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7-story Cahuenga development is redesigned, but some commissioners are still 'disappointed'

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The project is at Cahuenga and Fountain

Plans for a seven-story mixed-user at Fountain Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood made it through the city’s planning commission last week, a noteworthy victory considering its design, in the beginning, was widely detested.

Commissioners finally got on board with the project only after the design went through several rounds of revisions. Even still, some commissioners approved the plans after calling the latest iteration disappointing.

Plans call for more than 40,000 square feet of open space and 369 residential units, including 20 units designated for tenants with "moderate" incomes, at 1311 North Cahuenga. One home, a three-unit apartment building, two office buildings, parking lots, and auto repair shop would be razed to make way for the new project, which would also have about 530 parking spots.

Here are just some of the highlights from a long list of reasons why members of a panel of volunteer architects, city planners, and planning commissioners who reviewed the original drawings didn’t like them: The pool was in a weird spot; a fabric awning on the roof in the shape of sail didn’t seem like it would weather well; the materials looked low budget; a tunnel on Homewood Avenue was dark and un-welcoming; the live-work units looked like retail spaces without any privacy for tenants; none of it looked walkable.

Still, even with design changes, some commissioners weren’t impressed. "I’m disappointed. I don’t see any major changes," said commissioner Caroline Choe. Commissioner Renee Dake Wilson said she was disappointed, too, and called the project "too large." But planning commission president David Ambrose said, "It’s the perfect place for density. As someone who lives in this neighborhood … who uses these streets, I think this is perfect."

A group of residents called "Save Cahuenga" has rallied against the project, saying it’s too large and would further congest streets. An environmental impact report has found the project would have "significant and irreversible" impacts on traffic at these intersections: Cahuenga and Fountain, Cahuenga and Santa Monica Boulevard, and Vine Street and Fountain Avenue.