This November, Beverly Hilton owner Beny Alagem is asking residents of Beverly Hills to approve an unusual ballot measure that would allow him to combine two planned condo towers into one 26-story tower, along with a 1.7-acre public park. In a recent interview with The Planning Report, Alagem reaffirms his commitment to abandon plans for the taller tower and build the already approved smaller structures.
"If our amendment is not approved, we will go forth with the original plan to build both an 18-story building and an eight-story building," he says.
That’s important, because if the measure should fail, Alagem would not be bound to build the two towers. He could simply wait for political winds to change and try to get the taller tower approved through the conventional planning process (that’s tricky at present because the city’s mayor and several council members are opposed to the project).
So far, the ballot measure’s primary opponent has been Chinese developer Wanda Group. The company is constructing a hotel/condo project called One Beverly Hills directly across the street from the Beverly Hilton and has been accused of illegally funneling foreign money into a campaign to defeat Alagem’s ballot measure—a claim that the firm strenuously denies. Update: Last week, the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission declined to investigate this claim further, citing a lack of evidence.
Alagem tells The Planning Report that the developer feud may have started with a simple disagreement over the placement of a loading dock at One Beverly Hills—it’s evidently a bit too close to the Beverly Hilton entrance for Alagem’s liking.
"They have eight acres," he says. "[H]ow about moving it somewhere else? Surely there’s space elsewhere for the loading deck. That’s our main beef with them, yet they’re attacking me nonstop."
For the full interview, head over to The Planning Report.
- Case study of when city planning fails: Beverly Hills development to be decided by voters—again [The Planning Report]
- Ballot Measure HH [Curbed LA]
- Proposed Beverly Hills condo tower has started an all-out developer war [Curbed LA]
- 26-Story Robert AM Stern Condo Tower Proposed Next to Beverly Hilton [Curbed LA]