In July, a single representative filed an application with the City of Los Angeles Planning Department for a “TOC Tier Verification,” the first step in planning a new development under the city’s Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) rules, for all the parcels between 800 S. Fairfax and 840 S. Fairfax. This includes the recently-landmarked Tom Bergin’s pub and restaurant at 840 S. Fairfax, its parking lot, and two apartment buildings just to the north, at 830 and 800 S. Fairfax.
Back in August, the Beverly Press reported that Bergin’s, which had been named a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in June, after several contentious hearings, had been sold to new owners, listed only as “840 Fairfax, LLC.” But according to the Beverly Press story, the deal may include plans to revive the now-closed tavern, and former Bergin’s owner Derek Schreck said he is “staying on as a consultant to help get the business reopened ‘as soon as possible.'”
The Buzz learned recently, however, that both the Bergin’s property and the apartments to the north are now likely owned by the same entity (or entities), and the TOC tier verification application indicates that some sort of joint development plans may be in the works for some or all of the parcels.
Signs of these plans began to appear in April of this year. On April 3, according to the California Secretary of State’s office, a corporation called “830 Fairfax, LLC,” was registered in the state of California. Then, on April 8, according to local real estate records, 830 Fairfax, LLC, purchased the apartment complex at 800-830 S. Fairfax, which is adjacent to the north side of the Bergin’s property, for just over $15 million. Next, the very similarly named “840 Fairfax, LLC,” was registered with the state on April 30, with a signatory who was also one of the signatories for the 830 Fairfax, LLC incorporation. And, as noted by the Beverly Press, 840 Fairfax, LLC purchased the Bergin’s property, just south of the apartment complex, in July.
Then, shortly after the Bergin’s sale, the “TOC Tier Verification” application was filed for all the parcels between 800 and 840 S. Fairfax, including both the apartment buildings and Bergin’s. Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) is the city program that grants developers certains kinds of density and other bonuses in exchange for including a minimum number of low income units in developments near major transit lines. A TOC Tier Verification is an administrative review that officially confirms which of several density and bonus “tiers” a parcel falls into. It is also the first step in the city filing process for planning a new TOC development. According to the Planning Department page for the verification application, the parcels from 800-840 S. Fairfax would fall into Tier 3 and Tier 4 of the TOC program, which provide the greatest incentives to developers (see chart below).
So it now appears that the Bergin’s property and the apartment buildings at 800-830 S. Fairfax are likely owned by the same entity, or at least have an owner in common among multiple entities, and those new owners are at least exploring a potential new Transit Oriented Communities development that would involve both sites. Or at least parts of both sites.
How the Bergin’s building itself might – or might not – figure into this project is not yet known. The building’s landmark status should mean that it couldn’t be razed or significantly altered without going through an extensive review process at the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources. During the landmark hearing process, however, the Bergin’s parking lot, which lies between the Bergin’s building and the apartment buildings to the north, was separated and explicitly exempted from the pub’s landmark status. So the parking lot could much more easily be in play for redevelopment, perhaps without the Bergin’s building itself. (In fact, at the landmark hearings, Schreck argued for the separation of the parking lot for just that reason.) And combining the parking lot space with the apartment building parcels would still be an attractive option for the new owners/developers, even if the pub itself is not involved.
So far, we don’t know any further details of a potential project, but the wheels do seem to be turning in that direction, and we will definitely keep our eyes on the space.