Update on Farmers project at Ebell

| July 2, 2015 | 0 Comments
ONE OF MANY artist's renderings to be unveiled at the July 8 meeting.

ONE OF MANY artist’s renderings to be unveiled at the July 8 meeting.

The public is invited to see revised plans for the new residential development proposed for the former Farmers Insurance property along Wilshire Blvd. between Rimpau and Muirfield. The site includes the existing seven-story tower and two large parking lots. The meeting is at The Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne, on Wed., July 8, at 8 p.m.

Density being reduced

The new plans reduce the number of units by 25 percent – from 119 units to 89 or fewer. CIM Group, the property’s owner, is presenting its revised plans at the invitation of the Brookside Homeowners Association and Hancock Park Homeowners Association.

According to Shaul Kuba, CIM co-founder and principal, the developers have been working diligently to address views expressed by Brookside residents at a January meeting and subsequently redesigned much of the proposed new development, which includes about 50 new residential units in the existing tower, plus 35 new homes on the parking lots between the tower and Muirfield. These units will include 15 single-family homes and nine triplex homes, each with its own two-car garage (plus 11 town homes immediately adjacent to the tower).

Opportunities to downsize

Although the new homes and condos will range in size from about 1,500 to 3,600 square feet, these units are considerably smaller than many nearby homes in Hancock Park and elsewhere in Greater Wilshire, Kuba noted. “We believe that our new homes and condominiums also will appeal to seniors who own extremely large houses and would like to downsize but still reside in this wonderful residential neighborhood,” he said.

Private two-car garages

A preliminary rendering provided by CIM shows the view southeast from the center of Wilshire and Muirfield. In the background is the existing Farmers tower on Rimpau, and in the foreground are the three triplex buildings with three homes each, for a total of nine units. These three buildings fill the Wilshire frontage of the entire block between Muirfield and Mullen. By contrast, said Kuba, another developer’s new condominium project now commencing sales across Wilshire, on the northeast corner of Rimpau, has 12 units on a parcel with less frontage than CIM allots for its nine units.

Complies with Park Mile

Kuba says that CIM asked both its original residential architects at Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh of Santa Monica and its added architects at Bassenian Lagoni of Newport Beach to address the concerns of neighbors and to make an even more attractive project completely compliant with restrictions of the Park Mile Specific Plan. Kuba says that a dialogue with attendees will follow the July 8 presentation to get neighbors’ reactions to the changes made since January.

Early neighbor concerns

After a June 18 meeting where CIM previewed its in-progress drawings for several neighbors, Jan Wieringa, who lives across Eighth St. from the existing Farmers parking lots, expressed concern over the proposed new designs. Wieringa said, “It is my opinion that we must make sure Brookside’s friendly neighborhood character is preserved.” She added: “neighbors should turn out for the meeting on July 8 and decide for themselves what they want and how they want to engage with CIM.”

Also attending the June 18 preview was Owen Smith, Brookside president. Smith observed that “one neighbor who saw the preliminary revised plans has concerns about the park proposed for Eighth St. at Mullen Avenue, and I think those concerns are very legitimate. Perhaps that area could be added to the swimming pool area so that it is not available to Brookside residents or be redesigned to not encourage vagrant campouts.”

Another concern, says Smith, is the garage design for the seven proposed large single-family residences along Eighth St. “The old plan, from January, had the garage openings in the back, with cars entering and exiting either on Mullen or via two driveways on Muirfield. At the January meeting, some of the Muirfield residents said they thought that there should be only the northern driveway.” Smith continued that “CIM revised its plans accordingly. The garages on Eighth were flipped, and the southern exit from the new homes was eliminated to satisfy the Muirfield concerns. But now there is objection from a neighbor across Eighth. This is a detail to review.”

The CIM presentation to neighbors will take place immediately following the regularly scheduled July 8 Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council meeting, also at The Ebell.

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