Sunset Plaza aims to roll out a five-story, shimmering glass globe onto the Sunset Strip.
The Atwater Village-based property owner led by Ara Tavitian has filed plans to build a 49-foot-tall glass sphere at 8410 Sunset Boulevard, Urbanize Los Angeles reported. It would replace a cafe, newsstand and some video screens.
A Planning Commission design review committee and Sunset Arts & Advertising Subcommittee are slated to look over plans on Nov. 9.
Plans for what would be called “The Sphere on Sunset” call for a “broadcast venue” plastered with LED digital displays to hover over a pedestrian plaza.
The orb building — a hybrid digital billboard and broadcast center — would include a reception area and green room on its lower floors, with a broadcast facility for podcasts and other productions upstairs.
The upper level would feature a semi-enclosed roof terrace with a public viewing area. The ground-level plaza would include an overlook next to the apartments with views of the Los Angeles basin.
The project, designed by locally based Saee Studio, would be a first for West Hollywood, which has considered applications for billboards and buildings along the Sunset Strip — but never a proposal that combined both.
The Sphere is described as a “destination” rather than a drive-by experience, with the new plaza and interactive broadcast center expected to draw foot traffic.
West Hollywood staff, while receptive to the glass bubble, recommended that the bottom of the building have greater than 8 feet of clearance from the plaza — preferably at least 12 feet.
State business records indicate Sunset Plaza LLC is led by Dr. Ara Tavitian, a physician and the founder of Kanon Ventures, a private equity firm also based in Atwater Village.
In May last year, the doctor scored a $150 million loan for a proposed $1.2 billion redevelopment of The Reef, an 807,000-square-foot office, showroom, event and retail property in South Los Angeles, according to The Real Deal.
Despite critics’ concerns about gentrification, Tavitian aims to redevelop The Reef into a skyscraper with a 208-room hotel, 1,444 condominiums and apartments and 67,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.
He has already spent $17.6 million on three electronic billboards visible from the 10 and 110 freeways.
In 2020, Tavitian and The Reef were allegedly tied to a bribery scandal involving former L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar. No specific charges were ever filed against Tavitian or his development firm.
— Dana Bartholomew