for years now… It’s about goddamned time someone does something like this. Sunset junction has gotten disgusting, and frankly embarassing.

  40. I don’t mind all the apartment units, but the idea of the developers including so much parking is problematic. By building all those parking spaces, they are guaranteeing that the traffic that now builds up at Sunset and Alvarado will build up at Sunset Junction too. If they just built the apartment complex with half the parking, then for one thing we’d have more affordable housing, and for another most of the people that move in would use bikes, buses, and walking to get around, which doesn’t cause problems for anyone else.

    It’s not about forcing anyone to give up their car – it’s about allowing people who don’t want a car to have a place where they’re not forced to lease a parking space along with their unit. If there’s not a space included with a unit, then after a quick visit to the neighborhood, anyone who wants to keep owning a car will understand that they shouldn’t move in. If this stops people from moving in, well, then all the people who oppose “density” will be happy.

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