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City Council gives final approval to Frank Gehry-designed Sunset Strip development

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229 housing units, plus commercial

A big residential and commercial complex designed by Frank Gehry for the eastern end of the Sunset Strip got the final approval it needed Monday from the Los Angeles City Council.

Developer Townscape Partners plans to erect a complex of five buildings holding 229 residential units (38 will be set aside for low-income tenants) and about 60,000 square feet of commercial space at the corner of Crescent Heights, where a strip mall stands today. The council, which approved the plans unanimously, only did so after Townscape agreed to a number of compromises to win support from City Councilman David Ryu, who reps the neighborhood.

The biggest change? Reducing the height of its tallest tower from 234 to 178 feet. Townscape also agreed to spend $2 million to try to keep traffic from getting worse in the area, including by adding new bus stops.

Still, Ryu says the developer didn’t agree to all of the changes requested by him and area residents. “I’ll be the first one to say this project isn’t perfect,” he said.

Ryu had implored Gehry to preserve a 1960s Chase bank building on site. Once home to Lytton Savings, the building was designed by architect Kurt Meyer and is described by the Los Angeles Conservancy as a, “significant example of postwar-era bank design in Los Angeles.” The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission has recommended it be designated a city landmark.

But Gehry says it’s not suited for his design, and he intends to knock it down.

“I’ve had four or five of my buildings torn down … some buildings you can’t save. They outlive their time. I’ve had that happen. It’s difficult, but we move on. Somehow I’m going to figure out how to recognize Kurt as part of our project,” he said.

It’s likely that this is not the end of the road for his project, called 8150 Sunset. An attorney representing some of its opponents, who say it’s too big, has vowed to sue.