Way back in early 2013, Metro and the owner of West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center, Charles Cohen, announced they were teaming up to create a massive megadevelopment on an 8.4-acre, Metro-owned lot next to the PDC and 2.5 acres of a nearby West Hollywood Sheriff station lot. West Hollywood city officials have only just received renderings and details of the proposed project but they didn't come from Metro or Cohen's company; they were shared by LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes WeHo, reports Wehoville. City officials are miffed that Cohen's cut them out of the planning for such a huge project (1.35 million square feet) and are now moving to ask Metro to let their exclusive contract with Cohen expire this April.
The project, called Design Village and designed by Gruen Associates, is supposed to include 335 residential units with 67 units reserved for "elderly or other people in need," a 250-room hotel, a movie theater, nightclubs, bars, restaurants with patios, 400,000 square feet of office space, and a 680-seat outdoor amphitheater. It would also include a new Sheriff's station and West Hollywood City Hall, which makes it extra weird that officials haven't been in on this.
West Hollywood has been after this large parcel next to the PDC for while, hoping to move their City Hall there and put up a new Sheriff's station just as this plan envisions, but they also definitely wanted to have more (any) input into the process. (Cohen has been working with Metro, the Sheriff's department, and LA County, all of which have purview here.) In her memo to the WeHo City Council, Community Development Director Stephanie DeWolfe suggests that the city ask Metro to stop exclusively negotiating with Cohen, and points out that there are zero plans to include public transit in the megadevelopment. "The site is a prime location for a future multi-modal and Metro transit station, including light rail, subway and /or enhanced bus service," the memo notes.
Several city officials voiced their opposition to Cohen's project as it is anyway. West Hollywood Mayor John D'Amico, called the plans "an amateur rendering of a disaster," and stated that a development of that size should be voted on, rather than be allowed to simply appear. DeWolfe adds in her memo "The process under by which such a significant publicly owned site is envisioned should be inclusive and transparent, and led by the community rather than the private sector."
Residents freaked out when the huge project was first announced two years ago; Metro released a statement then saying "The city of West Hollywood will have not only input, but essentially the final say in approval."
· A Look at Charles Cohen's Plans for the MTA Lot in West Hollywood [Wehoville]
· Metro and PDC Owner Team Up for WeHo Mega-Development [Curbed LA]
· WeHoans Unhappy About Surprise PDC-Adjacent Megaproject [Curbed LA]