West Hollywood's newly-resurrected Movietown Plaza project continues to show signs of life. A 10-story, 371-unit mixed-use development was given the green light back in 2010 when Casden Properties owned the Santa Monica Boulevard site; then it was put on hold, and eventually sold to megadeveloper Avalon Bay Communities, which is scaling the whole thing back: from 10 stories down to seven, with smaller residential units, and with 20 percent less retail space. They've hired architecture firm Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh to work on the project. It had been expected that the downsized Movietown would only need to be reviewed by city staff, but Planning Commissioner John Altschul dropped the bombshell that the change in total square footage might mean the whole thing needs to be reapproved, according to WeHo Patch. In the meantime, the planning commission's design review subcommittee had the chance to weigh in on the updated designs--West Hollywood planners assured the reviewers that the buildings "remain in the modernist vocabulary with substantial glazing and balconies."
Here's what the subcommittee had to say:
-- Roy Huebner, on the Santa Monica Boulevard facade: "I think it could be a little more transparent and a little more exciting," and "it looks a little disjointed and busy. I would like to see maybe a little more of the same symmetry that is on the rest of the building."
-- John Altschul: "My concern is that the Santa Monica frontage be vibrant, and be alive, and be something that attracts people's view ... and not come to the conclusion that it's just apartments over a store ... It's got to have some zest."
-- David Aghaei: "It seems more in line and in scale with the other buildings in the surrounding neighborhood."
· Planning Commissioners, Residents Weigh in on Movietown [WeHo Patch]
· WeHo's Movietown Plaza Shrinks to 7 Stories and Goes Rental [Curbed LA]