Steve Allen Teardown Brings 3rd New Development

Proposed to replace the Steve Allen Theater and the Center for Inquiry are three buildings, a mix of triplexes and multi-story single-family homes with 21 units total and 43 parking spots.

Proposed to replace the Steve Allen Theater and the Center for Inquiry are three buildings, a mix of triplexes and multi-story single-family homes with 21 units total and 43 parking spots.

A short stretch of Hollywood Boulevard near Barnsdall Art Park is being planned for three housing complexes.

Come this summer, the Center For Inquiry-Los Angeles at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. and the Steve Allen Theater, which it houses, will be torn down to make way for what’s known as a “small lot subdivision”—a series of detached townhouses built in close proximity to one another on a single lot—joining controversial developments City Lights and Olive Hill, both less than a mile away.

Proposed for the site are three buildings, a mix of triplexes and multi-story single-family homes with 21 units total and 43 parking spots.

At a February 22nd Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC) Meeting, members of the board expressed concern that the proposed development offered no affordable housing, but ultimately voted to draft a letter in support of the project.

However, according to Paul Garry, a representative for developers PH/T&T, individual units would be sold, not rented. Additionally, the project would not require any zoning changes, exempting it from affordable housing requirements.

When asked whether the LFNC had considered the traffic impact of yet another development on already congested Hollywood Boulevard, LFNC President Luke Klipp said that while the council always considers traffic and density issues for individual developments, he couldn’t speak to the combined effect of the three developments, as one of them—Olive Hill—is outside of the LFNC’s boundaries.

Amit Itelman, who founded the Steve Allen Theater in 2003, said he understands why someone would want to build housing in the scenic neighborhood, which allows views of both Barnsdall Art Park and Griffith Park.

However, he said, “One of the reasons why I think this neighborhood is unique is the theater, so it’s a shame that people will want to move to an interesting neighborhood, but they’re going to lose one of the things that makes it interesting.”

Meanwhile, about ½ mile away, the City Lights development would bring 202 apartments to the three-point intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Hillhurst and Vermont avenues.

Developers Chandler Pratt and Hollyhill, who are behind similar projects in Glendale, North Hollywood and San Jose, have received city approval for the project, despite an initial struggle with the LFNC regarding its appearance.

Neighbors called early designs “obscene” and “cookie cutter,” arguing the intersection should have a more “historical” look.

Although developers met with local architects at one point, the final plans look nearly identical to those presented two years ago.

The LFNC wrote a letter of conditional support for that project in June of 2015, requesting the building have a “vintage” look and improved signals for pedestrians.

Also, on Hollywood Boulevard, mere blocks away from the proposed Steve Allen project, developer Cen Fed, LTD has proposed Olive Hill, a residential development on the boulevard’s south side between Kenmore Avenue and Edgemont Street, according to Los Angeles City Planning Commission records.

The proposal calls for the demolition of several existing buildings—including 23 single-family and multiple-unit residences, a nightclub, a warehouse and a medical office—to make way for a six-story, mixed-used development containing 200 units, 40 of them set aside for low-income residents.

Developers initially proposed a height of 83 feet for Olive Hill. However, following concerns the development would block views from Barndsdall Art Park’s historic Hollyhock House, jeopardizing a prestigious nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage list, city planners have since recommended Olive Hill be capped at 63 feet and four stories, reducing the number of units to 113, 20 of them affordable.

According to Hollyhock Curator Jeffrey Herr, he is now reviewing the revised plans for the Olive Hill development and evaluating how they will affect the historic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house.

“[W]hile developers and the city would like to divide the impact into adverse impact and no impact, there’s nothing that has no impact,” said Herr.

According to PHT&T’s Garry, the small lot subdivision planned for the Steve Allen Theater site would not be visible from the Hollyhock House.

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