Echo Park developer goes back to the drawing board – again

Most recent design for Montana Triangle project

Previous version of the Montana Triangle

The developer planning to build a 4,000-square-foot commercial building on a triangular parcel at Glendale Boulevard and Montana Street  appeared before an Echo Park group earlier this week to present the  most recent version his project that has been four years in the making.  The newest version (pictured at top) for what some residents call the Montana Triangle  comes after an earlier version (bottom photo) left many residents unimpressed.  Architect Pete Volbeda said the previous version – which featured a row of arches across the facade- was his attempt to create an imposing structure that might appeal to a bank tenant.  “Of course that didn’t go over too well in Echo Park.”

But the new version – which featured walls of glass and a rooftop dining terrace – didn’t win many fans either.

“It’s not inspiring at all,” said Andrew Garsten of the Echo Park Improvement Assn., which reviewed the renderings during its Neighborhood Issues Committee meeting.  Another committee member said he would like to see a more asymmetrical design and an elevator to provided access to the second floor terrace. Another suggested a more “Googie” style modernist approach.

Neither Volbeda or developer Sammy Kahen need the neighborhood association or any other group to approve the architectural design of his building. But Kahen is seeking support to obtain a city permit that would allow any restaurant tenant to serve beer and wine. So, he like other developers in the same situation will try and win over influential neighborhood groups and residents to show the city the project has the support of residents.

After offering to continue to work on the building design, the Echo Park Improvement Assn. endorsed Kahen’s bid for a city permit allowing alcohol to be served (any tenant would then have to seek a state issued beer and wine permit).

Volbeda, who is the second architect to work on the project that has seen at least three major design changes, did not appear to be upset over the criticism of his second design and was ready to revise the plans. “I have been at some really  bad neighborhood meetings. This went much better than those.”

What will Volbeda come up with on his third attempt? Stay tuned.


  1. So, I guess my question is why is there this much scrutiny over this location versus the new affordable elder housing down the street, or the new condos being built on Echo Park Ave?

    • Because that type 47 license is extremely expensive and nearly impossible to get, without any of the red tape involved in getting one. Like the article says they can build what they want, but are trying to appease the neighborhood for when it’s time to go through the license process.

  2. Like blood from a stone. I say find a new architect.

  3. haha, it’s better but it’s still an awful design! Between this, the senior condos, and the “lofts” at echo/alvarado (the ones using floor tile as exterior finishes)… it seem we might as well not have any permitting process at all.

    This stuff is hideous. Pick up a design magazine for hell’s sake, look what successful builders are doing.

  4. Have to say the new look is very suburban Thrifty Drug Store c1977

  5. It looks perfect for a Benihana!

  6. It’s a good spot for a gas station. I am getting the feeling that these plans were not paid for

  7. It looks like an over-sized McDonald’s. Next!

  8. It was a good spot for a gas station (and mechanic).

  9. They should save their money and call it quits, it’s just a bad spot for a business of any kind.

  10. ok homework see’ya next month

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