Sunset Gordon, the fully built Hollywood apartment tower from which dozens of residents were evicted last fall, is lurching back to life.
A recently submitted planning department filing show that developers CIM Group are steadily moving ahead with all the things they need to do to secure new approvals and complete a new environmental review for the project. City planners Wendy Nguyen and Blake Lamb confirmed to Curbed that this filing is a step on the way toward getting the building approved for occupancy once more.
The approximately 300-unit tower was built in 2014, but legal battles led to its permits being retroactively revoked, and its tenants being evicted in late 2015.
Sunset Gordon’s legal troubles goes all the way back to 2012, when CIM Group demolished the Old Spaghetti Factory building to make way for the new structure. The original plan had been to save part of the 1920s-era Old Spaghetti Factory (a former auto showroom) and incorporate it into the new 22-story Sunset Gordon residential structure.
But that plan changed. CIM says it discovered the old building was largely unsalvageable beyond a few pieces, which it saved with the intent of working them into the future tower. Everything else was razed, with what CIM maintains were proper permits.
Lawyer Robert Silverstein, who has sued to stall other Hollywood developments, like that half-built husk of a Target at Sunset and Western, believed otherwise. Silverstein argued that the complete demo of the old building violated agreements with the city and said demo permits were obtained illegally.
Silverstein teamed up with the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association (whose only named/known member seems to be a man named Doug Haines), and together they sued CIM Group. In October 2014, a judge sided with Silverstein and invalidated the tower’s permits.
Unfortunately, by that time, the building had been completed and was occupied by over three dozen tenants.
Those tenants lived in limbo until about March of 2015, when the tower’s temporary occupancy certificate expired. The certificate’s expiration meant that no one was legally allowed to live in Sunset Gordon, and the city’s Department of Building and Safety said it wouldn’t renew the certificate until the project went through the environmental review process anew and secured new approvals. Attempts to appeal the ruling failed and finally, in September 2015, CIM officially evicted the remaining tenants.
Since then, there’s been a great deal of mystery around the building. Last year, an LADBS rep told Curbed that, at least to his knowledge, the situation at Sunset Gordon was the first time a fully built building had had basically been forced to start over from scratch.
The department of city planning’s Nguyen and Lamb say that the project’s new draft environmental impact report is expected to be ready in early 2017, at which point it will be released to the public.