More on the huge proposed Rowena development

This is not the first post about this, but this post includes details and email and phone contact info. Let’s get moving on this!

Fact: A 64-condo development 3 stories high planned for Rowena Ave.

Fact: The mass and scale of this structure is inappropriate for the
neighborhood. Design is not the issue; the environment is at stake!

Fact: Plans call for buildings along 200 feet of Rowena to be demolished, including The Coffee Table, and the 3 lots engulfed by new construction.

Fact: Traffic, parking, pedestrian safety: how will these issues be

Please get involved NOW!


It deterred the 40-unit project on Angus. It sent developers back to
the drawing board to scale down the Derby/Louise’s project.

Here’s what you can do:


Write or call Councilmember Tom LaBonge and Chief Planning
Deputy Renee Weitzer @ City Hall, 200 North Spring St., Room 480, L.A.
90012 (213) 485-3337 [email protected], [email protected]

Contact the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council at
(323) 661-7562

Urge them to downscale the project!

Tell your friends and neighbors to attend the community meeting
(details above).

Visit, make copies of the flyer (after the jump)
and elevation and distribute them on your block!

Lots of people at the community meeting is crucial too.

Here’s the flyer:
Download file
Here’s an image of the proposed building:
Download file

23 thoughts on “More on the huge proposed Rowena development”


    Typical NIMBYism. “I got mine now go to hell!” Local homeowners will do whatever it takes to keep their housing expensive, including keeping out the next generation of buyers.

  2. EPRobert, you’ve totally missed the point – it’s not about keeping people out, it’s about what the neighborhood will bear with regard to traffic, parking, and aesthetics.

    That damned thing is TOO BIG and that’s that. And the traffic and parking situation is ALREADY bad there.

    The “go to hell” attitude is yours, not ours.

  3. Who is this “we” you speak of?

    The tone of the previous post is of a frustrated investor or developer. The Rowena/Hyperion area isn’t boondocks and scrub brush — who’s the “we” that “needs” more housing? People are concerned about the character of the neighborhood. Excessive develoment is not necessary nor wanted. Orange County it is not.

    Plus I don’t want anyone else living here that angrily drives a Land Rover and screams at you if you’re not going 50MPH down Rowena.

  4. Man, why does LA have a hatred of urban growth? What do you want, more sprawl? Drive through Palmdale and check out the subdivisions there if thats what you want. Densely populated neighborhoods (i.e. condos and apartments) lead to a more vibrant, urban setting.

    Once you have 60 people living in one building, that cool coffee shop down the street isn’t going to go out of business, because now there are twice as many people living walking distance from it. Ditto for the corner newspaperstand.

    Grimes, you say “Orange County it is not”…. But it sounds like you want it to resemble OC more than anything else, if you are fighting to maintain single-family dwellings.

    And as far as afforability, it is simple physics that a multi-unit building will be more affordable than houses. Its just more efficient on many levels to pack people in.

  5. Don’t for a moment think those new units will be in any way “affordable;” it ain’t low income housing they plan.

    And if they have to knock down the cool coffee shop to make room for people who would frequent it, that sounds a lot like “We had to destroy the village to save the village” to me.

    Nobody expects everything to stay the same – what we want is REASONABLE growth that won’t stomp all over the existing community. It could be argued that the feeling in our community is what people want. By all means let’s preserve that.

  6. I dont think the scale matters to these people at all, I think thats a cover for their NIMBY “pull up the drawbridge” mentality

    Im a resident of this area and I understand the desire to live here, its wonderful, however it could use a lot of improvement

    I personally dont see much on Rowena worth preserving … there are some interesting businesses that have popped up but it isnt quite a walkable area yet, there are huge dead spots with auto repair shacks and at night much of it is dark … theres no unity to the streetscape … as one poster mentioned more residents would add to the street life and bring more customers which might spur some new businesses along that corridor …

    I dont see traffic as a concern, again, a cover … the residents of this new development will have parking in their building and will leave in the morning for their jobs returning in the evening like everyone else, if they shop in the neighborhood theyre likely to walk … furthermore, the street is already busy, it might as well be busy AND more livable as well

  7. MCE. You don’t get it. Scale does matter. Sure improvement is good, but we’re going from one extreme to the other here. It’s not about what buildings are being demolished, it’s about what’s going in. You talk about unity to the streetscape. Perhaps you’d like the entire Rowena block to look like Wilshire Blvd – 3 stories high, with no history, no eclecticism, no warmth, no character AND 2 lanes narrower? There’s some middle ground worth fighting for. Think beyond for a moment; some compromise. Think about it. Traffic is a concern. If you live earshot from Rowena you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Of course there’s room for improvement, but the of the RIGHT KIND. That’s not nimbyism. The point here is welcoming development THAT IS RIGHT FOR THE COMMUNITY. This one is not.

