|5503 Hollywood Blvd and the Gershwin Apartments. Image from CIM Group.|
Earlier this week, the Department of City Planning signed off on CIM Group's amended plans for a mini shopping center at the northwest corner of Hollywood and Western. Details read as follows:
The project proposes the demolition of five one-story commercial buildings; the construction of one new 39,667 square-foot retail structure that is 35 feet in height with 125 parking spaces located on the rooftopThe architectural outfit handling the design work is McKently Malak, a firm whose portfolio consists mostly of suburban strip malls.
This is where I would normally expound on some of the positive qualities of a development, but I can't sugarcoat it this time. CIM's proposal is extremely underwhelming and wholly inadequate for a lot that's kitty corner from the Hollywood/Western Red Line station. This should be a mixed-use development, similar in scale to Sonny Astani's proposed "High Line West," on the opposite side of Hollywood Blvd.
|"High Line West." Image from PSL Architects. Great design and perfect scale for its location. Love how it matches the street wall of the adjacent historic building.|
Truthfully, the bigger problem is the fact that CIM's proposal actually complies with Los Angeles' zoning laws. The city's general plan indicates that the land is zoned for high density residential use, but documents from City Planning show that the height limit for this parcel is only 35 feet above grade. That's not tall enough to build high density anything. It's an odd contradiction within LA's land use laws, but that's what happens when a city relies on zoning codes written in 1946.
While LA has started the process of revising its outdated codes, these much needed changes will likely come too late to allow CIM to put something more substantial on the lot.