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Beverly Hills News – Townscape Partners Proposes Five-Star Hotel Next to Dog Park

Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 – 4:47 PM

By Victoria Talbot

Townscape Partners wants to build up the entire entertainment district to support a 5-star hotel designed by Frank Gehry on two City-owned sites.

Yes. You heard it right. The firm proposes taking over the entire area for a 99-year lease of the site to redevelop with an upfront payment of $75 million to the City. Deputy City Manager David Lightener and his staff are recommending it as a potential “long-term revenue source to fund municipal priorities,” although whose priorities and what priorities is unclear.

(Could that have something to do with funding the pensions and annual pay raises of the municipal employees, also on the agenda this Tuesday?)

The area encompasses “6.5 acres of property surrounding 336 Foothill Road and 9268 Third Street, currently used for the Public Works services, Lakeshore Entertainment and the City Employee Credit Union, among other things.

“As a major focal point of the project, all of the uses would be centered on a three-acre park and outdoor multi-purpose venue.” This “park” would be the “public benefit,” much as has been touted at another giant project across town, by another world-class Pritzker prize-winning architect that was sold to the community with the same carrot.

“A vast open space for all to enjoy,” it says, but on further examination there is this: “We believe the location will prove to be highly attractive to -5 and 6-star hotel flags because of the ability to completely control the environment while simultaneously being within walking distance of the Golden Triangle. However it is critical that all of the other elements be a part of this synergistic environment to transform the hotel’s surroundings into a location suitable for a five-star product. . . More specifically, the elimination of inferior uses that denigrate the area will transform this part of town . . . ” 

“Through having control of its environment. . .  the hotel will be attractive to the leisure traveler.” 

We don’t know what “inferior uses” means, or how residents and business owners might regard this. The area is home to the Mercedes Benz dealership, four synagogues, the future dog park, The Small Animal Hospital of Beverly Hills, the Amanda Foundation and Dr. Shipp’s Animal Hospital among other small businesses, many that have been there for decades.

To participate in this discussion while its still your  land in your City, the City Council has indicated that the “proposal should be presented to and considered by the community at large at a series of informal public meetings before making a decision on whether to pursue an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a ground lease and formal entitlement review of a project.”

All this, in a City with 27, almost 28 and soon, probably 29 hotels within 5 square miles. 

Deputy City Manager David Lightener wants these meetings to “familiarize the public with their project and proposed ground lease terms and to hear responses and suggestions directly from the public.”

The discussion will be on Tuesday at 2:30 at City Hall.

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