Friday, August 1, 2014

A Closer Look at 7500 Sunset: Hollywood's Latest Mixed-User

Earlier this month, Curbed LA revealed renderings for a new residential-retail complex in Hollywood, intended to replace a cluster of one-story commercial buildings at 7500-7580 Sunset Boulevard.  The mixed-use development from West Hollywood-based Faring Capital would invigorate two sleepy blocks between Gardener and Curson Avenues with 236 luxury residential units above 30,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail and restaurant space.  Designed by Santa Monica's Killefer Flammang Architects, the project calls for two low-rise structures featuring high-quality finishes and ample outdoor amenities.

The western building - intended for a rectangular property between Sierra Bonita and Curson Avenues - would feature four stories of residential units above 16,000 square feet of street-level commercial space.  The design is intended to evoke a classic Hollywood look, with facade elements including sandstone and brass.  Upper levels are stepped back from Sunset Boulevard, creating private balconies above and a more intimate ground-level experience below.  Further in line with this emphasis on the pedestrian, vehicular access to the structure's underground parking garage would be located away from the building's Sunset Boulevard frontage.

Across Sierra Bonita Avenue, Faring Capital would replace the existing structures on a triangular shaped parcel of land with a second five-story structure.  Designs call for a more contemporary look for the eastern building, creating lighter tones with a facade of sandstone, rough finish brick and recycled wood.  Plans for upper level setbacks would closely mimic that of its western counterpart, while its ground floor would feature approximately 14,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.  The eastern structure would also contain the project's outdoor pool and amenity deck, accessible to residents of both buildings.

The building's triangular footprint is a vestige of a long forgotten streetcar route, formerly served by the Hollywood Line of the once expansive Pacific Electric Railway.  More than sixty years after the fabled "Red Cars," ceased operations through the neighborhood, their former right-of-way is still visible in satellite imagery, cutting a diagonal swath between Hollywood and Santa Monica Boulevards.

Faring Capital, prescient of the numerous hurdles which accompany any new development in Hollywood, has worked closely with future neighbors.  Maximum building heights are tailored to match that of existing residential structures to the south, ensuring that the project is not out of scale with surrounding blocks.  At the behest of nearby residents, the developer recently agreed to a significant increase in the project's subterranean parking accommodations.  Additionally, Faring Capital proposes a variety of community benefits, including streetscape improvements, 24 hour on-site security, and contributions to the nearby Gardener Street Elementary School.

However, exact plans for the development program have yet to be finalized.  Although residential units will be built to condo specifications, project representative Darren Embry states that 7500 Sunset will most likely move forward as luxury rentals for the time being.  More definitively, the buildings will reserve 11% of their units as affordable housing, as stipulated by a density bonus sought by the developer.

On the other hand, plans for the buildings' ground floor commercial stalls are slightly more concrete.  With 20,000 square feet of retail and 10,000 square feet of restaurant space, plans for 7500 Sunset represent a slight reduction from existing conditions.  Faring Capital is pursuing alcohol permits in order to replace existing venues.  The developer has also initiated conversations with current tenants, gauging interest from those who might consider returning when the mixed-use complex opens.

7500 Sunset is anticipated to break ground in 2016, followed by an approximately 18-month construction timeline.  Faring Capital may phase the construction or build both structures simultaneously.

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