Saturday, October 22, 2016

Residents to weigh in on south Silver Lake development


SILVER LAKE — The developers seeking to turn an approximately one-acre chunk of Silver Lake into the site of 136 apartments and 12,000-square-feet of retail space are scheduled to appear tonight before a community meeting.

A representative for CIM Group, one of Hollywood’s largest and most politically connected developers, said that 15% of the units would be set aside for very low income tenants. The inclusion of affordable housing often allows a developer to build a project than would normally be allowed without special permission.

The development of four and-five story buildings would rise on the site of what is now Phil’s Transfer & Storage near the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Silver Lake Boulevard.  It would rank as one of the single largest developments south of Sunset Boulevard. It would include 236 parking spaces. The property went up for sale last year at more than $10 million.

The final design and details of the project have yet to be worked out.  But a presentation last March before the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Urban Design & Preservation Committee provided an idea of what the developer has in mind.  According to the minutes of the meeting, the buildings would be clustered around numerous courtyards, including a central courtyard or plaza along Bellevue Avenue.

Persons who attended the March meeting welcomed the idea of additional shops in the south end of Silver Lake.  But they were worried about the height of the buildings in an area of primarily one and two-story homes and structures.

CIM Group has been mired in a legal battle over a 299-unit Hollywood high rise after a judge invalidated the project’s building permits, prompting the city to order all current tenants to leave.  That order was put on hold until a lawsuit challenging the project is resolved.

Tonight’s public meeting (June 16), which is hosted by the Urban Design & Preservation Committee, is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.  in  the Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Micheltorena Street.

Site of proposed mixed use project | LoopNet.com



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  1. Actually, I expect the units are not “low income” but merely “affordable.” The city gives a density bonus for “affordable,” but that is not “low income.” The city’s idea of “affordable” is $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. This developer is including some mere one-room studios, and those will of course rent for less than a one-bedroom unit, and that gets him under the “affordable” category, qualifying him for more units than otherwise allowed.

    Sure, we need more housing. But that doesn’t justify destroying everything in sight, nothing is too much anywhere, as Garcetti and O’Farrell approach it. There could be plenty more housing units there without making it incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood! This project is WAY too big for that area. This project will hugely impact the surrounding neighborhood.

    • Yes, it will impact the surrounding area.

      But, it would seem to be a very positive change for an area that has very little going for it currently.

      That area of SL Blvd is a dead zone, makes sense that this area of Silver Lake would be developed next.

      Why do you think it would have a negative impact on the area?

      Do the local residents prefer a truck parking lot, to walkable businesses?

      • We would prefer the dead zone. Our neighborhood has had great positive changes. This would make an already heavily congested area more congested and the parking would be a nightmare. They have 135 units the majority being one bedrooms with just one parking spot per apartment. Everyone knows that plenty of couples and friends shard one bedrooms in this city. Also friends often come visit you. Our neighborhood can not handle the parking as it is and then expect us to handle all of their tenants because they are not providing enough parking spots. NO THANK YOU! I didn’t move and buy in this area for a HUGE apartment building to be built . I moved to live in a neighborhood with charm.

        • “Less traffic and more parking!” – the call of the NIMBY

          • Really shows up these kinds of people’s ignorance. Encourage car use by providing more space for cars but yet want less traffic.

        • Ha — welp, NEWS FLASH you live in a city. And your city is in desperate need for more housing — and it’s coming. So get ready to welcome your new neighbors…

          Or may I suggest you check out Montana or North Dakota? I hear they are vastly under-populated and filled with empty spaces for you and your car.

    • The real issue is CIM group. They are perhaps the most egregious of LA’s developers. They take public funds under the guise of creating “affordable” housing (Sunset/Gower); they get additional public funds and insane parking reductions contingent upon preserving the facade of the historic 1924 Spaghetti Factory– then they tear it down, defying the covenant. Now they are stuck with a building that has less than half of the parking required, since they invalidated the reduced parking agreement when they destroyed the facade. Tenants were evicted because certificate of occupancy is not valid. CIM never disclosed its legal woes to its new tenants (which is illegal), who then came back with a lawyer and negotiated a settlement so that CIM could avoid yet another lawsuit.

      At least $12M in New Market Tax Credits were allocated for the provision of for sale “workforce housing” which never materialized. CRA funding (our tax dollars) was contingent upon the development agreement, which CIM breached. Did we get that money back? No, and we never will. No affordable units were created at Sunset/Gower. CIM assumed the whole deal from the former developer, Gerdling Edlen, yet failed to perform on it.
      Check out the deal here: http://www.crala.net/internet-site/Media/upload/Sunset_Gordon_10_22_07.pdf

      What did CIM create? 22 floors of market rate rental and commercial units, a few of which were subleased to an Air B’nb rental broker who allowed prostitution and drug dealing in the residential tower on the floors it had leased. Even after LADBS demanded that CIM stop running an illegal hotel operation, the units continued to be rented out.

