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Villa Carlotta owner wants to put a bar on the building’s ground floor

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Is the historic apartment building more or less becoming a hotel?

A photo of the historic building’s upper floors and a palm tree in the foreground.
The Villa Carlotta.
Jenna Chandler

The owners of the Villa Carlotta want to open a groundfloor cafe at the historic apartment building that would operate from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Oowner CGI Properties is asking the city to change the use of its Franklin Village building from residential to mixed-use to allow for the roughly 1,100-square-foot cafe. CGI is also asking for a zoning variance that would allow it to sell alcohol in the cafe.

The Hollywood United Neighborhood Council’s planning and land use management committee is slated to consider the request Thursday night.

Melanie Hughes, who is one of the moderators of the Franklin Village Facebook group, says she’s concerned that the owners are inching the building toward a more hotel-like operation.

CGI did not return a message seeking comment. It had proposed a hotel at the property in 2016, after booting all the tenants using the Ellis Act.

But the neighborhood council shot down the proposal, and CGI withdrew it application, opting instead to turn the building into Airbnb-style rentals with month-to-month leases.

Hughes is a former Villa Carlotta resident. She moved out in 2014 amid escalating tension between residents and the owner.

“They tried to get this three years ago, and then withdrew their application,” Hughes says.

The landmarked Villa Carlotta was built in 1926, and was once home to actress Marion Davies, architect Wallace Neff, director George Cukor (My Fair Lady, A star is Born), and producer David O. Selznick (Gone With the Wind). In later years, it was known for its artsy, bohemian tenants.