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Beverly Hills News – City To Enter $1 Million Agreement With Developers On Townscape Project

Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2016 – 4:31 PM

By Victoria Talbot

The City Council Consent Calendar, usually approved with one vote on several items unless an item is pulled by a council member for more discussion, includes an item wherein the City of Beverly Hills will enter into a $1 million agreement with Angelo Gordon Real Estate Inc., associated with the “informal public evaluation of the Townscape Partners development proposal for City property surrounding 336 Foothill Road and 9268 Third Street.”

The development under discussion is being proposed by Townscape Partners, with Gehry Partners (Architect Frank Gehry) encompassing 6.5 acres of the last underdeveloped City property and 0.5 acres of private property along Foothill Road and Third Street. The proposal came to the City unsolicited. 

Among the current uses of the property are the proposed dog park, the new shallow water wells, parking lots, Lakeshore Entertainment and the Magen David Temple.

The Townscape proposal includes 500,000 square feet of entertainment, media and tech office space; 150 residential condominium unites, 50,000 square feet of neighborhood retail and restaurants, a 3-acre public park and venue and a 180-room five-star hotel.

The primary public benefit is a 3-acre park, with a concert venue, with five separate buildings surrounding the area. All of the structures and the park would support the primary function of the five-star hotel.

“It is critical,” says the proposal, “that all of the other elements be a part of this synergistic environment in order to transform the hotel’s surroundings into a location suitable for a five-star product….  establishing a new office and residential population, all which is centered around the major public park, as well as the elimination of inferior uses that denigrate the area, will transform this part of town from its previous industrial roots into a completely reinvigorated part of Beverly Hills.”

It is not clear what the “elimination of inferior uses that denigrate the area” refers to, but the adjacent area includes the Mercedes Benz dealership and two veterinary hospitals, as well as the Amanda Foundation and several temples.

The Townscape proposal is for a 99-year lease on the property.

The City Council has authorized the initiation of an informal public review process in which the community can discuss the proposal and consider options prior to the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development of the property.

The developer, Tyler Siegel, and architect Frank Gehry, made a proposal on Feb. 2 at the City Council meeting. The proposal included a request to initiate public comments and the opportunity to consider the issuance of an RFP. 

The RFP would invite any interested developers to deliver their proposals for consideration. 

With the $1 million, the developer will cover:

  • The cost of appraisals and determination of fair market rent
  • Economic and financial studies
  • Land use planning studies
  • Costs of preparing an RFP if issued
  • Public notice costs
  • Certain legal and support staff overtime costs

 

Costs will initially be capped at $150,000. If costs approach overrun, and there is a need for further expenditures, the developer will be given the option to either conclude the process and be refunded the unexpended deposit balance or agree to increase the cap by $100,000 increments. 

At the conclusion of the study the City Council will be given a report on the results of studies and public commentary received and will determine whether an RFP should be issued to solicit proposals at large. If an RFP is issued, the City will ask for an additional $100,000 non-refundable deposit.

The City “welcomes a public process to review the proposal and consider alternatives,” said the Feb. 2 City Council Study Session agenda, but “it does not have enough information to commit to issuance of an RFP. In order to initiate a public process to consider issuance of an RFP, the City requires a cash deposit from the developer in order to pay for expenses that will be incurred by the City in conjunction with the informal public process and to demonstrate that the project has sufficient financial support from the developer to warrant the City effort. 

The framework for the public process will be developed and brought back for City Council review at a future meeting.

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