Hollywood board says new “Blue Building” design still needs more tweaks

Board member Ed O'Donnell: "This is not different in a good way."

Apr.April 14, 2017 05:00 PM

Renderings of “Blue Building”

A Hollywood board again delayed approval Thursday evening of Dr. Aylee Hallak’s “Blue Building,” a 13,000-square-foot mixed-use project with a six-room hotel, a physical therapy office and a parking garage on Hollywood Beach.

After the planning and development board called the original plans for the project at 320-324 Minnesota Street too boxy and too blue at their Feb. 9 meeting, Hallak and her architect, Victor Elias Eisenstein, made major cosmetic changes to the proposal, taking cues from Seoul’s “Two Moon” building for a series of circular scoops in the form, and adding a bulging array of convex balconies to the building’s front.

But the revised plans didn’t quite gel. The city’s planning department called the new-look proposal incohesive and incompatible with the neighborhood, recommending that the developer take more time to create a unified building.

“I don’t want to say that they’re blatantly disregarding our comments, but I don’t think that we’ve come to a point where both sides are comfortable,” Hollywood Planning Manager Leslie Del Monte said. “A building should be designed in three dimensions and not as four different facades designed independently.”

However, Hallak told the board the additional delay would be an undue hardship, requiring that she extend a purchase agreement for half of the site that is contingent on receiving approval for the plans.

“My next door neighbor, she’s been very good to me,” Hallak said. “Every time we’ve gotten a continuance, she’s accepted that and I’ve gotten an extension . . . but it’s come to a point where she needs to know whether or not I’m buying.”

Hallak said she’d received positive feedback, and wanted to feel out the board’s thoughts on the renderings before accepting city staffers’ suggestions.

“I went down to the beach and asked people just in the street, ‘Do you think this building would look nice right here?'” Hallak said. “I’ve not had anybody say anything negative.”

The board’s design members quickly changed that. Kristin Herman-Druck said the new plans were like wearing “plaid pants with a striped shirt.” And when Hallak explained that she was trying to do something “funky” and “different” for the beach, Ed O’Donnell answered that “this is not different in a good way.”

After an hour-long discussion, the Hollywood board voted unanimously to move the proposal to their June 8 meeting, where Hallak will need to show she’s found a sweet spot between function, form and funk.

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