By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board met virtually on Wednesday, May 12, to discuss two proposed projects in the neighborhood: the final review of both The Shade Store and a partial demolition of an existing Union 76 gas station.
The meeting called for final review of The Shade Store, which will be located at 15280 Antioch Street—a space formerly occupied by a Robeks smoothie shop that closed in 2020. Board members discussed plans that would change the space from restaurant to retail use, as well as a 194-square-foot addition, bringing the total square footage to 988, and a new wall sign.
Michael Busch Jr., an architectural designer for The Shade Store, explained to the board that the store is a window treatment company and led a presentation to discuss plans to transform the existing space into a showroom that displays its products, including shades and blinds.
Two additional features discussed at length during the meeting were the proposed change of the storefront to black anodized aluminum and the facade signs to a brushed steel with edge lit letters.
DRB Chair Donna Vaccarino expressed concern regarding the plans presented before the board, noting the location is one of the few remnants of the older commercial buildings in the Palisades.
“I find it really cold and the material that you’ve chosen to be really antithetical to the character of the Palisades,” Vaccarino said. “I don’t mean … it has to look like the Caruso project, but there’s something here that I think is a loss.”
Board Member Paul Randall added that he was unsure of an all-black building in the Palisades.
“If you’re making a statement, you’ve certainly made it,” he said.
“It’s a simple little building and you’re giving it this really high, sophisticated persona,” Vaccarino added. “You’re basically coming in, taking a little building, giving it your brand without really working it into the context of this building and the community.”
Members shared the same sentiment across the board and requested the applicants make changes to blend into the community rather than be “stiff in its own corporate branding.”
Representatives of the applicant assured the board that the plans are malleable, and they are willing to address concerns and incorporate elements from the neighboring spaces.
The board requested the applicants resubmit plans, along with a landscape plan, at the next available meeting.
The second item on Wednesday’s agenda called for final review of the partial demolition of the existing Union 76 gas station, a one-story auto repair service, a 1,956-square-foot expansion of the existing convenience store and a new, 1,861-square-foot, second-story office at 15400 West Sunset Blvd.
The applicant shared that the project was submitted in February and the team has worked for five months to create a plan that complements the neighborhood. Materials would consist of black canvas awnings, concrete, brick, metal sheet roofing and more.
“[Applicant Robert Munakash] has garnered more than 75 supporters of this proposed remodel to this gas station and convenience store,” representative Stacey Brenner said. “There are several benefits of the project: It meets city policies and goals and their objectives, it is compliant and compatible with the surrounding uses and neighborhood, it’s a high-quality design that enhances the community.”
Brenner added the changes will not generate an increase in noise or traffic. The property owner will maintain ownership and use the proposed office space for personal use only, the office space will not be leased or operated for outside uses.
The project also requests a 10% adjustment to the required parking because the space is too tight, Brenner said.
“I think it has a charm to it,” Vaccarino said. “It’s a really nice thing to do.”
Munakash added that the location will no longer do oil changes or tire repairs, but will help as much as they can.
“I appreciate everybody’s business there and honored to be a part of the community, but … it’s time,” Munakash said.
The board requested Munakash to resubmit the plans with suggested revisions and a landscape plan.
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