Back in 2019, the Central Los Angeles Area Planning Commission was poised to rule on the matter of an appeal targeting a proposed high-rise tower across the street from Downtown's Grand Hope Park.

The homeowners association of the Skyline condominiums on 9th Street had objected to entitlements approved for new apartment tower at 949 S. Hope Street. The core argument of the appeal is that the project application, which was initiated by defunct development firm Forest City, includes land which is the property of the Skyline homeowners. They contend that Forest City, which has since been acquired by Brookfield, did not have the right to transfer floor area rights from their land to facilitate the construction of a high-rise at 949 Hope.

Street-level view of 949 HopeSolomon Cordwell Buenz

The initial hearing five years ago brought no resolution between the warring parties, leading Commissioners to continue discussion of the item to a future meeting. And when the dispute had not been put to bed three months later, it was continued again. And again, and again, until a whopping 20 continuances had accumulated. But at long last, light seems to have appeared at the end of the tunnel.

On February 27, the 21st time the case had gone before the Area Planning Commission, representatives of both the developer and the homeowners association have indicated that they have reached an agreement which would settle the issues raised in the appeal - although the exact details of that agreement were not divulged. However, that agreement must be ratified by the homeowners of the Skyline - many of whom do not reside in the building, and have not been able to cast ballots as of yet. While more than 100 homeowners had been in contact at the time of the meeting, at least 180 must ratify the deal. To allow that to occur, both appellant and applicant requested what was described as a "final" continuance.

While some on the Commission expressed reservations about granting yet another continuance, given the prolonged consideration that had already occurred, the extension of time was ultimately granted. The item is set to return again for a vote on May 28, at which point the homeowners are expected to withdraw the appeal.

Aerial view of 949 HopeSolomon Cordwell Buenz

The proposed project, which was submitted to the city for approval in 2017,  would replace an existing office building with a 27-story tower feature 236 apartments above 6,700 square feet of ground-floor retail space and parking for 179 vehicles. Those apartments are slated to be transient occupancy residential structures, which would permit the use of at least some units as short-term rentals.

Solomon Cordwell Buenz is designing the tower, which would rise 274 feet above street level and include a rooftop and podium-level amenity deck.

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