Located on city owned property near the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Gale Drive, the vacant Gale Yard is a key piece of land in the southeast part of Beverly Hills. While the yard is currently being used by Metro as a staging area for construction of the future Wilshire/La Cienega Purple Line Station a block away, the city will retain ownership after the subway station is complete in 2024. In anticipation, the city held its first Gale Yard public forum on May 2 at City Hall, where community members were invited to share their ideas for the site’s long-term use. City staff presented findings from a survey in which the majority of 148 respondents indicated interest in seeing the space occupied by a new cafe?, market, health food store, or a police substation. Future redevelopment possibilities also include a mobility hub, creating affordable housing, a historical museum, and more. While the .43-acre plot will not be accessible for a couple years, public input will dictate the future Gale Yard space and moving forward, community suggestions will inform the process of seeking development proposals.
“We will report our findings to the City Council and then the city may prepare a request for proposals for developers to submit proposals for the site,” City Planner Timothea Tway said. “And as the property owner, the city could hire someone to develop the property and that’s why this conversation is so important.”
Tway said that years of discussions with the Southeast Task Force, strategic planning committees and other local community groups reveal that residents are interested in neighborhood walkability; family friendly uses; activated ground floor uses and potential arts uses for the site among other things. According to the city survey, 47% of respondents said they would like to see a restaurant or cafe? developed at the site, 38% said public plaza with outdoor seating, and 38% said police substation. When asked to rank different uses in order from most to least desirable, 63% of respondent’s ranked restaurant or cafe? as most desirable, 59% said market/grocery/health food store, and 54% said public plaza with outdoor seating. When asked whether a future building on the site should be single use or mixed-use, 69% preferred mixed-use. Given the proximity of the subway station, survey comments also included desire for “a welcoming branded friendly gateway into Beverly Hills” and “a center for the east side of BH.”
Community members and residents used the forum to voice their opinions regarding the future use of the space, including mixed-use options with a ground level welcome center or museum.
“It’s the logical spot for a Beverly Hills museum that explains our history for tourists, workers, and residents with further instructions on what to do, see, visit, and enjoy in Beverly Hills,”
Arts and Culture Commissioner Maralee Beck said during public comment. “And we need to be mindful of the fact that Los Angeles will be hosting the Olympics and the World Cup and other events that are going to be bringing in more visitors than we have had in the past. And a multipurpose museum with a permanent exhibit that explains who we are, how we got here, and visiting exhibits from art and culture would welcome people to this part of town.”
At 8421 Wilshire Blvd. the Gale yard site could be a future hub for tourists. It’s immediately adjacent to the historic Clock Market building, across from the Saban Theater, and in walking distance of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, La Cienega Park, and the Petersen Automotive Museum.
“Wilshire is turning into a museum row,” President of the Beverly Hills Historical Society Phil Savenik said. “There’s a movie museum, there’s an art museum, there’s a car museum. The next step on the subway could be the Beverly Hills museum. We would then be part of that cultural aspect of Los Angeles.”