The City of Beverly Hills greenlighted a three-story Christian Dior building on North Rodeo Drive with a new wrinkle for the famous fashion brand – a rooftop restaurant intent on courting celebrities.
The Beverly Hills Planning Commission approved Sept. 8 by a 4-0 vote, a retail and restaurant development at 319-323 North Rodeo Drive. Commissioner Peter Ostroff was not present for the vote.
The project applicant is a limited liability company, 319-323 N. Rodeo LLC, that is associated with Dior corporate parent, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Dior and LVMH are each headquartered in Paris.
The snazzy expansion of the 319-323 N. Rodeo Drive site comes on the heels of LVMH developing the Cheval Blanc hotel, which is slated for the corner of Rodeo Drive and South Santa Monica Boulevard. Architect Peter Marino is designing both projects.
In addition to Marino, LVMH will work with Los Angeles-headquartered planning and design firm Gruen & Associates to raze the site’s current Dior retail building, according to materials presented to the Planning Commission.
In its stead, a 29,700-square-foot, 60-foot tall building is slated for construction.
Included are two floors of retail that the applicant has deemed the “West Coast flagship” for the Christian Dior company. Retail space will “showcase the latest ready to wear for both men and women watches, fine jewelry, fragrances, and accessories,” according to the developer’s filing with the city.
The third-floor restaurant “will serve French cuisine and French pastries” from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day with the restaurant’s name not determined. The rooftop locale’s ambitions extend beyond serving frog’s legs and onion soup.
“The roof top space will be used for exceptional personal service for very important clients (VIC) and special events and launches,” the filing reads.
These include “private for events for special limited product launches,” plus “personal appointments with celebrities and VIC hosted by Dior team in preparation for special events, such as film festivals and award shows.”
In an hour-long deliberation over the project, Commissioners did not focus on the rooftop soirees, though Commission Vice Chair Gary Ross noted that it is the first time Christian Dior will enter the restaurant business.
Instead, Commissioners led by Jeff Wolfe, sought to better understand parking for the building.
City statute dictates that such a project requires 89 parking spaces. But the applicant provided five surface parking spaces and a basement parking level that includes 29 spaces. The facility will include a hydraulic lift enabling valet attendants to stack cars on top of one another.
The applicant proposed that additional space for cyclists plus parking structures at 9510 North Brighton Way and 345 North Beverly Drive would provide sufficient parking options.
Ashok Vanmali, a partner at Gruen Associates, explained that valet attendants will handle the parking including moving cars off site. Wolfe and others expressed concern about congestion on Rodeo Drive and whether there would be enough valet attendants.
While approving the project, Wolfe vowed to keep a watch on the parking situation.
Planning Commission Chair Myra Demeter also inquired about the parking but noted to the applicant, “You’ve already proven to be very adaptable to our suggestions.”
Indeed, LVMH appeared before the Planning Commission multiple times from this March to June in order to iron out traffic concerns regarding the nine-story, 115-room Cheval Blanc. As for the Dior project, it may lead to a transfer of land. A company with the address of LVMH’s New York City office purchased part of the property back in 2012 for $85 million, according to public records.
Another component of the land is owned by Beverly Hills Properties III LLC, a company registered by Anthony Palermo, a real estate investor with a business address in Sherman Oaks.
Under an agreement between the property owners, LVMH leases land from Beverly Hills Properties, with an option to purchase the property. The LVMH entity has not decided whether to purchase the land it presently leases on the project site, according to Deborah Quick, a lawyer at Perkins Coie who is advising the developers.