Champion Real Estate Company has cleared a hurdle in its bid to build new apartments in University Park, with an action taken earlier today by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.

In a unanimous vote, the Commission voted to reject an appeal by the North University Park Community Association seeking to block the construction of a four-story apartment building with more than 102 five-bedroom dwellings at the corner of West Adams Boulevard and Severance Street.

The organization had argued that Champion's project would have had an adverse impact on surrounding historic properties.  The project site, long the site of the John Tracy Clinic, is not located within the University Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, but sits across the street from its southern boundary.

Architecture firm MVE + Partners already redesigned the proposed apartment complex earlier this year, discarding an original modern exterior for one which incorporates elements of the Craftsman homes common to the University Park neighborhood.

Additionally, the project appellant argued that the planned 259 parking stalls are insufficient for expected demand due to the large number of bedrooms planned, and also contended that the garage should be located fully below ground.

A staff report disputed the assertions of the North University Park Community Association, and recommended denial - an opinion with which Commissioners agreed.

A second appeal, brought forth by the developer, sought to overturn an earlier Zoning Administrator’s determination to deny the project.  After revisions to the building design, including the removal of metal screens along the ground-floor and better integrating its exterior with the surrounding community, the Zoning Administrator has reversed its earlier opinion, and now believes that the project is compatible with surrounding uses.  Commissioners voted to overturn the appeal.

Champion acquired the 806 W. Adams site from the John Tracy Clinic last year.  The clinic, officially an education center for children with hearing loss, was founded by the wife of actor Spencer Tracy, and named in honor of their son.