The Los Angeles City Council voted last week to approve the Ivar Gardens project, a 21-story, 232-foot-tall hotel on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, between Cahuenga Boulevard and Ivar Avenue.
The building will replace a Jack in the Box restaurant that currently occupies the space at 6407 Sunset Blvd. The site will include 1,900 square feet of retail space and 135 parking spaces in a four-level subterranean garage.
The project became controversial after an ad campaign by Unite Here Local 11 – a labor union that represents more than 23,000 hospitality workers in hotels, restaurants, universities and convention centers – attacked an executive of the developer, R.D. Olson Development, for being anti-LGBT.
Bill Wilhelm, president of R.D. Olson Development’s construction branch, had been linked to Legatus, a Christian fundamentalist group with ties to organizations that support conversion therapy for LGBT children and the criminalization of abortion and repeal of marriage equality. Wilhelm resigned from Legatus in May, writing in a letter that “some of Legatus’ beliefs regarding sexual orientation and women’s rights do not represent my own.”
The ad campaign, “Keep Hollywood Queer,” included posters on bus benches in Hollywood that read “No Homophobia.”
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, said earlier this year, when the project was under consideration by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, that “there has been nothing homophobic about R.D. Olson’s approach.”
“My record reflects that I believe in fair wages and good working conditions, but as a gay man, I am extremely disappointed that Unite Here has sought to drive a wedge within my community in this way,” he said in a statement in May.
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