The empty Sunset Gordon tower, a symbol of the legal battles often waged over high-rise developments in Hollywood, is cleared to reopen after the project was reapproved earlier today by the Los Angeles City Council.
The 22-story building, named for its location at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gordon Street, was completed by CIM Group in 2015. But while it provides 299 apartments in a tight rental market - in addition to 38,000 square feet of office space, 7,700 square feet of ground-floor retail, and structured parking for 428 vehicles - the building has been vacant since 2015, after California's 2nd District Court of Appeal invalidated the project's approvals, finding that CIM Group had not adhered to a condition that a 1920s building that previously housed an Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant be preserved. The developer had instead demolished the one-story structure and recreated it after concluding that the historic structure was too badly damaged to save.
Following the court order to empty the building, CIM Group has spent the ensuing three years completing a new environmental impact report for the project. The revised development will now set aside 45 apartments as affordable housing, a component that was not part of the original plan reports the Los Angeles Times.
Nonetheless, the project will continue to face threats of legal opposition from the Coalition to Preserve L.A., an organization affiliated with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that frequently opposes new development in Los Angeles. Preserve L.A. appealed the Sunset Gordon development to the City Planning Commission earlier this year, and submitted documents arguing that the project's environmental impact report underestimates its impacts on traffic congestion to the City Council today. The Times reports that a lawsuit may follow.
The vote by the City Council today will also clear the way for the reopening of a pocket park built next to the tower by CIM Group, which was also closed following the Appellate Court ruling in 2015.
While Sunset Gordon was substantially taller than its surroundings at the time of its completion, surrounding blocks have since yielded a pair of mid-rise office towers that have both been leased to the streaming company Netflix.
- Sunset Gordon Archive (Urbanize LA)