Plans for a Frank Gehry-designed development near the Sunset Strip were approved earlier today by the Los Angeles City Council, following a contentious process which resulted in significant alterations to the $300-million proposal.

Slated for a 2.5-acre property at 8150 Sunset Boulevard, the project would consist of 191 market rate apartments, 38 units of workforce and affordable housing and approximately 65,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.  Renderings have portrayed the development with two mid-rise buildings, which could rise to a maximum height of 178 feet above grade.

The approved plan represents a slight reduction from developer Townscape Partners' original vision for the site, which had called for an extra 20 units and a maximum building height of 234 feet.  However, the reductions in density and height were ironed out following 4th District Councilmember David Ryu's criticism of the project.  The revised plan quelled the opposition of both the Laurel Canyon Association and the City of West Hollywood, although other appellants continue to object.

One of the more controversial elements of the project is the future of the Lytton Savings Building, which occupies a portion of the the 8150 sunset property.  Although the Kurt Meyer-designed bank had been nominated for monument status, it is not expected to be preserved in Townscape's development.  Acknowledging that several of his own buildings had been demolished at the end of their useful lives, Gehry vowed to honor Meyer through the revised design.

Ryu, who ultimately voted in favor of the project, issued a statement which described the approved plan as the result of an imperfect compromise.  He noted that the project had decreased in overall density while simultaneously increasing the total amount of affordable housing, then went on to criticize the City's application of the California State density bonus law.  The density bonus law, otherwise known as SB1818, allows additional height and residential units on a project-by-project basis in exchange for providing affordable housing.  

8150 Sunset recently became the first development in Los Angeles County to be designated a California Environmental Leadership Development Project, which applies to projects which meet various sustainability standards and are budgeted at $100 million or greater.  This designation ensures that environmental lawsuits against the project will proceed more swiftly than otherwise.