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West Hollywood's House of Blues isn't going anywhere -- for now

HOUSEOFBLUES_6_

A proposed hotel/condominium project has cast some doubt over the future of West Hollywood's House of Blues outpost, but operators of the Live Nation-owned Sunset Strip club intend to stay in the neighborhood. If a wrecking ball ultimately hits the 1,000-capacity venue, don't expect it to strike in the near future. The club has a lease until 2012, and any demolition would not occur until the potentially lengthy process of securing financing and permits has been completed.

The West Hollywood City Council voted 4-1 this week in favor of moving forward on the development of a project dubbed "Sunset Time," which, according to a release from the city, will include a "boutique hotel, condominium units, a live entertainment venue and other commercial uses." The House of Blues has an option to renew its lease in 2012 for an additional 13 years, until 2025. 

Reached by phone, House of Blues general manager Marcus Nicolaidis read the company's official statement: "We have a lease, which with renewals rights, goes through 2025, and we plan on continuing our operations at the venue and look forward to being a continued part of the West Hollywood community."

A news release from the city of West Hollywood indicates that the House of Blues could still be a part of the planned development, which is to include 149 hotel rooms and 40 condos. "The City’s hope is to either retain the House of Blues at its current location or another location within the City of West Hollywood," reads the statement. 

The Sunset Strip has of late been attempting to rebrand itself as a music destination. Since the decline in popularity of L.A.'s metal scene in the late '80s, the Strip has been seen more as a tourist stop rather than a place for up-and-coming bands, which have migrated to clubs in Silver Lake and Echo Park. 

"I personally don’t think the House of Blues is going anywhere. We have spent the last four or five years finding ourselves and getting our music scene back on track," said Roxy owner Nic Adler, the man leading the charge in changing the Strip's reputation. 

Adler has been working to foster a sense of community between clubs and helped create the Sunset Strip Music Festival, which just celebrated its third year with performances by the Smashing Pumpkins, Common and Kid Cudi, among others. Adler describes the House of Blues as a "cornerstone" of the West Hollywood's music scene, and said the local "business community understands its relevance." 

"If we were all hotels, we’d have a lot of hotel beds but nowhere for people to go," Adler said. "We always need to make sure we balance the entertainment options and music options. We need some new stuff on the Strip. We have an amazing history, but we need to constantly reintroduce people to the Strip. We need some different projects up here that will draw people. But that [space] is contingent on having a music venue space in it." 

The city's approval of the project allows for construction to begin anytime in the next 10 years. "The property owner may now seek financing and begin to explore operators for the property," continued the statement from the city. "No demolition of existing buildings will occur until construction financing is secure and building permits have been issued, a process that is estimated to take at least one year and potentially longer."

Nicolaidis refused to comment beyond reading the statement from the House of Blues, but Adler is adamant that the House of Blues isn't leaving the Strip, which recently underwent a cosmetic face-lift. But if the House of Blues' days are indeed numbered, indications are that it won't go down without a fight.

"If that project does go through, there has to be a significant music/entertainment portion," Adler said. "It’s not easy just to start a new place and put new music in. To replace something as iconic as the House of Blues would be a feat. I know council wants to show that they are pro new business to the Strip, I also know they know the value of House of Blues. 

"If it’s not the House of Blues or better," Adler continued, "and if it’s not something that is a real music venue, I don’t think it’s going to have the support of the business community. We need to be adding and enhancing to the music of the Strip right now and not taking venues away."

--Todd Martens

Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (9)

Two weeks ago, the mayor of West Hollywood and two other council members stood onstage at the House of Blues to congratulate themselves on carrying on the legacy of music on the Strip while giving an award to Slash. Now the same city council votes to allow that same property to be demolished. Even by the usual standards of politics in action, this is quite a spectacle. Were they only joking when they said how much they supported music on the Sunset Strip?

There is already to much traffic in that area. When is it going to end.

Bumper to bumper traffic making it dangerous for emergency vehicles to get through.
Impossible to find parking.

We need a moratorium on building in West Hollywood. ( And I'm in construction )

We need a building moratorium in West Hollywood. When is it going to end ?

It is bumper to bumper traffic now making it hard for emergency vehicles to get across Sunset.

No more major projects like this.

Haven't developers learned yet that these development projects are doomed to failure.

Too few people can afford to buy their own homes, and there is a glut of empty real estate of all sorts on the market. I don't think West Hollywood needs ANOTHER hotel.

Leave the House of Blues alone. It's far more of a draw than further hotels and condos.

We neede a place for stupid people with bad tattoos to go and buy over priced drinks while getting their eardrums blown out by no talent bands. A death trap in a fire waiting to happen. Thank you HOB.

the House of Blues on the Strip is one of the most fabulous music venues in the country, and forms, along with the other legendary clubs on Sunset, the heart of Los Angeles culture....to replace it with yet another faceless hotel with a disco, ala The Standard, would be a travesty....

Right, just what we need during the worst housing market ever -- more luxury condos on the market. Doesn't sound like a smart decision to me.

I love the HOB and I live in San Francisco. I have driven to the HOB for concerts at least 3 times one being Arthur Lee and Love's magnificent show. Leave it alone. There are plenty of hotels there already. I always stay at the Best Western across from the Hyatt. Nice rooms and staff,free breakfast and terrific pool.

It was approximately a year ago since I was in LA and was granted a tour of the House of Blues the history and soul of this building is just unbelievable from the art works that hang on the walls is of true value and have meaning to culture. The mud underneath the stage to earth the artists who grace the boards provide an electricity and energy to the music that they deliver to their receptive audience and fans. To the tin roof that was salvaged from a Southern Gin Mill. It is a shame that this possibly might come to an end......just like the Empire Diner in New York and other places like in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia. We must preserve sites and places of artistic cultural significance, instead of making room for capitalism that is controlled by a few. HOB - Sunset Strip you rock and am hoping to return to visit you soon!


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