1350 N. Hayworth Avenue undergoes scrutiny

May 26, 2011

The Historic Preservation Commission met early this week at the Plummer Park Community Center to review the application for the proposal to demolish a 16-unit apartment structure in order to construct a 17-unit condominium project with subterranean parking at 1350 N. Hayworth Ave.

The Historic Preservation Commission heard plans for a 17-unit condominium project with subterranean parking at 1350 N. Hayworth Ave.

The representative for the applicant, Jay Vanos, came armed with architectural schematic drawings and numerous renderings all illustrating the amenities of this massive complex consisting of a 44 foot high, four story condominium project.

Neighborhood residents addressed the commissioners with their complaints about the proposed project being too massive, too tall and the design not in harmony with the neighborhood and would stand out like a “sore-thumb” on this street. 

Notably, there was a contingent of residents from the adjoining complex to the North:  the Hollywood Riviera, located at 1400 North Hayworth Avenue.  The Hollywood Riviera is a historically unique 38-unit residential complex built in 1954.

This unique project was designed by the award winning architect, Edward H. Fickett, FAIA and was unanimously designated by the West Hollywood’s preservation commission as an historic resource.

This is the current structure at 1350 N. Hayworth Ave.

These residents pleaded with the commissioners to recommend to the planning commission against this project as proposed because it would create a “WALL” of structure adjacent to their units and that it would cut off light from their units, not to mention that their units would be visible to the occupants of this new condominium complex.

These neighboring residents further testified that they were very concerned that the market value of their units would be worth less rather than increase due to the massiveness of the new project overshadowing the South exposure thereby cutting off access to sunlight, and the exceptional vista they presently enjoy.

Originally, the purpose of garnering community support was for preserving the building located at 1350 North Hayworth Avenue, originally built in 1953.  The 16-unit apartment complex is an “affordable” rent controlled building consisting of a two story “Court Yard” residential dwelling complex, which is an endangered species in West Hollywood.

The Historic Preservation Commission heard plans for a 17-unit condominium project with subterranean parking at 1350 N. Hayworth Ave.

While this court yard apartment complex has its unique charm, 1350 North Hayworth was not deemed by the commission worth preserving, and was considered to be a separate issue from the proposed condominium project’s impact on the Hollywood Riviera complex.

The commission suggested that the replacement project, as proposed, loomed too massively for its location.

Commissioners went on to suggest that the developer conduct a “shadow study” for this project and survey the potential loss of sunlight and its possible impact this development may have upon the Hollywood Riviera residents. 

The preservation of an existing old-growth tree was discussed and serious concern was raised by the residents in that excavation for a subterranean garage may threaten the well being of this mature tree.

Additionally, some on the commission commended the community for standing united against the impact on the Hollywood Riviera historic complex and recommended that the developer and architect should enlist the consensus of the community and down-size the project to a three story development before applying to the planning commission.

Michael Poles is the chief executive of MPGroup, a construction consulting, forensic expert witness and mediation firm, which was established in 1962.   

Mr. Poles is also providing commercial photography services, as Michael Poles Photography.