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Developer Rick Caruso has embarked on another high-end residential and retail project at 8500 Burton Way, and hopes to spur an economic upturn in the area.
The project includes 88 luxury apartments to be built over ground–floor retail space, which will include a Trader Joe’s market. The project will replace a used car dealership at the corner of San Vicente Boulevard and Burton Way, and contrary to a report in the Los Angeles Times that a groundbreaking was held on Tuesday, work had been underway at the site since last month, according to representatives of Caruso Affiliated. The project was approved approximately two years ago under former 5th District City Councilmember Jack Weiss, and is supported by current 5th District Councilmember Paul Koretz. Other nearby organizations that also support the development include the Burton Way Homeowners Association and the Mid-City West Community Council (MCWCC).
“It seems like the project has the support of many community organizations and people seem excited about having a Trader Joe’s coming into the neighborhood,” Koretz said. “I didn’t have a role in the approval of the project, but it generally seems like a good project and seems pretty non-controversial. I live in the neighborhood and will enjoy shopping at the Trader Joe’s.”
The $60 million, eight-story project is expected to be completed by early fall 2012. The residential units will feature numerous amenities and 24-hour concierge service, and residents will have VIP access to events held at The Grove.
“Residences at 8500 Burton Way will offer stunning views, will be equipped with all the latest technologies, and provide premier service which is a hallmark of Caruso, creating an appealing lifestyle option,” said Paul Kurzawa, COO of Caruso Affiliated. “It is also gratifying that our project is creating jobs when so many people are out of work and providing a much needed boost to the local economy through the creation of new tax revenues.”
Harald Hahn, the president of the Burton way Homeowners Association, said members of his organization are looking forward to the project’s completion.
“We don’t have a market anywhere near in our neighborhood since the Ralphs closed down at the Beverly Connection, and that will be a benefit to our community,” Hahn said. “I see no objection to a residential project there. It certainly has taken away an eyesore, the building architecturally looks vey nice, and it should be a benefit.”
Jeff Jacobberger, chair of the MCWCC, added that the council also voted in favor of the project. He said the neighborhood council had asked some additional landscaping around the site, which the developer agreed to install.
“For a long time it was a used car lot, and I think an attractive development like that is much better than a used car lot,” Jacobberger said. “It will be eight-stories, but at the location, a little height is not inappropriate. The size of the project was not particularly controversial with the neighborhood council.”
Jacobberger added that the council did not believe the traffic generated from the project would cause many problems because the project will be located at the convergence of three major thoroughfares.
“People would be on Burton Way, San Vicente or La Cienega, and won’t be cutting through neighborhoods,” Jacobberger added. “Because of the way those streets are configured, it shouldn’t be an issue.”
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I fought the 8500 Burton Way project, as did the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association. What was there was a small triangular lot, being used as a luxury car lot for BMW’s with 2 small low-lying fashion billboards, by no means an eyesore. There was a height limit of 45 ft on that lot. The city approved a building double the height. You’ll notice that the rendering does not show nearby buildings and uses a certain perspective to make the lot seem larger. This small triangular lot is bordered by Colgate Ave and LeDoux Rd. That block of LeDoux has small apartment buildings, and those residents will be staring at a tall wall with no setbacks, as well as suffering the traffic and parking problems of a supermarket and all the new units. A Trader Joe’s is already coming into the Gilmore project at 3rd and Fairfax, which is a quick drive away. If the council office wanted a supermarket near this location, it would have been appropriate at the Beverly Connection which has tons of parking and can accomodate the traffic. This new supermarket will have no loading dock, and the city approved long trucks for it, which can load and unload on Colgate during rushhour. The planner opposed these long trucks because they will have trouble making the turns at the residential streets, but the city approved them anyway. In my opinion, this project also has insufficient parking for a Trader Joe’s, which is notorious for parking problems. This project is not only out of scale with the residential buildings on LeDoux, but also with most of the nearby buildings on La Cienega. Once it is built, all the other owners will tear down and ask for the same or taller heights. The owner of this project also owns the Loehmann’s property to the north, so he will likely ask for taller heights on that lot. The domino effect will be a corridor of tall buildings on LaCienega with the accompanying traffic, yet completely inadequate public transit. I am concerned that this project will contain billboards in all of the street level windows that you see in the rendering. Even though this project was approved by Jack Weiss, my recollection was that Mr. Koretz was given the opportunity to hold it back prior to the full city council vote on it (as the incoming councilman), and he chose to allow it through. I disagree with Mr. Jacobberger re: the traffic impacts, as well as some of his other views re: this project.
Feel free to edit my remarks for publication, so long as you note that they have been edited for brevity.