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Arts and Entertainment

Sportsmen's Lodge Takes One Step Closer To Demolition

December 25, 1964. Officers review site of the 34th annual district convention of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)
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Despite the protest of neighbors and the owners of the hotel itself, plans to demolish the events center at Studio City's Sportsman's Lodge have moved forward. The Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City is still up and running as a hotel, but the banquet and events center is headed for demolition. Developer Richard Weintraub wants to tear it down and turn it into a fancy development that includes high-end retail, dining and a Equinox, according to Curbed LA. The new development would be called Sportsmen's Landing.

Four appeals against the project that were filed after a Planning Commission approved the project earlier in the year were dismissed yesterday by a City Council committee. The entire council will consider the project on Wednesday, the L.A. Times reports.

While Aaron Green, the project's spokesperson, said that they have the blessing of numerous neighborhood groups, other neighbors are opposed. And so is the company that owns the hotel, Ventura Boulevard Association LLC.

The hotel isn't a fan of the noise that construction would cause, and they're concerned about a lack of parking. Neighbors who oppose have a website, and cite parking issues, traffic and noise as complaints.

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From the site:

The project has been approved by City Planning with only 445 parking spots when more than 700 parking spots are legally required. This severe deficit of parking is comparable to the total amount of available street parking spots from Laurel Canyon to Woodman on the north side of Ventura Blvd!  You know the cars will end up in your neighborhoods.

Weintraub leases the hotel, but Ventura Boulevard Association LLC represents a family in New York that has owned the hotel for over 40 years, according to Curbed LA. Weintraub bought the land surrounding the hotel in 2007, and has a lease for the hotel itself until 2062. The hotel owners are suing Weintraub, saying he made improvements to the property without permits, and they're suing the City over the new development plans.

The events center has an interesting history. Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Bette Davis frequented the Lodge, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan had their wedding reception there, according to The Times.

According to L.A. Magazine, the Lodge emerged in 1936 as a small fishing attraction on the side of the road. By the '40s and '50s, the Lodge was a Valley hotspot, frequented by not only politicians and celebrities, but Valley residents celebrating birthdays and bar mitzvahs.

While the Lodge was selected as a historic resource by the City's Survey L.A. project in 2013, a private firm later concluded it was not eligible for historic status.

The developer and the City agreed to add some commemorative fixture to the new development in honor of the history of the Lodge, as well as "two man-made lakes, connected by a stream."