The East Hollywood Target Project is back. And, uh, it looks almost exactly the same (and is requesting the exact same entitlements) as it did when it first reared its head back in 2009. The main change this time around is that City Planning and Target have prepared a full blown Environmental Impact Report, instead of the Mitigated Negative Declaration that the parties previously prepared. The questions remains though, will an EIR be enough to scare off Target’s litigious neighbors and finally get this project moving?
Item 4 (APCC-2008-2703-SPE-CUB-SPP-SPR) at Tuesday's Central Area Planning Commission Meeting is the consideration of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Target Shopping Center project proposed for the corner of Sunset and Western (5520 Sunset Boulevard) in East Hollywood; as well as a number of discretionary approval requests, including several exceptions from the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan, a Site Plan Review, and a Conditional Use Permit for alcohol.
The Target Shopping Center project proposes to construct a 163,862 square foot Target store along with 30,887 square feet of other smaller retail, food, and associated uses in a 3-level (and up to 84 feet high) building. The first floor of the building would have retail (along both Sunset and Western) while the Target store itself would be located on the structure's third level. A total of 458 automobile parking spaces would be provided in two parking levels, on ground floor and one above ground.
Per the City Planning Department Staff Report (.pdf), the Target Shopping Center project is requesting:
- Certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report
- Relief from the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan requirement to provide free delivery of purchases made at the site by residents living in the Specific Plan Area.
- Relief to allow a maximum building height of 84 feet above grade in lieu of the maximum permitted building height of 35 feet.
- Relief to permit Target to provide 458 parking spaces in lieu of the maximum 390 parking spaces allowed by the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan.
- Relief from various portions of the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan's Development Standards and Design Guidelines, including (1) an allowance for the entrance canopy and balconies, which are to be located within 15 feet of the property line along Sunset Avenue, to exceed the maximum permitted height of 30 feet; (2) relief from the requirement that the second floors along Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue be setback a minimum of ten feet from the first floor frontage; (3) relief to permit transparent building elements such as windows and doors to occupy approximately 24% of the ground floor façade along St. Andrews Place in lieu of the minimum 50% building transparency otherwise required; (4) an exemption from the requirement that all roof lines in excess of 40 feet must be broken up through the use of gables, dormers, cut-outs or other means; and, (5) relief from the allowable hours of operation in order to allow store deliveries between the hours of 5AM and 12AM Monday through Sunday.
- Approval of a Conditional Use to permit the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption.
- Approval of a Project Permit Compliance with the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan.
- Approval of a Site Plan Review for a project that results in an increase of 50,000 gross square feet or more of nonresidential floor area and a net increase of over 1,000 average daily trips.
City Planning Department Staff is recommending the project be approved, with one minor change: That Target only be permitted to build to a maximum building height of 74 feet instead of the maximum building height of 84 feet that Target requested.
As this project is essentially the same project as was presented before, my criticisms of the project (and of City Planning) remain the same as I wrote in this post back in June 2010. Short version, for those who don’t like clicking links, is that the project (1) should not exceed 35 feet in height unless it is a mixed use residential and commercial building, (2) should be required to make it parking subterranean instead of above ground, and (3) should be only be permitted a maximum of 390 parking spaces so as to encourage as many customers as possible to bike, walk, or take transit to the store.
After this project was withdrawn in August 2010, I wrote that I hoped that Target would go back to the drawing board and design a building that better fit the goals, objectives, and vision of the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan. Target didn’t, so here we are stuck with the same ill-designed and ill-though-out project. This could have been a nice project if City Planning had stood firm for its own Specific Plan, and made Target hew to its terms. This is looking like a huge missed opportunity, as an thoughtful, innovative, and pedestrian friendly, building on this corner could be catalytic for East Hollywood and help drive the neighborhood to the next level.
Update: The Central Area Planning Commission approved (.pdf) the East Hollywood Target project, with the changes recommended by City Planning Department staff in the City Planning Department Staff Report (.pdf).