Last spring, word came that a West Hollywood fixture, French Market Place, would close for a “renovation,” but our friends at Eater found that workers’ rumblings suggested a more permanent closure was on the horizon. Turns out, they were right. At a public meeting next month, prolific local developer Jason Illoulian of Faring Capital will present his company’s plans to redevelop French Market Place and an adjacent building that once housed the Voyeur and DBA clubs, reports WeHoville; Faring Capital bought the properties earlier this year. The gist is that the DBA building will stay and the French Market space will be replaced by a mid-rise mixed-user with space for restaurant, retail, and offices.
In operation since 1974, French Market Place and the parking lot next to it will give way to a four-story structure with 50,000 square feet of space for offices, 8,600 square feet for a restaurant or restaurants, 4,400 square feet of retail, and 3,200 square feet that could become either a bar or nightclub. The whole thing would sit atop three levels of underground parking. “Start-ups and other creative businesses will be the target for some of the building’s proposed office space,” says WeHoville, with plans calling for an “incubator” (a coworking space for people growing businesses) among the office tenants. The new structure would have an outdoor eatery and a paseo that connects the Santa Monica Boulevard side to the back of the structure. The DBA building, which is east of French Market Place, will stay put.
Though Illoulian has submitted preliminary designs to the city of West Hollywood’s Community Development Department, they’ll likely change; he says he wants a design that’s reflective of WeHo’s east side, which staved off serious fancification for some time but is sure on its way now.
Illoulian is a familiar name in WeHo. Either alone or in his capacity as founder of Faring Capital, he’s behind a shiny new mixed-user headed for WeHo’s design district and the retail/hotel project that could take out the famed gay landmark The Factory. (Illoulian and Faring Capital are also the ones who areredeveloping the Norms site on La Cienega.)
The shuttering of French Market Place was “especially lamented by older members of the local LGBT community,” as it was once a meeting place for a gay political action group in the 1970s. In recent years, the French Market had struggled, with its owner telling WeHoville over the summer that its anchor restaurant was losing money.