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April 20, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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April 20, 2000
 

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.L.LL L.  ..... The First Church of Christ, Scientist May Have to Wait for Its Facelift The City, Council and Planning Commission cite several problems with the proposed adaptive re-use project. By Michele Lu The City Council and Planning Commission held a joint meeting on Tuesday to hear a public presentation of the proposed adaptive re-use project at the site of the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Richard Weintraub, a property devel- oper, made an initial proposal to the Planning Commission in December of last year. The adaptive re-use project proposes to convert the existing Church into commercial office space. Weintraub is interested in building a six-story or 65-foot high office and parking structure on the north side of the property. The four-level parking structure would have two levels of subterranean parking consisting of tandem, compact and valet parking spaces. Four levels of office space would be built above the i parking slructurc for a total of six levels above grade. John Reed, the archi- tect of the project, assured the City Council and Planning Comm- ission that efforts were made to preserve the Church. "We would take the existing buildings mean- ing the Church and Sunday school and leave the entire exterior. We are keeping the structure but adding some fenestration," Reed said. Members of both the City Council and Planning Commission expressed many concerns regarding the parking plan, traffic, loading in the valet area, and height of the proposed project. They also questioned whether the plans for changes to the building such as glazing and adding windows would ulti- mately change the Church itself. "What is the value of preserving the Church? We are being asked to raise the height to produce more parking. I agree that it is worthy to save the Church but the question is at what cost'? There is a problem with the ingress and egress of traffic right next to the alley. I question the feasibility of loading in the valet area. The loading zone itself is wholly II IIII Completeb. Bare! Thousand Words Headshot Photography Mention this od and oct 10% off. 310-829-2329 ii 4 Beverly Hills Weekly inadequate. You need additional parking. There is a problem with dissipating traf- fic in the alley to Maple because that is consistent and have not been alleviated," Vicki Reynolds, City Mayor, said. The City Council will appoint two !The City is telling me 'we're not letting you build an economically feasible project but we're also not going to let you build condominiums'.   -- Richard Weintraub where the Lexus dealer is and the proposed hotel will be. It is a highly congested area," Stephen Webb, Planning Commissioner, commented. Members of the joint meeting, howev- er, applauded Mr. Weintraub's effort to save the Church structure. "I think Mr. Weintraub has done an admirable job with trying to save the Church. We would love to see the building retained," City Manager Mark Scott said. The consensus from the City Council and Planning Commission was that there is an interest in adaptive re-use of the Church. They also felt a need for Weintraub and his associates to elicit neighborhood input. "You need an effective way of reach- ing out and getting feedback from resi- dents. I think what we have said here today is a revalidation of what you' ve already heard. The concerns are individuals from the Council and two from the Commission to serve on a sub- committee. According to Webb, the sub- committee will meet with the developer in a public setting to some extent and come up with ways to address the prob- lems. Even so, Weintraub was disap- pointed with the outcome of the meet- ing. "I was very disappointed. I'm in a catch 22. The City is telling me 'we're not letting you build an economically feasible project but we're also not going to let you build condominiums'. The neighbors turned down the idea of senior housing and the City Council rejected the re-use of the building as a school. I would like to be treated no bet- ter and no worse than other projects in the City and I feel that is not happening. I have great respect for the members of the City Council," Weintraub said. I Authentic Brazilian Waxing Specialist Womens' Wax S_tmcial* Full Leg & Bikini ......................................... 30 Full Leg & Brazilian Bikini ........................................................... 35 Underarm & Full Bikini ............................. 25 Mens' Wax Special* Back Shoulder Chest Stomach ........................................... 55 Back & Shoulder ........................................ 35 Full Leg & Full Arm. .................................. 35 *First Time Clients/Incall Only