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Planning Commission OKs Rick Caruso’s fancy tower next to Beverly Center

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Some commissioners said it’s too tall

A luxury residential tower that shopping mall developer Rick Caruso wants to erect next to the Beverly Center cleared another hurdle Thursday over objections from a couple of Los Angeles city planning commissioners who said it’d be too tall.

The contemporary, 19-story tower would bring 145 luxury units, a grocery store, restaurant, and about 28,700 square feet of public open space to a triangular-shaped lot on La Cienega, between West 3rd Street and San Vicente Boulevard, that used to house a Loehmann’s. Plans for the new building, which require a zoning change and general plan amendment, were approved Thursday by the city’s Planning Commission and now head to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

The tower would rise 240 feet, a height that two dissenting commissioners said too tall for the area. But they were outnumbered; as commissioner Caroline Choe put it: There’s nowhere left to grow in LA, so buildings need to grow up.

In exchange, Caruso has agreed to designate 13 of the residential units for tenants earning very low and moderate incomes.

That was not enough to satisfy Los Angeles-based land use attorney Sabriana Venskus, who scolded the commission accommodating a “very wealthy developer” who is building a “stone cold luxury development.”