When plans were first revealed to convert the apartment buildings in the former Sunset Millenium at 8500 Sunset to an extended stay hotel, it was clear such a move was illegal.

Short of Council action to re-zone the property or grant a variance, the property will have to be either apartments or condominiums.

It is hard to believe that new owners Korman did not do their due diligence to find out that their plans were illegal, but that seems to be the case.

According to WeHoVille, Korman in backtracking, offering to operate one tower as apartments and the other as extended stay corporate housing.

In the press release announcing its new plan, AKA President Larry Korman said “Our intention with this acquisition is to operate annual luxury apartments in one tower and Korman Communities’ industry leading furnished residences available for stays one month or longer in the other tower. We are committed to working collaboratively with the City of West Hollywood and abiding by all local laws.”

Saying you want to work collaboratively to get the city to change laws whilst saying you want to abide by them is kind of like telling the cop who pulled you over that you’ll drive 80 in the 70 zone instead of 90…it’s still illegal!

Hopefully, the City Council will draw a red line and protect our City’s housing stock, rather than “work collaboratively” with a company that either had no regard for city laws or didn’t bother to check before spending nine figures to buy the building.

Unfortunately, it is highly likely that a development agreement to get a variance or zoning change will be the route the City takes, allowing the change to happen in exchange for extracting some kind of public benefit.  If that’s the case, then hopefully the City takes a pretty penny and asks, for example, for a sizeable nightly “Housing Replacement Fee” to go the The Community Housing Corporation, or better yet, ask them to donate the East Tower to WHCHC in exchange for rezoning the West Tower as a hotel!