Five-story project aims to fill demand for Hollywood offices

Despite objections, commission approves Echelon at 717 Seward

BARDAS Investment Group's David Simon and Echelon at 717 Seward project (BARDAS Investment Group, Getty)
BARDAS Investment Group's David Simon and Echelon at 717 Seward project (BARDAS Investment Group, Getty)

A local developer has pushed ahead with plans to demolish a century-old building and replace it with a five-story office complex in Hollywood.

Bardas Investment Group, based in West Hollywood, has received approval from the L.A. Planning Commission to build a 67,000-square-foot building at 717 Seward Street, near Hancock Park, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.

The 74-foot-tall development at Seward and Melrose Avenue, dubbed Echelon at 717 Seward, would replace a parking lot and a 1920s commercial building in the Hollywood Media District.

The project, designed by Otherworks, based in the Arts District, features a series of white, corrugated and glass blocks, offset by landscaped terraces and ground-floor patios.

The office building would feature a small ground floor retail space and a two-level underground parking garage for 168 cars.

After an unscheduled groundbreaking, construction is expected to take from 20 to 22 months.

At a Planning Commission hearing, neighbors objected to the project, saying it was out of scale with the area. They said large buildings like the Echelon should be built elsewhere in Hollywood.

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Representatives of L.A. City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Koretz, who represent the surrounding area, echoed the concerns raised by neighbors.

The arguments fell flat with planning commissioners, who said the project site was located in a part of the draft Hollywood Community Plan area, designated for job-creating uses, according to Urbanize.

The commissioners also pointed to TV and film productions going outside of the City of Los Angeles because of a lack of available facilities.

Bardas has worked to capitalize on strong demand for Hollywood office properties.

In 2020, it paid $23.4 million for the 13,000-square-foot Art Deco building at 729 Seward Street, next to its current Echelon project.

It plans a number of large and mid-sized projects in Hollywood, including new buildings off of Santa Monica and Cahuenga boulevards, plus the $420 million Echelon Studios complex near the 101 Freeway.

– Dana Bartholomew

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