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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Condos OKd at restaurant site

July 26, 2008|David Zahniser

The City Council on Friday approved both a 23-story condominium tower on the site of the vacant Spaghetti Factory restaurant in Hollywood and two billboard-sized signs on the building's south and west sides.

The 305-unit project was approved despite objections from critics who argued that it had received too many exceptions to the city's planning and zoning rules, such as the location of the "supergraphics" -- signs to be stretched across vinyl on part of the building's exterior.

The council simultaneously approved a higher density for the project and fewer parking spaces. Although the city's code would have required 512 spaces, the developer was allowed to build 416, according to a report prepared for the council.

"This project is drastically under-parked," said neighborhood activist Ziggy Kruse. "This area already has a recognized critical parking shortage."

Councilman Ed Reyes described the project as part of a larger effort to persuade residents to walk to stores and restaurants instead of using their cars. "This is a change in our culture," he said.

Sunset and Gordon Investors LLC, which is developing the project, will receive more than $13 million in city financial help to build the project, which will include a park, restaurants and offices.

The developer intends to preserve the Spaghetti Factory building, which was built in 1924 and originally housed an auto dealership. Craig Lawson, a lobbyist for the developer, said that the project would provide Hollywood with much-needed office space and that his client has a track record of building residential projects with "outstanding design" in Los Angeles.

Friday's vote comes two weeks after the council voted to approve a 16-story residential tower in Hollywood next to the Capitol Records building. Construction is already underway on the multi-story W Hotel at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

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