Luxury hotel proposal pits celebrities against celebrities in Benedict Canyon

Luxury hotel proposal pits celebrities against celebrities in Benedict Canyon

A proposal to construct a luxurious resort in a swanky, wooded enclave of Benedict Canyon has pitted a few of L.A.’s largest deal makers, film executives and celebrities in opposition to one another in a pitched battle over the way forward for one in every of L.A.’s costliest neighborhoods.

The Beverly Hills-adjacent website of the upscale resort mission — in a neighborhood the place house costs vary from $3 million to $100 million — is the 33-acre former house of billionaire businessman Kirk Kerkorian. The property was offered in 2015 for $19 million.

A planning committee assembly is scheduled for Tuesday to make a preliminary choice on the zoning change wanted to construct a industrial mission within the residential space. If it clears that hurdle, a closing approval can be required from the Los Angeles Metropolis Council someday within the subsequent few months.

On one aspect of the feud is Gary Safady, an actual property developer and film producer, who’s proposing a resort mission with 58 visitor rooms and suites, plus eight personal residences, a ten,000-square-foot spa, a gymnasium, a personal theater and an eight-seat sushi bar, together with a restaurant. Among the many mission supporters, in accordance with letters written on behalf of the mission, are actors Mark Wahlberg, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Gerard Butler, Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody and Jon Lovitz, plus rock musician Gene Simmons. The celebrities or their representatives couldn’t be reached for remark.

A number of hundred neighbors have signed testimonials in opposition to Safady’s mission, together with such notables as Doorways guitarist Robby Krieger, tv host Phil McGraw and actors Jaqueline Bisset and Stefanie Powers. The neighborhood — shaded in oak, sycamore and willow timber — is peppered with indicators decrying the resort mission.

“The considered a resort right here terrifies me,” Bisset wrote in a letter to metropolis officers that included the names of tons of of different opponents. “Primarily due to the rise potential for fireplace [and] vehicles blocking the few streets we will escape on.”

Opponents created an internet site, Supporters launched

Opponents say they’re being outspent by Safady in his marketing campaign to win Metropolis Corridor assist for the mission.

Safady has invested practically $2 million on Metropolis Corridor lobbyists, in accordance with metropolis disclosure data. Opponents have employed a Metropolis Corridor lobbyist and a authorized agency, spending not less than $74,000 on lobbying actions at Metropolis Corridor, in accordance with metropolis data.

“It’s ironic that we who’ve some means are put within the David position on this David-and-Goliath story,” stated Mark Levin, a author, director and producer of tv reveals and flicks who opposes the mission and lives adjoining to the proposed resort website on West Oak Move Street.

The mission was initially proposed in 2018 with 99 rooms and branded “The Retreat.” It has since been revised with fewer rooms and dubbed “The Bulgari Resort.”

If accomplished, it will be one in every of eight current resorts operated by a hospitality agency below LVMH, a French holding firm created by the merger of style home Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy. The utmost occupancy of the resort can be 715 folks, together with 130 staff per shift, in accordance with metropolis data.

The critics of the mission complain in regards to the potential site visitors and noise, particularly if the resort have been to host weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and different social occasions.

Benedict Canyon Drive is already closely used as a substitute for the 405 Freeway between the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles. Including a resort to the neighborhood would solely worsen the site visitors complications, opponents say.

“A resort by no means goes to sleep,” stated Robert Mann, an lawyer who has lived within the canyon for 35 years and has helped lead the opposition. “You’ll have folks coming out and in 24 hours a day.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Cristina Colissimo and Robert Mann, residents of Benedict Canyon, level out the residential space the place a luxurious resort has been proposed on the positioning of a mansion beforehand owned by businessman and billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Instances)

“We’re containing issues on website as a lot as potential, making the resort appear to mix in with the surroundings,” Safady stated in an interview.

If the mission will get a inexperienced gentle from the Metropolis Council, the development would generate a cacophony of chainsaws, bulldozers and cement vehicles for practically ten years, Mann stated.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who represents the neighborhood on the Metropolis Council, has voiced opposition to the mission, as have main mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso.

“The mission’s hillside location, measurement, peak, operations, and different important options won’t be appropriate with and can adversely have an effect on or additional degrade adjoining properties, the encompassing neighborhood, and public well being, welfare, and security,” Koretz stated in a 2021 movement that the council’s land use committee is predicted to contemplate Tuesday.

Regardless of the opposition to the mission by influential elected officers, opponents of the resort mission say they will’t be too assured that the Metropolis Council will kill the proposal.

“With what builders have been capable of get away with on this city, how can we relaxation?” stated Cristina Colissimo, a producer and director of documentary movies who lives close to the proposed resort.

In response to criticism from opponents, Safady stated his mission compares favorably with the close by swanky Resort Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Resort, two bigger upscale resorts that draw extra guests than would the Bulgari and are every positioned on solely 12 acres of land.

“I’m not right here to mislead anybody to say we are going to by no means have occasions, however these might be curated occasions, a lot smaller in measurement and far totally different, and all parking might be positioned on website,” he stated.

As for the timber that might be eliminated to finish the mission, Safady stated his mission will change the eliminated timber on a 4-to-1 foundation.

“We now have technical consultants engaged on it to make it a bespoke eco-luxury resort with houses,” he stated.

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