Crescent Heights cites builder’s remedy for Beverly Hills highrise

Miami mega-developer tries legal loophole for approval of 20-story residential tower

Crescent Heights employs builder’s remedy for 20-story housing tower in Beverly Hills
Crescent Heights' Russell Galbut and Bruce Menin with 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills (Google Maps, Crescent Heights, Getty)

Beverly Hills, an epicenter for state builder’s remedy projects, now faces the biggest of them all: a plan by Crescent Heights to build a 20-story residential tower looking down on the affluent city.

The Miami-based mega-developer has filed preliminary plans for a 199-unit residential highrise at 8844 Burton Way, Urbanize Los Angeles reported, citing a city memo. It would replace a former Temple Emanuel youth center.

Crescent Heights bought the block-wide building on nearly two thirds of an acre in 2019 for $27.4 million. The property was marketed as eligible for the construction of 42 residential units.

The developer’s preliminary application indicates it will employ the state builder’s remedy that allows developers to bypass local zoning rules in cities such as Beverly Hills that have failed to win approval for a state-mandated housing plan. 

Under the legal loophole in state housing law, such projects must include at least 20 percent affordable housing. 

Plans by Crescent Heights call for a tower with 199 apartments or condominiums. It’s just the latest project filed under the builder’s remedy that could remake a city famous for its regal mansions and designer shops.

Under state law, Beverly Hill must plan for 3,104 new homes, three-quarters of them affordable to low- and middle-income residents, by 2029. 

But the city’s housing element plan has failed to pass muster with state housing regulators, who have rejected five housing blueprints from Beverly Hills since summer 2021, including one last month.

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That left it open to be among the first in the state targeted by developers for builder’s remedy applications.

This month, a judge determined that the penalty for Beverly Hills failing to plan for affordable housing would be a moratorium on home improvement permits, even for celebrity mansions.

The city has already seen a wave of builder’s remedy proposals.

Developer Leo Pustilnikov has filed project plans for more than six developments through builder’s remedy; together they would total more than 1,200 apartments. They include a 19-story, 200-unit tower at 125-129 South Linden Drive, just off Wilshire Boulevard.

Other projects filed under the legal loophole include a 17-story, 56-unit highrise at 145 South Rodeo Drive; a 12-story building at 346 North Maple Drive; and a 14-story building at 211-217 South Hamilton Drive.

But none of the recent proposals come from an applicant with the track record of a company like Crescent Heights, according to Urbanize.

Crescent Heights previously developed the 40-story Ten Thousand apartment tower in Century City, which overlooks Beverly Hills to the east. The company’s L.A. portfolio also includes planned highrise developments in Koreatown, Downtown and Hollywood.

— Dana Bartholomew

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Leo Pustilnikov; 125-129 South Linden Drive (Google Maps, Getty, Kevin Scanlon)
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