Billion-dollar Warner Center megaproject faces another hurdle

Appeal filed a week after city approved developer Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield stadium portion of massive mixed-use complex
August 06, 2019 03:00PM

Larry Green, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s EVP for US Development, and a drawing of the planned stadium (Credit: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield)

Larry Green, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s EVP for US Development, and a drawing of the planned stadium (Credit: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield)

The developer of the $1.5-billion megaproject planned for Warner Center is facing another hurdle.

The founder of the community group Coalition for Valley Neighborhoods is appealing the project, concerned the city never required affordable housing units for the development’s massive residential component, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The redevelopment in Woodland Hills is set to include a 7,500-seat stadium, 1,400 residential units, 244,000 square feet of retail space, 630,000 square feet of office space, and a 570-room hotel.

The appeal from Woodland Hills resident Gina Thornburg came less than two weeks after the developer, French commercial real estate firm Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, won support from city planning officials for the enclosed stadium.

Large developments — and their developers — frequently encounter opposition from neighborhood groups seeking to halt construction. Last month, the Coalition to Preserve L.A. and AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a lawsuit hoping to halt GPI Companies’ plan to build a residential tower that would replace Amoeba Records in Hollywood.

In a different case in June, the city denied an appeal against Mitsui Fudosan America’s 41-story tower set for Downtown.

While the appeals rarely prevent development, they can also serve to pressure city and elected officials, and to highlight a community concern.

In the case of Warner Center, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield itself has appealed the city’s decision to reduce the number of stadium seats from the originally proposed 15,000, down to what is now 7,500. Larry Green, executive vice president for development for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said in a statement, “with this appeal, we are simply refining the plan in accordance with the relevant city process.” [Daily News]Gregory Cornfield