Monday, October 24, 2016

Sunset Junction developer to return with updated plans for Silver Lake apartment buildings

Silver Lake, real estate, development

2012 renderings of Silver Lake apartment buildings | Courtesy Frost/Chaddock

SILVER LAKE — Developer  Frost/Chaddock on Thursday will host a community meeting to update residents on its plans to build a trio of apartment buildings with more  than 300 units of housing along Sunset Boulevard.

An announcement for the Thursday night meeting invites residents to review the “latest design improvements and other changes to the project.” What would those changes be? A representative for the company declined to provide any details in advance, saying that information would only be made available during the meeting.

The firm’s proposal for the Sunset Junction section of Silver Lake has been in the works for several years and has stirred up considerable opposition from residents and the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, which voted against the project as envisioned in 2012.

The new buildings would rise within three blocks of each other on or near Sunset Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Bates Avenue.  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 in 2011. 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.

The buildings would contain some apartments reserved for tenants with low or moderate incomes as well as commercial space.

The community meeting on Thursday, June 12 will start at 6 p.m. at the Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, 650 Micheltorena Street.

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  1. Have a cop present. Especially if that Stella owner shows up.

    • Hehehe… not a bad idea.

      I just hope the developers work with the DOT to put in a traffic light at Bates. We all know motorists don’t yield to pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks in car-crazy Los Angeles, so people will just have to dart across 4 lanes of speeding traffic to access the shops and apartments there… just an accident waiting to happen!

  2. Is there any chance there will be ground floor retail in these buildings? They’ll create more foot traffic on Sunset west of Sunset Junction, and it will be good for those people to have destinations to go to.

  3. I’m the most pro-development poster on this site I think, and even I am yelling NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO on this one! Closer to downtown, lower lower lower echo/chinatown is a better location for a behemoth like this, or closer to hollywood red line stops.

    • This may come as a surprise to you, but developers are only entitled to build on the properties that they own. There isn’t some sort of city-wide, government sponsored lottery that dishes out land to men with visions and money in their pockets.

      Sorry to be the one to tell you this.

      • Lester, Lester…

        Do you know what a contingent offer is? Have you ever developed commercial real estate? What you wrote is akin to telling me that water is wet. Of course they will own the effing property, I hope you do understand that developers wait until they get plan approval to close escrow on property right?? Do you really think a. the developers would waste this much money on architectural drawings before tentatively acquiring the land? Do you really think the eastsider would be writing about this for the last 2 years if these developers couldn’t even get the land?

        Come on man…

  4. This is exactly what Silver Lake needs… dense multifamily, with some affordable units, retail downstairs, on a commercial (rather than residential) street, walking distance from the amenities available in Sunset Junction. If you can’t get behind this, you can’t get behind any multifamily in Silver Lake, and that means you’re in favor of ever-increasing rents.

    • This will not reduce rents, nor even keep them in check. The denser your make something, the higher priced the dirt it is on goes for, and so prices rise. The taller you make a building, the higher the cost of or more extreme engineering and construction, so prices rise.

      You are being too overly simplistic in the supply and demand equation — it is a far more complex equation than that. When it is taught in school, the professor will usually say something like, all else equal. But you see, out in the real world, all else is never equal, and in the real world, there is never just one factor that trumps all else, hundreds or more factors all work together, push and pull.

      We already have seen many developers paying even $1 million and more here simply to tear down often very nice houses that really should be selling for a lot closer to $600,000, or $500,000 even now but are not because of this density push making developers the only ones who can buy them — just to get the dirt because density pays. They can charge so much for several small housing units on the dirt that they will bid prices through the stratosphere, which only continues to push up prices and prevent more and more people from being able to buy a house, so making more and more people into renters — overwhelming this density you want.

    • Echo Park residents

      It’s so cute that you think that building more housing will bring rent down. Have you SEEN what places like this command on the Eastside? The rent of the apartment complex on Sunset near Guisados in Echo Park will have rents STARTING at $2000/month for a studio. If you think these will have cheaper rent, you’re blind as heck.

  5. DevelopersareSatan'sspawn

    destroy the 4100 Bar/Manzanita Room/Detour so that a Westside pile of money can become a bigger pile of money? god, I hate these people.

    • who owns 4100 bar? its already westside stupid!