  8. Sounds like NIMBY’s at work to me! More density will equal better public transit(maybe even the Silver Line snaking its way through the neighborhodd one day), more vibrancy and more businesses of all kinds opening up. Their is no more land at our expense within the Los Angeles City Limits(less you want to live in the north Valley, ugh!). Villaraigosa(the man I hope you voted for)says it the best, ‘We need to build vertically, we need more density’. Die NIMBY’s Die!

  9. Regarding the proposed construction on Rowena. I live across the street from Sunset Junction. You may not know it but a 43 unit 6 story building is under construction here. It’s financed by The Kor Group. They built the Viceroy in Santa Monica. I think it will be a nice looking building, though given that I live across the street from it I’d kinda prefer it was shorter. The condos there will start at around 500 grand or more. And the one proposed for Rowena won’t be inexpensive, it just doesn’t work that way. The new buildings that are going up aren’t low income housing. Additionally, I bought my house based on the character of the neighborhood I live in. Is it such a sin to want it to remain similar? The people who live here should have a say in what happens in our neighborhood, not just the builders who stand to make millions.

  10. This isnt an issue of scale … ITS 3 STORIES, are you kidding me? shall we tear down Zen Sushi and Clover and the convalescent home as well? maybe Gelsons too coz thats a little on the tall side … what extreme are you citing? this IS the middle ground …

    You moved to an urban neighborhood, the great thing about cities is theyre always changing … you moved here for that eclectic urban character, remember? How come whenever that eclecticism manifests itself suddenly it becomes a menace to quality of life? If you wanted a neighborhood that was going to remain stationary you shouldve moved to Valencia … Im really tired of narrowminded NIMBYs throwing a wrench in every interesting project with their incessant whining … I swear, it seems like its your goal in life to make sure everything stays the same, even if that reality is not worth preserving … you seem to want your neighborhood to stagnate into suburban irrelevance …

  11. Oh MCE – give it up. You must be a developer. No-one is whining here except for you. Zen Sushi and Clover don’t take up practically an entire block. Are you blind? Personally, I moved to Silver Lake/Los Feliz/Echo Park cos there’s some space to breathe here. I moved from SANTA MONICA! So I know a bit about density and living within earshot of, well, I won’t go into it. Goal in life is to enjoy change not have it forced and rammed down the throat by some arrogant developer too big for their britches.

  12. Worth mentioning is the fact that the project only got this far because the property is zoned R3. The zoning is as much of a problem as the developers naturally wanting to maximize their investments by maximizing density.

    In fact, zoning is the much greater issue.

    If I buy land with intent to build within the constraints of the law of that land, I don’t expect to get foiled by the community after I’ve spent all kinds of money on plans.

    Think about it. The developers are probably acting within the existing law, which is the root of the problem. Of course, there’s always the chance they’ve just ignored the law and moved forward – this too should be investigated.


    Im not a developer, far from it … Im someone whos concerned about the vitality of my neighborhood … something you seem to have forgotten in your mayberry-mentality … youre the one that doesnt get it, Santa Monica is doing great, its really coming into its own as it increases its density … wake up

    well you shouldve moved somewhere else with that attitude … what kind of person moves to an up-and-coming neighborhood and expects it to stay the same …

    “rammed and forced down the throat” is your own perception … personally I doubt the developer has shown up on your doorstep and characterizing them as arrogant simply because they want to develop land they purchased legally is ridiculous … this is America, remember? you own up to your property line, if you own at all

    this area needs to increase density along its primary corridors such as Rowena & Hyperion so that it can be better served by mass transit and maybe some of us can, god forbid, get out of our cars once in awhile and actually interact with our neighborhood, personally, I dont like having to drive all the way to Glendale or Burbank so often

  14. The idea that public transportation will necessarily improve if population density increases is an unknown. There is no lightrail to Santa Monica because the residents of West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills stopped it. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is a different issue. But assuming LA will have good public transportation if large housing projects are built in Silverlake is dubvious. LA has bad public tranportation because the city doesn’t want it and the areas to cover are so vast. It takes hours to get anywhere on the bus.

