At their summer meeting on Thursday, August 23, members of the Brookside Homeowners Association welcomed three representatives of CIM – Clyde Wood, Renee Schillaci and Lina Lee – who presented some major changes in the company’s planned redevelopment of the iconic Farmer’s Insurance building at Wilshire and Mullen.
The development project covers two full city blocks formerly owned by Farmer’s, between Rimpau and Muirfield on the south side of Wilshire. In the last major iteration of the project, presented back in 2016, the plans were to create two floors of office space and six floors of condominiums in the historic tower building at Wilshire and Rimpau, as well as 11 new units on the grounds east of the tower (on what is dubbed “Block A” of the project)…while 23 larger residential units would be constructed on the current parking lot block (“Block B”) between Mullen and Muirfield.
After a lengthy discussion process with the community, however, CIM has now unveiled a new site plan, which eliminates the office space in the tower and makes the new development fully residential. Also, Block B will now contain only 16 larger units, instead of the 23 units originally planned for that space.
The total number of units in the development will remain at 87, but by eliminating the office space and reducing the number of homes on Block B, the developers said, they are reducing the overall density, as well as potential traffic, parking issues and other disruptions to the neighborhood.
In greater detail, the project plans now include:
- 63 condominium units in the former office tower
- a two-level below-ground parking podium (which will no longer be automated as in the previous version of the plans) next to the tower
- another 8 townhome units over the parking podium
- a central green, atop the parking podium, with a pool, spa and other amenities
- townhome front doors opening onto the central green
- 10 duplex units on the Wilshire side of the block
- 6 single family homes along the 8th St. side of the block
- home sizes ranging from 3,600 to 4,000 square feet
- only two curb cuts for driveways, one on Mullen and one on Muirfield (the previous plans had four, with two on 8th St.)
- all garage entrances internal (no garages facing the street)
- the units along 8th street will have front doors and stoops facing the street
- variation in architectural styles, including a mix of Tudor Revival, Spanish Revival, and others, to fit with the mix in the larger neighborhood
In response to audience questions after the presentation, the CIM representatives said the project’s units would all be sold at market rate (there are no low income units), and the target market will be “Hancock Park move-down buyers” – more mature residents looking to downsize from larger homes in the area. “These are not condos for millenials,” said Wood. “They are very heavily amenitized.”
Once built, Wood said, the development will also have a homeowners’ association to set various rules and policies, and will likely be managed by a professional condominium management company.
The construction timeline is not yet finalized, but Wood said construction will likely start in 2020, with an approximately 18-month construction phase. And finally, the representatives said, neighbors can now review project details, and keep up with the project’s planning progress, on a new website at http://www.wilshiremullen.com.
In general, neighbors at the meeting seemed happy with the changes so far, which they said do address many previous concerns. Since this presentation dealt with only the site plan, however, there were still some unanswered building design concerns, especially for the east facade of the tower building (which does not have the same Art Deco flavor as the other sides of the building). There are also some lingering traffic questions, but Lee said a new traffic study, based on the new project details, will be done soon and should provide some answers.
In other business on Thursday, Brookside co-president and treasurer Emily Levin announced that a recent 2 1/2 month fundraising effort, to raise money for a private security company car to be dedicated to the neighborhood, fell far short of its $80,000 goal. Funds that were collected are now being returned to those who donated. “We tried our best,” Levin said, but – in the end – too few households contributed.
Finally, there was a also an update on planning for the neighborhood’s 10th annual movie night in Memorial Library Park, which will likely be held in late September or early October. Current plans are for the popular event, which has traditionally included a barbecue and then a variety of vintage silent short films (many shot in our local neighborhoods), to move into the modern era this year, with a few short films and then a more recent family-friendly feature such as “Back to the Future.” More details about the event will be available as plans develop.