Former Beverly Hills Planning Chair Wants to Build Mini-Sphere on Sunset Boulevard
Plans call for small orb-shaped broadcast studio with new digital billboard screens
It’s the hot new shape in commercial real estate.
The iconic Sunset Strip in West Hollywood may be getting its own spherical development soon, but don’t confuse it as a copycat of the massive LED-covered Sphere music venue in Las Vegas that opened earlier this fall.
Farshid Joe Shooshani, a former chair of the Beverly Hills Planning Commission, has filed plans with the City of West Hollywood to build The Sphere on Sunset, a studio and billboard space very different from Madison Square Garden Company’s immense, LED-plastered music venue. Urbanize first reported that Planning Commission subcommittees will review the development plans Thursday.
Those plans call for a glass sphere 49 feet in diameter, with a nearly 2,500-square-foot broadcast studio inside – along with new digital billboard screens, an open public plaza, a green wall, a viewing corridor, and a public rooftop terrace. An existing billboard, café and newsstand at 8410 Sunset Boulevard would need to be demolished to make way for the development, which is flanked by the Pendry West Hollywood hotel and the Sunset Plaza Hotel.
“The idea of entering a sign and interacting with it was the initial spark that led to several diverse possibilities,” project architect Michele Saee said in a statement. “We designed the sphere as an occupiable billboard that gives the structure an intriguing quality suitable to a variety of experiences. The spherical digital LED billboards and two bookend structures, one of which is also a digital LED billboard, are a gateway to a space of exploration, public interaction, and wonder transforming the site into an engaging, architectural intervention in a location surrounded by tall buildings.”
Shooshani’s entity, named Sunset View Plaza, filed plans for the project, and property records show the family has owned the property since the 1980s.
“This is a difficult project because of both the signage and the unusual glass building,” Shooshani told Commercial Observer. “We understand that there’s more scrutiny on this project, and the city wants to see something perfect, so we’re working on that. The whole idea is to make something extraordinary and iconic.”
The public areas of the project would also chronicle the history of billboards and broadcasting on the Sunset Strip, which has a decades-long pedigree of promoting movies and music albums. That aspect of the project was developed by Shooshani’s son, Aaron.
The project design won multiple awards in 2021, including a Cultural Architecture award at the DNA Paris Design Awards, as well as the Innovation and Technology in the Built Environment Award at the Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Awards.
Nick Trombola can be reached at NTrombola@commercialobserver.com.