JMBM Development Rights: GLUEE Goes Hollywood!

They’re putting up our name in lights at Hollywood & Vine! Not really, but certainly symbolically. Over the last three years, the Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Department (GLUEE) at JMBM has represented almost every major developer building projects at or near the four corners of Hollywood & Vine, one of the world’s most recognizable addresses. Most recently we were able to assist our client, The Clarett Group, in obtaining Los Angeles City Council approval for its landmark development immediately adjacent to the famed Pantages Theater.

BLVD6200

Named for its address on Hollywood Boulevard, BLVD6200 will be an exciting mixed-use development situated on both sides of the avenue just east of the historic Pantages. When completed the $400 million project will encompass 1,000 apartment units as well as retail and dining venues. Although BLVD6200 will incorporate 2,696 parking spaces within its walls, The Clarett Group believes its proximity to a Metro Red Line station will be a major attraction for the many young professionals which it hopes to attract as tenants. Ten percent of the project’s units will be allocated to affordable housing. BLVD6200 is the most ambitious, privately financed, large-scale development in Hollywood. The project is being built on property leased for 99 years from the Nederlander Organization, Inc., which owns several venues for live performances, including the Pantages. The theater opened as an Art Deco outpost in Hollywood in 1930. It served as a combined live theater and movie palace and from 1949-59 was the site of the Academy Awards. It received a $10 million restoration in 2000.

Named as one of New York City’s top 15 real estate development companies, The Clarett Group is recognized for its high-quality residential and mixed-use developments in metropolitan New York and Washington D.C.

The company expects to break ground on BLVD6200 in early 2008.

GLUEE represented Clarett throughout all of its negotiations with local Hollywood neighborhood interest groups, the Los Angeles City Planning Department, Community Redevelopment Agency and the City Council to obtain the necessary entitlements for this important project which will anchor the eastern edge of Hollywood Boulevard’s renaissance.

Other significant Tinsel Town projects in which our group is involved include:

The Broadway Building:

GLUEE represented The Kor Group in negotiating entitlements allowing the conversion of what had been the historic Broadway Department store on the southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine into 96 luxury condominiums. The 10-story building, that had been vacant for years, first opened in 1927. Kor’s conversion also incorporated a 1939-era eight-story building next door, to which it added two stories. The Broadway’s loft style units range from 900 to 2,000 square feet with finished kitchens and bathrooms. Most of the condominiums have been sold at prices in the $500,000 to $600,000 range

W Hotel:

The Southeast corner of Hollywood & Vine will be the location of the area’s first five-star hotel to be built in many generations. Gatehouse Capital Corp. has received approval to construct a 300-room W Hotel along with 150 luxury condominiums on the site. The condos will be serviced by the hotel and its staff. Also to be incorporated into the $500 million project will be a restaurant, spa, fitness facility and roof-top bar. Adding to the excitement of the overall project will be 375 high-end apartments with supportive ground floor retail being built by Legacy Partners. GLUEE first represented the capital partner which provided equity for the W Hotel and condominiums and then represented the developer in negotiating signage rights for the high-profile site.

7060 Hollywood Boulevard:

GLUEE initially represented Alliance Realty which purchased this 13-story office building intending to convert it into a residential and commercial condominium project. We were successful in obtaining Los Angeles city approval for the adaptive reuse of the building, at which time the owners sold the property to The LeFrak Organization, a major New York based real estate development firm founded in 1901. LeFrak has decided to completely retrofit the building maintaining it as an office facility. GLUEE continues to work with the company on obtaining entitlements to expand the project’s ground floor and secure signage rights.

Yucca & Argyle:

Our client purchased a Class “C” office building on the northeast corner of Yucca and Argyle streets in Hollywood with the intent to demolish the property and build a contemporary condominium development on the site. The proposed project will be 15 stories including 11 floors containing 87 residential units and four floors of above ground parking. There will also be two levels of underground parking. A fitness center will be incorporated at street level.

Los Angeles’ First Condominium Hotel Approved

The GLUEE team was instrumental in gaining Los Angeles City Council approval for The Emhurst, the Southland’s first true condominium hotel.

Groundbreaking for the 242-room property located on the corner of 7th Street and Hobart Avenue in Koreatown was held on October 31st. In addition to condominiumizing all of its guest rooms, The Emhurst is designed as a totally self-contained live/work environment. Incorporated within the walls of its two 16 and 21-story towers are retail stores and restaurants, as well as a health club and office facilities. The objective of the Korean American developers is to attract Korean-based companies whose executives travel regularly between Seoul and Los Angeles.

Focusing on Downtown

Ben Reznik and his GLUEE team have been an integral part of a pioneering effort to build rental housing in downtown Los Angeles. For the past eight years, they have worked closely with Geoff Palmer and his firm to build over 3,000 multifamily housing units in the areas immediately adjacent to the Harbor (110) freeway. These apartments are incorporated in the Medici, Visconti and Orsini projects. The first two phases of the Orsini have been completed and GLUEE is in negotiations with the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency for the construction of the third phase of the project.

Palmer has also purchased the site of the now closed Orthopaedic Hospital on South Flower Street, near USC, where he intends to build 1,000 apartment units. GLUEE is currently working on entitlements for this development.

All told, Palmer has plans on the drawing boards for another 1,500 multifamily units in downtown, bringing the total to over 4,500!

GLUEE Covers the Westside

Los Angeles isn’t the only city in which we ply our trade. Currently we’re actively involved in projects in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Westwood.

Beverly Hills:

JMBM continues to provide land use counsel to Candy & Candy, owners and developers of 9900 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. As discussed in detail in our last issue of Development Rights, our firm played a pivotal role in the $500 million acquisition of the high profile site which formerly housed the flagship Robinsons-May department store at the western gateway to Beverly Hills. We are working closely with local Beverly Hills law firms in undertaking EIR work, securing plan amendments and otherwise providing land use and real estate counsel. Subject to the approval of the Beverly Hills City Council, 9900 Wilshire will contain 252 luxurious and environmentally responsible condominium residences contained within two mid-rise buildings and two four-story loft buildings.

Santa Monica:

GLUEE has been retained by the purchaser of the Santa Monica Studios site on the north side of Olympic Boulevard just west of Bundy Drive. The developer has plans to build a mixed-use project incorporating 600 units of workforce housing.

Westwood:

Currently under construction on what was formerly a parking lot belonging to the Westwood United Methodist Church is a new Belmont Village. The six-story assisted living facility will be the fifth to be built by the Texas-based company in the Los Angeles area and the third to be entitled by JMBM’s GLUEE Department. The newest project is situated directly next to the church between Warner and Holmby avenues on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood. When completed, Belmont Village will contain 118 assisted living units and 54 independent living units with appropriate support facilities for its senior population. The first phase of construction involves the building of a 274-car, 3.5-level subterranean garage to replace the church’s previous parking and to accommodate Belmont Village residents, guests and employees.

Benjamin M. Reznik is chairman of the Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Department at JMBM. Contact him at BMR@jmbm.com.