    • I imagine the developers will replace 4100, etc. with other restaurants and/or bars. If they’re smart, they realize that accepting somewhat lower rents on the commercial spaces from cool, one-off retailers / restauranteurs (as opposed to chains) will add value to their projects over all by making the residential portions more appealing. See, for example, what Two Trees did in DUMBO in NY.

    • The developer money you speak of is not simply some developers from the Westside. This is the new damn California gold rush here, thanks to the ill-conceived small lot subdivision ordinance in particular. Developers have flooded in from all over the country and even around the world because it has been made so unbelievably profitable for them to buy up everything here and build big and make a lifetime fortune in a single project. Owner occupants are finding it nearly impossible to get anything because they can never compete with a devleoepr who, for a total investment and cost of about $1.5 million can make a $2 million profit so are willing to pay whatever it costs to outbid any potential owner occupant.

      And these prices are going up even as SoCal has the highest unemployment rate int he country! Price here now make even New York City look cheap.

      • @Jake: No one can build small lots or apartments on R1 land. If you are being outbid on R1 zoned houses (of which there are many in Silver Lake and the surrounding neighborhoods), it is mostly by other owner-occupiers. The only other buyers are flippers, but they are limited to the most screwed up houses, because there’s not enough margin in move-in ready ones to make any money net of transaction costs.

        Now, if you’re trying to buy and live in a single family home zoned RD1.5, for example, then you are competing with developers. But the best use for that land (as determined by the city and codified in the zoning code) IS denser development.

  6. I hope that the developers are smart enough to have public parking in addition to parking for their units.
    What keeps Sunset junction from its potential is the difficulty for parking for people who live to far to conveniently walk to the stores and restaurants.

    • exactly! more public parking!

    • Agreed! I’ve stopped frequenting the area because it’s so impossible to park there.

      • Wrong answer you need to blame something else, like bikes or buses. We should pave paradise for MORE PARKING. And when that gets to capacity we can make more PARKING!! THERE is never enough parking. So many other cars in MY WAY!

    • DeveolpersareSatan'sspawn

      keep it from its potential? as what, a collection of chain stores?

    • Fortunately, these buildings are solving that problem in the other way, by putting in more people who don’t live too far to walk, and putting them on two bus lines and two bike lanes.

    • Traffic on Sunset does not exist in a silo. When the major arteries are beyond their thresholds folks will cut through on narrow winding side streets attempting to avoid delays. Even if you are an advocate for increased density on the “transit corridor” you can’t deny that there will be substantial impacts to adjacent *local* streets that are not designed for *collector* trip levels.

      This developer should offer a transportation demand management program as a condition for approval, along with a community benefits package that includes pedestrian safety measures and traffic flow improvements. And, the city should be developing a local very low cost shuttle/trolley to move people conveniently and frequently along the Eastside on sunset.

      • If you live up in the hills/winding streets, use Waze to close down the streets. No one will be routed thru you neighborhood. It works.

        • Good idea! However there’s many who hunt for a route without using a device; but its a great grass roots approach to protecting neighborhood streets. Love it!

      • I agree, the developers should contribute to neighborhood improvements (i.e. street trees and sidewalk repaving in front of new buildings, working with the DOT to put in a traffic signal and painted cross walk markings at Bates, Quimby fees, etc.) but asking them to pay for traffic management and buses seems a bit random to me.

        These are by-right projects, no? And Metro already runs several buses up and down the street at all hours. It sounds like the developers are just following the zoning, and building medium density exactly where they should be… on major boulevards that are well served by mass transit.

        • A TDM is a scag recommended intervention to promote car share, discount bus passes, and other tenant incentives to relieve road congestion. Many other developments at this scale are asked to submit a TDM. It doesn’t cost the developer or it’s management company very much to administer a TDM plan, they’ve been successful in other areas of the city. The question is how committed are our local electeds to working toward these goals? By-right or not, they can ask them to adopt a TDM that is appropriate for a 300 unit building.
          Btw, I didn’t say FC should pay for City shuttles, but they might pay for a new bus shelter or two adjacent to their buildings.

        • @ cornersoul….NO not by right…..requiring numerous variances and entitlements, compounded by the reversion of the Hollywood Community Plan to 1988 conditions for the 1 site…..the other 2 in SL/EP?Elyisan…..Hardly by right… SB 1818 only covers so mcuh….


          • @Edina: I overheard that from one of the board members at a SLNC meeting a couple years ago… I guess they were only talking about one of the buildings (or maybe just misinformed?)

