Proposal could bring more WeHo housing

A proposed project that would bring 166 units of new housing to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood received positive reviews last week from the planning commission’s design review subcommittee, and moves next to the full planning commission.

Known as Domain, the development is proposed for a parcel near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Detroit Street that was formerly occupied by a metal plating business since the 1930s. The developer, Domain WH LLC, a division of Trammel Crow Residential, is planning to build 166 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments above approximately 9,000 square feet of ground-level retail space that could house restaurants and shops. Thirty-three units would be designated as affordable housing. The building would be six stories tall in the front near Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue, but would step down to three-stories near abutting apartments at the rear. The building would also incorporate a publicly accessible elevated platform with views of the Hollywood Sign and other local landmarks.

“I think it is the perfect location to provide both needed housing as well as neighborhood retail,” said Jeff Seymour, of Seymour Consulting Group, which represents the developer.

If the project is approved, the developer would first have to remove chemical contamination from the ground under the former plating facility. Domain WH LLC has already submitted a mitigation plan to the California Department of Toxic Substances, according to Emily Stadnicki, senior planner for the city of West Hollywood. She did not know of the extent of contamination at the site, but state officials deemed the mitigation plan as adequate to address the problem.

“The site is toxic, and they had to have the clean-up plan approved by the state,” she said. “It has all been analyzed, and they have been through that process.”

Seymour said the developer is eager to begin the clean-up as soon as possible. The West Hollywood Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to examine the project on May 16, and if it is approved, the project could move forward without city council approval if no appeals are filed. If an appeal is filed, the council would likely hear it within 30 to 60 days.

“The developers believe they can provide the actions needed to clean the property up,” Seymour added. “Not only [does the city] gain an outstanding and exciting project, the developer wants to improve the livability of the location.”

Domain would join several other housing and retail projects either in the planning stages or under development in the area, such as the Movietown Plaza project on Santa Monica Boulevard, and buildings being constructed by the Monarch Group at Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, and Fountain and La Brea avenues.

West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said he has not decided whether to support the Domain project, but said he is concerned that too much development may be occurring on the city’s eastside. While the projects will provide needed affordable housing and a more pedestrian-friendly environment, they will also add more density and possible traffic and parking congestion.

“There is a lot of excitement in that part of town, and there will be a lot of changes. I think there is going to be a need for a little bit of a pause on how we approach projects going forward,” Prang said. “I think the whole view of Santa Monica Boulevard will be very different than it was twenty-five years ago when there was nothing but light industrial. Now, you will have a very vibrant environment. People will be living there and shopping there. It will be much more like West Hollywood in the central city and the westside.”