    But again, the residents of a neighborhood are entitled to control the future of their neighborhood to some extent. But MCE, I wouldn’t worry, since the developers stand to make a ton of cash and the city always makes money with these development projects, I’d guess it’ll go through.


  15. To Dave and MCE, I suggest you visit KCRW archives and listen to Warren Olney’s Which Way L.A. show in which Gail Goldberg talks about the issues facing neighbors living in a city facing increased density. I think you’ll find you’re both right. As Ruth666 points out – the problem is with City Planning incl. zoning, not with developers abiding by the law. The City of L.A. wants “cranes all over the city” – and, as mentioned on Olney’s show, “developers run the city.” Those of us opposing the Rowena project are fighting the symptoms and not the cause. I urge everyone to attend the community meeting on 2/22 at 7pm Ivanhoe School, hosted by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. Here is a chance to take a look at the symptoms and discuss the cause and what we can do about it. The Rowena Project WILL have some adverse effects on the community because it’s BIG (agreeing with this doesn’t deserve being labelled a NIMBY nor does it imply that development is a bad thing). With good planning, the Rowena Project could also do some GOOD. It’s up to all of us in Silver Lake including the developer – since we’re all pretty creative around here – to find a win-win solution that sets a positive example, that makes the community happy and that makes city officials and the developer look good.

  16. And by the way, on a micro level (hello MCE), my property abuts the proposed site of the Rowena Project. I have met with the developer a couple of times now. He firmly believes his new project will not adversely impact my property. Of course, having lived in my home since 2001, I firmly believe that it will. Indeed, if I intended to sell my home today it has already been compromised. It’s a difficult situation. To reiterate my previous post, on macro and micro levels I think a constructive solution (pardon the pun) – would now be to work together as neighbors to LISTEN and CONSIDER (not ignore and diminish) and find a peaceful compromise through negotiations, because that’s what neighbors/communities should do: work it out honorably to find a win-win situation all round. Sounds idealistic I know but my grandmother (a Ghandi disciple) taught me that. And if it can’t be worked out peacefully, well, who wants the alternative? I know my grandmother didn’t (but she still won the war).

  17. I’m with MCE. Only good can come out of this project. THEIR IS A HOUSING SHORTAGE!! Build LA! Build!
    And that public transportation argument is soooo ass backwards. LA DOES NOT have bad transit. It takes a bus an hour to move around in this city, not because of it’s a “bad” bus, but because the friggin’ streets are congested AND the busses have such a high ridership(1 million per day, only NYC beats this). If their were alternative modes of transport in abundance e.g. subways, light rail, you would take these modes of rapid transit for longer trips and take the busses for what they are really good at, short connecting trips less than a couple of miles. NOTE: The good citizens of Beverly Hills and Cheviot did not oppose the subway initially fearing density, their unrealisitc fear was the darkening of their neighborhood. Vivid fantasy of a brown skinned man breaking into their homes and ‘conveniently’ running off with their new Samsung to the nearest Red Line stop. I’m quite sure the good citizens of our well known liberal bastion(but obviously changing)place that we call Silver Lake would not want to ally themselves with the xenophobic, cloaked in fear(as well as cloaked in traffic thanx to their opposition to the subway 40 years ago) Westsiders that the city has an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with. Build more! Drive down inflated home and rental prices. Please think of what’s best for the city as whole not of finally getting around to building that gazeebo this summer in your backyard that you’ve always wanted.

  18. If there is such a housing shortage. Then why aren’t all the Glendale/Silver Lake Blvd lofts sold yet?

  19. so how did the meeting go on Wednesday night? i was not able to attend. thanks for filling me in.

  20. … there are some interesting businesses that have popped up but it isnt quite a walkable area yet, there are huge dead spots with auto repair shacks and at night much of it is dark …

    Why don’t all the idiotic NIMBYite Angelenos make as big a stink about things like that????

    Some of these yahoos should move to Fresno.

  21. How many got together to oppose that huge parking lot that sits out in the front of Gelson’s Supermarket that makes the neighborhood look like somewhere out of suburbia!! Discourages pedestrianism. Increases traffic with the lure of yet more free parking. At the least you could have lobbied for the powerhouse Gelsons to redo the entire center and put the parking underground. But No! The few on this forum whom oppose more housing instead of opposing neighborhood busters like 4 acre surface parking lots are sorely mislead.

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