            Either way, I just don’t understand the opposition to a couple of 4 story buildings on Sunset… I can’t really think of a better location in Silver Lake for this type of moderate infill development.

            @Jennifer D: I misread your last statement, my bad. But like I said, the city already offers several low cost shuttles (2, 4, 302, 704). Anyway, I think traffic concerns on Sunset are overblown, it’s only really congested at rush hour (to be expected in a large city), and the rest of the time cars travel way too fast for an urban corridor.

            FWIW, I submitted comments to the EIR a while back requesting they work with the DOT on putting in a traffic signal at Bates to calm speeding, but I’m not holding my breath… LADOT doesn’t seem to value things like public safety, commercial property values, or pedestrian circulation.

  7. I support these developments. The more we build out Sunset Junction, the more miserable we make traffic and the sooner we bring a conversation about a Sunset Boulevard streetcar into the spotlight, along with later closing times for bars in the area. Only then will we urbanites be able to club all homeowners and eat their brains and build rooftop bars on top of all of their houses.

    • this is sunset blvd. this is where density in terms of housing and retail should be
      i support this and encourage it all the way up and down sunset blvd.
      keep the development on sunset where good public transportation will be eventually, and out of the hills

    • I don’t think that you should eat anyone’s brains; many studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains is the healthiest. Eat grains, not brains. Oh, and regarding your plan to create rooftop bars, I recommend only clubbing the heads of Silver Lake homeowners with flat roofs that can easily be converted to bars. If you club a homeowner and then find out he or she owns a house with a sloped roof, I think you’ll feel sad.

    • There is no shortage of transit in Sunset Junction. You speak as if there is. We have plenty of transit here, its called the bus. A toy train for you to play with under the Christmas tree isn’t going to change that. If we need more transit, we can have it starting tomorrow by adding more bus runs. The buses go everywhere.

      Since we have plenty of transit here and can easily add more quickly anytime there is a need and without the high cost of a train and tracks, your point is bankrupt.

      • You ignore carbon costs. Long-term, trains are cheaper.

        So let me ask, how often do you take the 2 or the 4? Or perhaps maybe the question should be a field poll for your neighbors to see what they would most likely take to scoot back and forth on Sunset: a streetcar with reliable arrival times or a sporadic bus? I can tell you from living in Victor Heights, with two options to get downtown (Gold Line to the Red/Purple Line or taking the 2/4 buses), I usually take the train, even though it necessitates a transfer and takes longer. It’s more pleasant and reliable.

        • A street car with reliable arrival times? Have you ridden Metro Rail? I have. It is no more reliable than the bus. Yet, the bus is far more flexible, can change route as needed, whether for an event or incident, or because of longterm changes. When a Metro Rail train breaks down, the entire line is brought to a stop until it is fixed — a bus would just go around the other bus that is broken down. And if buses are coming along every 10 minutes, how late could it be anyway? Try riding transit before you profess to be the expert on it.

          As for your thinking that all ills of society will be solved if we would just get rid of Sunset Junction and replace it with a toy Toonerville set along Sunset, what happens when you get to Virgil or Vermont and have to go south or north to where you are going? Gee, back to the bus about five minutes after getting on the Toonerville Trolley. So, the bus is king. A train offers an advantage only for long rides with infrequent stops, region to region, not block to block. Toys are not a sound investment nor well considered vision.

          As for your carbon argument, it is anachronistic, it too is bankrupt. Electric buses are now being produced. And in some years, they will change over to carbonless fuel cells, as cars this year are starting to do.

          If you want idiotic toys on the street, then go to Disneyland. And stop talking like you have some high minded overview.

          • I don’t want to get rid of anything at Sunset Junction. I’m just sick of looking at shitty vacant lots.

            You’re trying to tell me that entire streets don’t get shut down by a car accident? You’re right, driving is such a pleasure in this city…let’s preserve it over all else. It’s especially a delight on the Eastside where Sunset is the one and only major artery to shuffle back and forth along. It’s almost as though with all the development that there currently is along Sunset that there was a streetcar line along it at some point. Wait a minute…

            Even if all cars and buses were electric, they’re going to take up an inane amount of space on the roads at some point as this city keeps growing whether you like it or not. It’s foolish to devote 80 sq. ft. to each and every person moving around on the roads. And by the way, it’s still a carbon cost to produce all of the materials to privately transport each and every driver on the road. It’s a carbon cost that each and every person needs to own their own vehicle that sits idly by most of the time. It’s still a carbon cost to continue resurfacing the roads. You see, in the end, it’s very inefficient, as is my use of time in responding to your unnecessarily agro, condescending post. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for Disneyland.

