Silver Lake Hipsters, Developers Approaching Detente Over Density at Sunset Junction

Is this monstrous thing about to go up across from Sunset Junction? Or will a peace deal see the land sold to Flea's music school?EXPAND
Is this monstrous thing about to go up across from Sunset Junction? Or will a peace deal see the land sold to Flea's music school?

It's wintertime and development is in the air in Silver Lake, America's hippest neighborhood (according to Forbes, circa 2012). The rent is sky-high, so proposals for apartment buildings are popping up faster than $5 espresso shops. 

Perhaps most controversial are three mixed-use projects proposed by Frost/Chaddock Developers: a four-story,122-unit building on the north side of Sunset Boulevard at the defunct Bates Motel; a five-story, 91-unit building at the site of 4100 Bar, just west of the Jiffy Lube; and a five-story, 81-unit building just east of Jiffy Lube and facing Sunset Junction — ground zero for all that is cool in L.A. (circa 2012).

The projects are known, collectively, as Junction Gateway. They've led to much hand-wringing over increased traffic, decreased parking, densification, the neighborhood changing (even more) and the possibility that residents might sue to stop them. But now a peace deal is in the works that may allow two of the three projects to go through without a lawsuit.

Community opposition, voiced by Neighborhood Council members including Christine Kantner — who owns the small complex that bears the semi-official Sunset Junction sign and contains Intelligentsia Coffee, Cheese Store of Silver Lake and Cafe Stella — has focused on the third building, slated to go up right across from those businesses at Sunset and Sanborn Avenue. 

An offer is now on the table in which the nonprofit Silverlake Conservatory of Music next door to Intelligentsia (and founded by Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) would buy that third property from Frost/Chaddock, thus averting a lawsuit. 

"The discussions have been constructive," says Ari Bessendorf, an attorney representing the music conservatory. "We hope to come to an agreement."

Both sides indicate that a deal is close, and that the two parties are perhaps $1 million or $2 million apart.

The most likely scenario is that Frost/Chaddock would sell the land for a little more than it paid — $5.5 million — in exchange for a promise that it won't be sued by activists over the other two buildings.

If, for whatever reason, the other two parts of the Junction Gateway project aren't approved by the city, the sale to the conservancy wouldn't go through. 

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