Drivers pushing through Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills face a weedy strip of land and the unsightly butts of a strip of low-slung buildings on South South Monica Blvd. The city is hoping to change the scene, reports the Los Angeles Business Journal (sub. req.)--the city's planning commission is close to amending the zoning code and general plan for a three-acre strip that once operated as the right-of-way for Union Pacific trains and later could've been home to Eli Broad's art museum (he eventually chose Downtown instead). The hope is to bring a group of three to four-story buildings with uses that could include offices "museums, boutique hotels and retail," as well as parking and green space. The owners of the three parcels on the right-of-way have long wanted to bring in new development--one says "A lot of people over the years from different companies made inquiries if they could locate their companies there." Right now, the strip has a Budget Rent-A-Car and a Starbucks.
The three landowners are also being encouraged to work with the South SMB business owners whose buildings abut the right-of-way. If agreements are hammered out, those businesses could be demolished to make way for "something larger and more cohesive." This area is also set to see changes with the planned towers at the old Robinson-May, and perhaps one day also the seemingly-dead Waldorf-Astoria on the Beverly Hilton site.
· Beverly Hills Looks to Turn Corner [LABJ, sub. req.]