  8. Wow — so much notice for this meeting — let’s see if the people who actually live around Sunset Junction who have been asking for years for a status update find out about it in time to show up.. Let’s see if Frost/Chaddock sends the same arrogant representative they sent last time, who refused to apologize for the sneaky demolition of the historic buildings that formerly housed A Different Light bookstore and lied about why they did it.. FYI the myth about mixed-use developments reducing traffic is a joke. The rent on most of these apartments is going to be very expensive and the people who will be able to rent them aren’t giving up their cars. The retail space will be so expensive only major chain stores will be able to afford it. What will happen to what’s left of the small businesses in the neighborhood? Who knows — it’s a big, bad, ugly experiment.. Whatever Frost/Chaddock has come up with this time will be uninspired and look dated and cheap by the time it’s finished, which could take 1 1/2 to 2 years. This is a bad deal for everyone but them.

    • small business? You mean Intellegencia for $5 coffee. Cafe Stella for $37 steak? Mohawk General for $300 Turkish made shirts (designed in belgium) Or $250 shoes( made in China_?

      Major chains are here exploiting boutique prices on rent

      Sunset Junction is no different than Melrose . Its Sunest Blvd for Chrissakes, Bring on the density

    • No one claims that mixed-use development has lower traffic than no development. The claim is that mixed-use development creates a smaller total amount of vehicle miles traveled than the same amount of development scattered around single-use zones that are miles apart.

      Yes, this plan means more cars coming through Sunset Junction, but it’s fewer cars in the region as a whole, and possibly some of the increased car demand will be offset by increased bus supply.

      • Would some of you pro-density people come to the meeting tonight so it’s not solely populated by folks who think we live in Mayberry?

      • Kenny, let me get this straight: you’re saying we should have higher density here so people in other parts of town can have less? That’s what you just said.

  9. NO NO NO NO

  10. End of days…

  11. If this means the end of the Bates Motel eyesore once and for all, then I’m all for it. Plus, it’s Sunset Boulevard. This is where the big buildings belong.

  12. Build it build it build it! (But put retail on the ground floor). We need more people walking on Sunset!
    (and while the developer’s are at it, can they demolish the $1 car wash on Sunset and Descanso and build something worthwhile for the neighborhood? (I.E. more housing and more trees!)

  13. Silverlake isn’t some fragile ecosystem unable to absorb development pressures. Far from it – it’s located in one of the most transit-rich neighborhoods in Los Angeles and grew up as one of LA’s then most-dense communities along its streetcar lines (thus the staircases everywhere). People’s desires being expressed on this website for keeping out development and not allowing it to continue to reflect the changing nature of Los Angeles results in just forcing others to live farther and farther out from the city center, thus worsening traffic and polluting the air a little bit more for all of us. I get that the idea of change is terrifying to some folks, but (a) there has already been a ton of public scrutiny of these developments so far and (b) the longer the developer holds off, the more likely these properties will end up getting sold off to someone else who’ll just come back with more of the same or even denser. It’s remarkable to me that we all feel entitled to decide what someone else can and cannot do with the land that they own, yet we feel offended when someone else tells us what they think we can or cannot do with our own properties. Yeah, I get the desire for continuity within community, and these developments, frankly, would add hundreds more people going to local businesses, and pumping up our local tax base.

    Oh and don’t get me started on that Bates Motel. Want to talk about terrifying? Of course replacing an abandoned building that looks like something out of a horror movie with a land use that actually gets usage will add more people into the neighborhood, which will mean some more cars. But the antithesis to that argument is that all development should be flattened and nothing should ever get built so that we have no traffic ever.

  14. I think it’s a shame that the Bates Motel property might be redeveloped into apartments rather than a hotel or hostel. Silver Lake and Echo Park have very few hotels, youth hostels, or motels north of the 101, and if the city cracks down on alternatives like AirBnB, I’m not sure where visitors will stay, aside from the pricy downtown L.A. hotels or one of the local motels, which don’t seem to market themselves to out-of-towners (unless you include drifters in that category).

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