By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board met virtually on Wednesday, July 14, to discuss two proposed projects: the final review of a partial demolition of an existing Union 76 gas station and for the change of use of the former Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf space from a cafe to a medical office.
The meeting 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.
Project representative Stacey Brenner returned to the board with suggested revisions after the last hearing on Wednesday, May 12.
“Based on the comments that we received from that hearing, the team went back and revised the plan accordingly,” Brenner said.
The applicant previously shared that the project was submitted in February, and the team worked for months to create a plan that complemented the neighborhood. Materials consisted of black canvas awnings, concrete, brick, metal sheet roofing and more.
Brenner said the team addressed changes to the windows, in proportion and framing, switched the black canvas to slate gray canvas awnings, and introduced a landscape plan that features potted trees, shrubs and vines.
DRB Chair Donna Vaccarino made a motion to accept the project as submitted with the addition of a low wall with a concrete detail that wraps the south side elevation and continues on the back side of the building. The motion was approved unanimously.
“Thank you … for working with us and your patience, I think it’s going to be really, really beautiful,” Vaccarino said to applicant, Robert Munakash, and Brenner. “Hurry and get it done.”
The second item on Wednesday’s agenda called for final review of The Hydration Room, which will be located at 15278 Antioch Street—a space formerly occupied by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf that closed in 2019. Board members discussed plans that would change the space from a cafe to a medical office and feature a 29.86-square-foot wall sign.
Applicant representative Cason Hall offered an overview of the proposed project. The Hydration Room was established in December 2014 by anesthesiologist Dr. Brett Florie, and integrates both allopathic and osteopathic medicine into vitamin injection and IV therapies.
There are currently 15 Hydration Rooms across LA, Orange and San Diego counties, according to Hall.
City Planning Assistant Nick Vasuthasawat explained that although the use, layout and floor plan would appear as a medical office, “it would be still considered a retail usage … there’s no real change of use that’s going to occur with the building classification.”
Vaccarino expressed a number of concerns, including a single entrance and exit in the site plan. Architect and applicant Daniel Olivas explained that they are permitted to have only one exit.
“I’m very uncomfortable with that,” she said.
Vaccarino also said she is skeptical of the treatments being offered at The Hydration Room and is afraid they might be “introducing something that is a bit problematic.”
“I don’t want to argue about vitamin therapy … I don’t want people to think this is a place where people come because they’re hungover, partying,” Florie said. “We have about 65,000 patients and we … treat other 20,000 cancer patients, patients with autoimmune disease, chronic disease, malabsorption issues. It’s a place where people are coming with really chronic health issues and we’re helping improve their quality of life.
“People want to come and be in a spa-like setting and not feel like they’re in a hospital, and that’s why I create these in non-medical buildings.”
Board members also expressed disinterest in the proposed signage, claiming that it is too large and inappropriate for the neighborhood. The DRB asked that they coordinate with The Shade Store, slated to move in next door, to ensure compatibility.
The board requested the applicants resubmit plans at the next available meeting, Wednesday, August 25.
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