Today, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee gave the thumbs up to developer BRE's plans for a new apartment building at the corner of Wilshire and La Brea, a decision that paves the way for destruction of the Columbia Savings Bank. Per the city's request, there was one concession given at the last minute: 15 of the
452 482 apartments will be deemed work-force housing aka affordable housing. As we noted before, the LA Conservancy has been fighting to save the 1965 building, and has nominated the structure for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources. But the nomination won't be heard till January 29, 2010, so Michael Buhler, director of advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, spoke in front of the PLUM committee today to basically ask for a delay in the vote. But the committee had already made up its mind, so Buhler was pretty much ignored.
A lawyer for BRE also spoke, and said that construction would start next year. The City Council is expected to weigh in with a final vote on Friday, but given that the project has the support of the City Councilman Tom LaBonge, this goose is likely cooked. BRE seems like a decent developer, and the merits of the building are debatable, but we'd feel better about this project if there weren't so many empty buildings aka La Melange, 4848 Wilshire, sitting empty on Wilshire right now.
· Columbia Savings Bank is on the Chopping Block [Curbed LA]
· Planning Commission OKs Wilshire La Brea Project [Curbed LA]