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Sportsmen’s Lodge redevelopment can move forward with city committee endorsement

The new landscaping plan draws inspiration from Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland

Renderings by Olin, courtesy of Midwood Investment and Development

In a 180-degree turn, the redevelopment of Studio City’s long-running Sportsmen’s Lodge event center has won approval from a key city committee.

After getting bashed September, the redevelopment’s landscaping plans, which have since been revised, now have the endorsement of the city’s cultural heritage commission.

Commission president Richard Barron called the conceptual renderings “wonderful.”

And commissioner Barry Milofsky told the developer: “You responded to everything we asked.”

Drawing on inspiration from Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland, the new landscape design features existing redwoods along with additions: ferns in shady areas under the redwoods and native plants along the meandering water feature that travels through the development.

In the place of a loathed outdoor dining deck, there’s a new dock-like seating area that meets the water.

The commission signed off on the landscaping plans November 1. They’re part of a larger plan to replace the event center with an upscale shopping center.

Plans for the shopping center were approved in 2015, but as part of a compromise with the city, the development’s landscaping must be vetted by the cultural heritage commission to ensure the new green spaces “commemorate the look and feel of the former Sportsmen’s Lodge garden.”

An earlier version of the landscape plans, from Midwood and landscape architect Olin were skewered by commissioners in September.

“I don’t think you’ve picked up the character of what the original character of this environment was,” Barron told Midwood and Olin at an earlier meeting.

But this month, the commissioners heaped on praise.

“We improved the landscape design toward our goal of celebrating this truly unique property,” Ben Besley, Midwood’s senior vice president of development, told Curbed. “We are now very excited to complete our design and bring this much-anticipated project forward for the Studio City community.”

The landscape element is integral to the project, but Besley says Midwood is still working on other aspects of the overall design. A timeline for construction date has not been announced.