Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) announced Friday that it has submitted amended plans to the City of Los Angeles for the Promenade 2035 project, which proposes to create a new 34-acre mixed-use center with public plazas and walkable streets along with new housing, entertainment venues, hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants and street level retail. The updated proposal includes a commitment to a total of fifteen percent of the initial residential units for affordable, stakeholder and workforce housing – a voluntary action and the first of its kind in the Downtown District of the Warner Center; and a reduction to the proposed size of the Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC). The modifications will also ensure a more sustainable development and further URW’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint.
“I have worked closely with URW to ensure that this project, with its vast opportunity, adds critical low income and workforce housing, good-paying jobs as well as numerous community benefits. With this revised plan, we are taking a great step forward,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “People who work in Warner Center should be able to afford to live there and this is a step in the right direction. I look forward to continuing to work together as the project is finalized.”
“Having spent many months meeting with residents and listening to their concerns, we are pleased to submit revised plans which reflect community input on this vision for the Promenade property, while keeping within the goals of the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan,” said Larry Green, Executive Vice President of Development for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “We remain committed to delivering the highest quality project and look forward to continued community engagement as we move one step closer to delivering on our $1.5 billion-dollar investment in the heart of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.”
Responding to the community’s concerns, and the broader need for housing for all income levels within the City of Los Angeles and the Warner Center, URW has worked with Councilmember Blumenfield and stakeholders to make Promenade 2035 the first major project in the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan’s Downtown District to voluntarily commit to include a percentage of rent-restricted housing.
The updated plan includes a commitment for a total of fifteen percent of the project’s initial residential units, those located in the Northwest and Northeast Quadrants, to be affordable, workforce and stakeholder housing. This will be divided into five percent for Very Low Income households; five percent for a voluntary workforce housing program, targeting rents affordable to workers such as teachers and firefighters; and five percent for a voluntary local stakeholder incentive program for local workers. The percentages apply to all of the 1,000-plus units in the initial phases of the project.
The Entertainment and Sports Center continues as an important element of the Promenade 2035 Project, and will be a catalyst for economic growth, attracting further investment in the Warner Center overall. In response to community feedback, URW is proposing a reduction in the square footage of the Entertainment and Sports Center by over 40%, from 320,000 square feet to 181,550 square feet, creating the opportunity for a greater diversity of uses and increased green space.
The updated plans also include a 45% reduction in height of the Entertainment and Sports Center, from 155 feet to approximately 85 feet; and a substantial reduction of over 30% in the number of seats originally proposed. Additional City design review will occur when the Entertainment and Sports Center’s operator is finalized.
Regarding parking, the revised plan means that the Code’s parking requirements are met. Within the plan, which now includes reconfigured parking facilities that are fully screened with retail and office at street frontages, onsite parking within the Promenade 2035 footprint is expected to meet City requirements for daily operations. The need for off-site parking for additional demand such as during holidays is substantially reduced with the smaller design, but when needed, the demand can be managed with the available parking at other nearby properties including Westfield’s the Village and Topanga.
The proposed refinements will result in reduced environmental and construction impacts, furthering URW’s broad sustainability goals. This includes a reduced need for steel based on the updated residential design, and cutting back on various construction activities that would otherwise be required. URW has made a strong commitment to reducing its carbon footprint with its Better Places 2030 CSR strategy, in which the company has committed to cutting by its carbon emissions 50% globally by 2030.
The revised project is set to be reviewed by the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission in March.