      Lest you think this was just one deal gone bad, consider the disaster at MidTown Crossing that left that mid-City neighborhood with an overwhelming development that clogs traffic and divides the community with a 68-foot tall structure. http://www.laweekly.com/news/cim-groups-bitter-lesson-to-mid-city-2171699

      Then there’s the Bon Aire Motel saga where CIM sat on its purchase of derelict Hollywood properties (claiming economic hardship), allowing them to become infested with drug dealers, prostitutes and gang members, despite consistent pressure from the press and residents to demolish the structures. All of this going on 400 feet from Garcetti’s CD13 office and while CIM was receiving $30M from the City to build the Kodak Theater. http://la.curbed.com/archives/2009/08/set72157621914995247_stylefontsize_9px_textalign_centerclick.php and the Weekly too: http://www.laweekly.com/news/cim-group-hollywoods-richest-slumlord-2161346

      CIM isn’t just picking on LA. They are facing a $4.5 Million dollar settlement for abuse of New York’s affordable housing program. They were operating an illegal hotel (through a broker) in a condominium tower that was reserved for permanent affordable housing. They are being made to pay back the tax credits they illegally wrote off when they did not create the required housing…… Doesn’t that sound familiar?

      Ok, Silverlake, please tell me why you trust anything coming from this developer?

      • Well put together facts! Thank you. So how is CIM getting away with this for so long in L.A. if it appears to be this obvious? Is Garcetti really taking that much kick back money? Why cant these fuckers be stopped??

        • fly on the wall

          you can bet that the council member has received $$$ from CIM and will support this project as he loves high density projects with no connection to the neighborhood, no public transportation and will support anything that uncles Eric and Herb do. This will have a very negative impact on the community because of the increased amount of traffic and only one way into the site. Also, the entrance is about 100 feet from a busy intersection so how does that impact several hundred vehicle trips a day on pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Permit parking should be mandated for a 4 block perimeter around the project.

  2. This is kind of a dead zone with auto shops and a truck yard. And it’s by the highway. A large development with some shops – so folks in the neighborhood have a place to walk to – would be a great addition.
    I know the NIMBYs are already out, but it makes sense to have little pockets of density around single family and smaller apartment buildings. And more people means more eyes on the street, which translates to a safer neighborhood.

    • Density has nothing to do with providing neighborhood outlets for residents. Over-development is not needed to provide some shops for the local neighborhood. You are falsely linking density and convenience. Such shops and conveniences can be mere one-story development along the main street.

      No one would be complaining about a project like that. Instead of that, what we have here is a block-buster. In fact, a neighborhood buster.

      • Shops need foot traffic to survive. Right now, there is a tiny convenience store, Las Glorias, Mikron liqour, and the strange Chinese and Donuts shop. There is not much foot traffic for people looking to shop.
        I’ll bet that Las Glorias and El Caserio would appreciate more foot traffic.
        A one story development will not bring anything new.

        • The ‘strange Chinese and Donuts shop’ is Mom’s Donuts & Chinese Food, the quintessential example of a wonderful local mom & pop store! The owner’s are kind, hardworking, welcoming and pleasant, and the donuts (especially their fabulous Apple Fritters!) are delicious!

  3. I would like to have development in that area of Silver Lake. However, I think the project seems a bit too large and not keeping with the character of the area. I know that more units mean more $$$ for the developers, but if possible, I would like to see it scaled down., maybe <100 units. The politicians will probably just rubber stamp whatever the developer wants though. Oh well…

    • I’m confused by how you’re using character here — I’ve lived in the area for 10 years. It’s not exactly a historic area?

      • i agree –

        phil’s is a place for the sunday shit sale, and a place for people to tag.
        make something there.
        maybe it will slow down the vendome gang shootings by mikron?

      • It’s funny to see all the folks coming out saying “don’t do this” when probably 0% of them have had a crap to say about all the gang activity and dereliction wrought upon the immediate area by that place as it is now. Just raze the d*mn thing and build on it already. What a joke.

        • Yes, build on it – at an appropriate density. This is NOT an appropriate density. No one is complaining about a project going in there. They are complaining about the massive size of this of thing!

          • Massive?? Who says this is NOT an appropriate size except NIMBYs and those who think they live in the Inland Empire.

    • This seems reasonable – scale it down some, but still add a decent # of units. Let’s see the actual renderings for this place too. It’s a big site; 136 apartments means…how big? 4 stories? Or what?

  4. I lived on Bellevue…this is a no-brainer spot for development. Bring it on!

    • Seriously.

