The owner of the former Yolk retail store on Silver Lake Boulevard ignited a neighborhood firestorm in April when he demolished much of the Streamline Moderne storefront without the proper permits. Now, a sign advertising the imminent arrival of a drive-through Starbucks posted on fencing around the site is riling neighbors once more.
“Drive thru Starbucks going in in demolished Yolks building!!!! How is this allowed to happen!! I am so distraught,” one user posted, along with a photo of the sign, on the neighborhood website NextDoor.
Debate ensued over whether the sign was a gag. (“Seriously anyone can put up a sign,” one resident commented on the NextDoor post.)
The skeptics were right. “No, it’s not going to be a Starbucks,” property owner Anup Jogani tells Curbed.
Jogani says that this is not the first time that someone has defaced the construction site, but that the vinyl sign was a step up from the norm.
“This is actually really impressive,” Jogani says. “They printed out a whole sign. Usually, someone just spray paints ‘Starbucks coming soon’ and my name and my office number.”
The neighborhood is still reeling from the loss of an almost-landmarked gas station three doors away. In a compromise that saved the gas station from being demolished to make was for a 14-unit apartment building, it will instead be moved off-site, to an LA River-adjacent spot where it will have a new life as a concession stand.
Though the gas station will not be razed, many saw the compromise to move it as a net loss for an area that is changing and losing its handsome older buildings in the process.
Jogani says he wants to build out what will ultimately be a retail space on the site. He plans to reuse all the building’s original windows, put a garden in the front, and make the space ADA-compliant. He’s also adding a rooftop deck and garden. The finished structure will be roughly the same height as before.
“Did I make a mistake? Yeah,” Jogani says. “I should have done a full PR thing and run it by the [neighborhood] council. It’s my first building. I’ve never bought a commercial property. I’m not a developer. I’m learning.”