A $2 Billion Beverly Hills Development without Affordable Units Gets the Green Light

One city council member called hotelier Beny Alagem’s One Beverly Hills project ”a castle-fortress of exclusion”

In a 4-1 vote last week, the Beverly Hills City Council approved hotelier Beny Alagem’s plan to build his $2 billion dream development at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, aka One Beverly Hills. As The Real Deal reports, the 1.4 million-square-foot project will have everything a well-heeled urbanite could want—but no affordable housing.

Alagem—who owns the Beverly Hilton and the Waldorf Astoria directly across from the site—plans to erect a pair of towers standing 32 and 28 stories tall, for a combined total of 303 condos, along with a separate, 11-story, 42-room hotel. The hotel will have an additional 37 units, the details of which haven’t been divulged, and the property will include eight acres of green space.

The lone dissenting vote came from councilman and former Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch, who at last week’s meeting cited the absence of affordable housing in Alagem’s proposed behemoth as “a project that is elitist, exclusive and exclusionary.”

Mirisch added, “Without affordable housing, the project has turned into a castle-fortress of exclusion.”

one beverly hills

Courtesy DBOX for Alagem Capital

The acquisition of the site for $420 million in 2018 gave Alagem and partner Cain International 17 contiguous acres of prime Beverly Hills real estate. The developers have struck a deal with the city to get around the massive project’s dearth of affordable housing.

Alagem’s group will make a $100 million public benefit payment over the next eight years, which some Council members suggested could be used to foot affordable housing costs somewhere else. Additionally, Beverly Hills will take in a 5 percent municipal surcharge on luxury hotel rooms at the new Wilshire spot and, eventually, from the Beverly Hilton, as well as sales fees from the residential units.

To make room for the development, a portion of the storied Hilton will be torn down, along with a gas station, while the Waldorf remains intact.

“This has been a very long journey and the outcome is very exciting,” Alagem said in a statement on Monday. “We appreciate the hard work of the City Council, [Planning Commission] and staff. Their analysis and input improved One Beverly Hills. We look forward to getting started.”

The council still needs to approve construction of two smaller pieces of the development, after which Alagem plans to start work this fall.

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