      If ever there were an appropriate place for a project like this, its that eyesore. bonus, it’ll displace the ghetto swapmeet on the corner.

  5. How much $$$$ did the developer give to council member O’Farrell? This project fails on several fronts. Only one way in and out for the residents and commercial patrons. The height is outside of what zoning allows. The negative impact of all the increased traffic to the area and resultant impact to the quality of life and air pollution. Has anyone figured out why the council member keeps approving these high density projects in a drought? Where does the water come from . A gargantuan failure is the lack of parking for the residents/commercial customers. The streets in the area are clogged as it is so the reason we need more overpriced housing units is because? With the rents that will likely be charged how many people are going to double up to cover the cost of rent and therefore increase the number of vehicle trips in and out of and around the building site. Half the size and height would be workable and another exit location on Robinson. .

    • blah blah blah You haven’t raised one criticism that isn’t routinely leveled at every single new development ever proposed in LA.

      • i live near this intersection.
        i welcome any development.

        look around the streets that skirt this intersection.
        unsafe. encampments of homeless. gangs.
        think of the traffic flow between the 101 and sunset? people do 60 miles an hour!

        the area more residential, on the back side of the proposed building, is where a gardener recently was shot in a 20 person mid day shoot out.

        no thanks.

  6. The project provides much-needed housing and small commercial to an area that could use investment.

    Some of these commenters sound like they should live in a gated community, not in the SECOND LARGEST CITY in the US.

    Come on, people – grow up. Not always about you and your parking because your garage is filled with junk.

    Traffic has been a concern in LA well before you moved here, or were born. Stop whining you entitled babies, or move to the desert where you can drive everywhere and park in your double wide space and get fat.

    • It is not like people are saying leave it as an empty lot. Some people want the project downsized which is a reasonable criticism. The area has mostly 1 story and 2 story buildings. The choices for this project isn’t 4 story dense development or ugly empty lot. There are a lot of options in between.

      • Have you driven down Bellevue? Seen the 3-4 story buildings?

        When are people going to wake up and see that 1- and 2-story buildings don’t work in all areas of the city, and is one reason why LA housing prices – and TRAFFIC – are so bad. People can’t see the forest through the trees as they are so self-absorbed.

        Density is coming, whether you like it or not. And we are not talking about a really tall building here…

        • Culturally Unwelcoming

          by my count, there are six 3-story structures along the 3/4-mile stretch of Bellevue from Coronado Terrace to Hoover, one of which is an elementary school. of the remaining five, only two–the box complexes near the SE end–are arguably four stories, and that’s only if you count the parking garages. none of those is anywhere near this size. a 4-5 story, 136-unit building will stick out like a sore thumb.

      • The area has other 4 and 5 story developments. This would not be the tallest, You are a liar. But what would you expect from a NIMBY?

        • Culturally Unwelcoming

          where is the lie? one- and two-story buildings in that area outnumber taller ones 100 to 1, easily.

    • Housing is needed yes. But who is renting $1700/mo one bedrooms?

  7. The important thing is that the apartments’ rents will be costly. That means a better class of resident in this neighborhood.

  8. “What about traffic?” “What about traffic?” “What about traaaaaaaaaaaaaafic?” ” Waaaaaaaa… I need to drive alone in my car because I am lazy and misanthropic and don’t want to touch anyone on the bus for heavens sake – where is my hand sanitizer?” “My personal comfort and neurotic need to be alone yet chat-and-text-while-driving-because-I am-lonely is more important than the atmosphere.” “Traffiiiiiiiiiic!” “Traffiiiiiiiiiic!” waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  9. Developers will squeeze as much profit out of a development as they can. Whether its good for the neighborhood or not the developers don’t care. Developers should try and make money but it’s the communities responsibility to make sure the growth is part of the bigger picture. Believe it or not allowing the free market to completely regulate the problem doesn’t make sense. LA has a finite amount of land so at a certain point unregulated growth will just cause an infrastructure collapse. Of course that wouldn’t happen overnight but when do we start thinking about the big picture. These so called pro free market supporters of development are naïveté to think the free market will take care of livability.

    • Right, because micromanaging land use with a sea of red tape has really created a world class city free of traffic. and blight.

      Newsflash: infrastructure is a lot cheaper to maintain if you develop urban neighborhoods in a more conventional fashion… way more tax revenue per acre.

  10. City Terrace1963

    15% of these units for low income people? So let me get this right. Some young professional is going to pay anywhere from 1500 to 2000 a month for a 1 br apartment and have to live next to some section 8 welfare parasite and her kids? Who is going to do that? Certainly I would not.

  11. I lived few houses up on Belleveue avenue a lot of my neighbors welcomed this project to this area. That eye sore has been there for so many years now it’s time to do some changes. Start the project already can’t wait to see our property value go up.

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