The long-planned and hoped for redevelopment of the last remaining heavy manufacturing (and brownfield) site in West Hollywood – Faith Plating – will likely proceed soon, say the developers.
After a 2011 decision by the WeHo city council to allow the current developer to go up 70 feet in the rear of the building to recoup expenses caused by cleaning up the toxic waste on the site, that SoCal-based development company called Walbern has announced that it expects to close on the property at month’s end.
The plating business is West Hollywood’s longest running business, formed in 1918 at 7141 Santa Monica Blvd., and because of the heavy metals used in the plating process, the lot has an aggregation of toxic metals that must be cleaned up before construction. Past efforts to develop the site, which began in 2005, failed due to the economic collapse and the price of the toxic cleanup.
According to Mike Young, manager of the plant and son of owner Fred Young, Hanover Company purchased the land in 2005 to build a 100-unit plus mixed use project, but put those plans on hold because of the banking crisis. The firm eventually gave up on their plans and ownership of the property reverted back to the Youngs late in 2010– but not before it almost destroyed the family business.
“We lost nearly $8 million through this horrible experience,” said Mr. Young due to rumors allegedly spread by Hanover that the plant would shut down. Those rumors caused Faith Plating’s client base to find other sources.
Once known as the “Formosa Specific Plan” because of the special zoning regulations the project would have needed, the project now requires none and the proposal’s name is “Domain.” The proposed development, at 7141 Santa Monica Blvd. at Formosa Avenue, includes approximately 140 rental units and 9,000 square feet of retail and uses the same design developed by Hanover before they backed out. While there is no date for groundbreaking, because an EIR already exists, there will be no need for one, hastening the timeline by a year at minimum. Final designs and working plans generally take approximately one year, so West Hollywood could see its next large housing project on the Eastside begun by the beginning of 2014.
The developers hope to "develop a village-like environment by siting and massing buildings around common pedestrian areas," in addition to cleaning up the existing environmental contamination, said that original EIR. The proposed project includes restaurant and retail space, and a mix of studio, one-bedroom (some with dens), and two-bedroom units, including 10 units on the ground floor. That EIR promised seventeen units to be set aside for moderate-income tenants and 16 for low income. Second floor amenities would include a pool, lounge, theater, and fitness room for residents, plus a publicly-accessible plaza for viewing the Hollywood Sign.