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Neighbors Review Plans for New Firestone Building Project

Rendering of Conroy Commercial’s plan for a new restaurant, microbrewery and coffee kiosk at the landmark Firestone building

At the Sunday, February 5, meeting of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, representatives of Conroy Commercial, owner of the landmark Firestone building at 800 S. La Brea, presented their plans to re-purpose the historic streamline moderne property as a new restaurant and microbrewery complex.

According to the presentation, the remodeled building will retain its key historic structural elements (exterior materials, metal window framing, original “Firestone” signage, etc.), but will be adapted to house a new microbrewery, three restaurant spaces, retail area, and a new outdoor coffee kiosk.  Margaret Taylor, the project’s representative, said other details of the project include:
  • 154 seats in the interior “market hall” area
  • 84 seats in a covered patio area on the La Brea side of the building
  • 28 seats in an uncovered patio area on the 8th St. side of the building
  • Application for a Type 75 liquor license, which allows sales of a full line of alcoholic beverages (for on-site consumption only) in conjunction with a restaurant that has a full kitchen and food service
  • A limited amount of on-site beer brewing
  • No live entertainment, dancing or DJs
  • No on-site parking (though the owners have leased 20 spots across La Brea, in the parking lot of the Bethel Presbyterian Church, and are seeking more spaces nearby)
  • A ride-share drop-off/pickup area on the 8th St. side
  • Hours of 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday
  • Hours of 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
  • On-site security officer from 3 p.m. to closing
  • Employee dedicated to hourly trash pickup
  • Brewery grain silo to be filled only four times per year
  • Restaurant offerings to include Mexican items, hand-tossed pizzas, and Asian dumplings
Project representative Margaret Taylor presents details of the proposed adaptive reuse project for the historic Firestone building to the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association

Taylor also emphasized that the new business is designed to be neighborhood-serving, and not a more regional “destination restaurant.” Owner Brad Conroy added that his team has been in touch with the city’s Office of Historic Resources, which has approved the plans, and said he hopes to create “something for the long term” at the site.

In discussions after the presentation, SSNA board members indicated that they generally like the project, but also said that – because the site is immediately adjacent to a low-density residential neighborhood – they still have concerns about parking, the 2 a.m. closing time on weekends, security, discouraging vagrants from hanging out in the patio areas, possible aromas from the brewing operation, parking for early morning customers at a proposed La Brea-side coffee kiosk, and more.  Due to those as-yet-unanswered questions, the board members voted to oppose the project as currently presented…but also noted that they look forward to further discussions with the project representatives, and said they may be willing re-consider the vote as discussions with the developers continue and specific areas of concern are addressed.

The development will be further discussed at future meetings of the SSNA (which meets the first Sunday of each month), and also at some point soon at the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee (which meets the fourth Tuesday of each month).

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. Neighbors, don’t let the lack parking (next to a subway stop) become the key to demonstrating the infeasibility of reuse. The end result will be making an argument for the demolition for the structure and a much bigger project on the site with just as much retail and dozens of apartments and way more traffic impact. This is a phenomenal opportunity to maintain the scale and texture of the community and the Miracle Mile. Please keep working towards support and approval.

  2. I must agree that the parking limitation is a deal-breaker. Add to that the increased traffic congestion it would bring to La Brea, and I cannot see how the City can approve this proposal.
    george epstein

    • If you look into the future a little bit, Uber and self-driving cars will be coming THIS YEAR. Also, there will be a subway station right next door. How many people even drive to pubs on party nights anymore?

      • I agree with John. If you research further, more people take Uber/Lyft to go anywhere. So George, what else do you have in mind for this building that will not cause parking/traffic problems? Have you driven in LA lately? This neighborhood is a mess. Give the neighbors something they can be proud of. As of now, the only thing that gives this neighborhood CHARACTER are the homeless people hanging out by 8th St. 9th St., Sycamore and Goodwill building. There is also that ugly building that looks like it belongs in El Paso, TX which does not add beauty to this street.

  3. Google [email protected] to see what else will happen if big developers “get their way” = super-sized developments, no rent stabilization, playground for the rich only. Parking doesn’t concern developers and owners, money does.

    • This is not a big development. Did you read the article or did you just COMMENT without reading? The building is a restoration. NO demolition. No addition to existing building. All work will be done INSIDE. So NO I don’t think this is SUPER SIZE development. I also don’t understand your rent stabilization comment? That does not apply to COMMERCIAL buildings. Rent stabilization applies to residential buildings. Why was that even brought up?

  4. All I can say is as a neighbor I WELCOME THIS PROJECT. This is A VERY BORING BLOCK OF LA BREA. VERY, VERY BORING AND SAD. No one goes on La Brea south of Wilshire unless you want $1 tacos at Candela which aren’t that great by the way. We need some action on this block of La Brea. And by action, I don’t mean a burglar getting shot on Sycamore. That’s the most action we got in the last year or so. I’m glad they are doing something with this building. It’s a beautiful building with a lot of things to offer. But damn neighborhood associations…I think they’d rather have this building boarded and rotting. By the way guys I don’t know where you’ve been living in the last 10 years, but LA parking is a nightmare EVERYWHERE. May I also reiterate that more people now take UBER/LYFT when they go out because it is convenient and cheaper. For example, Miracle Mile to Downtown – $11 through UBER (w/o surge). If you drive and valet park, the price is double.


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