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Does the Aging and Affluent Westside Want a New Medical Plaza?

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[The AC Martin-designed Bundy Village and Medical Park. These renderings are very old]
Given yesterday’s mention of hospital design, this post seems timely: Los Angeles-based developer Stonebridge Holdings wants to build a housing and medical plaza on the Westside, specifically at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive. Although the final EIR was just released this fall, many parts of the proposed project—dubbed Bundy Village and Medical Park, and designed by local firm AC Martin— haven’t been finalized, according Stonebridge’s president Michael Lombardi. Additionally, this project isn't new. The Los Angeles Times first covered the proposed development back in 2002. But Lombardi says the project is important because it'll bring a large-scale healthcare complex to the 11th district (the area encompasses neighborhoods like Mar Vista, Palms, Venice, parts of West LA and more). And he says the development is getting closer to actually being realized. "There's an aging population in the 11th district and they need a healthcare system," he says. This being the development-suspicious Westside, naturally one can find opposition to the project, and two weeks ago, a web site called Stop Bundy Village was launched.

Originally called the Westside Medical Park, this project has been kicking around for some time. Besides that Los Angeles Times story, a 2006 story in Private MD, the Santa Monica-based newsletter for the American Private Physicians Association (APPA) referenced the development, calling it the “much delayed Stonebridge Holdings project."

According to Lombardi, there have been numerous reasons for the delays, including the fact that the project, which would rise on the old Teledyne Technologies site, has changed (a hospital was initially proposed, then dropped, and is now being talked about again, for instance), and a DOT study and cleaning of the site was required. By his own estimations, Lombardi says he's spent six years and roughly $6 million trying to get the project entitled.

Here's where the project is in its current incarnation. Per Lombardi, the final EIR project mentions 385 units, comprised largely of senior housing. But now other options, including staff housing for UCLA, are being considered for the residential component, he says, because funding isn’t readily available for senior housing.

Additionally, the EIR calls for 385,000 square foot of medical space. While that space could be comprised of doctor's offices and other medical-related facilities, Lombardi's longtime goal has been to put a hospital in the space.

While the city would sign off on the housing component, the hospital needs approval from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, and there's no timetable on the end, according to Lombardi. Asked about financing, he replied: "Construction financing for both sides would come from union pension funds...we are talking to number of different ones."

Additionally, the EIR calls for 119,838 square feet of retail/commercial space, and mentions 737 parking spaces for the residential part, and 682 spaces for the office/retail part. Additionally, since this area is on phase 2 line of the Exposition Light Rail, and a Bundy/Olympic spot is planned, Lombardi says a stop could be built on property.

Last week, web entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, a Brentwood resident/activist, launched the Stop Bundy Village web site. Excerpt from the web site: “Bundy Village is a stunningly large development on the Westside of Los Angeles on Olympic Avenue and Bundy. If completed this project would create a traffic nightmare for hundreds of thousands of residents in Brentwood, Venice, Santa Monica, Culver City, West Los Angeles and Westwood.”

Asked about traffic concerns, Lombardi says the increase caused by the project would be “incremental.” “This area has been always been traffic laden,” he noted. He also directly addressed Calacanis. “If he’s going to the doctor, where is he driving to? Where is he driving for health care?" He later added: "If you live in the 11th district, you're driving either to Santa Monica or Westwood [UCLA]."

Meanwhile, here's the official web site for the Bundy Village project. And the Stop Bundy site is here.

*Disclaimer: Strange coincidence! Dakota has worked for Jason Calacanis at two different points in her career, but really, who hasn't worked for Jason Calacanis at this point.