COVID-19 is not stopping the construction (or destruction) at the historical Factory Building in the heart of West Hollywood’s Boystown. Developer Faring’s Robertson Lane project is well underway and it’s a gut-wrenching scene at 652 N La Peer Dr, as workers pound away at the construction site while West Hollywood residents self-quarantine at home.
Photos taken yesterday show the outer shell and skeletal frame of what was once home to gay dance clubs like Studio One and The Factory, as well as lesbian bar, Girl Bar, followed by many other LGBTQ spaces throughout the decades.
As it has been reported previously, developer Faring is making way for a mixed-use project that includes a 114-foot, 241-room hotel and retail complex with 750 underground parking spaces. The Factory building is in the process of being dismantled before it is moved, reassembled, and whatever remains of the building will be repositioned to stand parallel to Robertson Boulevard. In addition to the hotel, Robertson Lane will include dining, entertainment and “park-like pedestrian paseo.” It also promises to deliver the largest ballroom space in West Hollywood.
On June 24, 2019, the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission approved an amended design that expanded portions of the restored Factory building from seven of 12 original modules to 11 of 12 modules, adding 33% more linear footage of the Factory building along Robertson Boulevard than was originally planned. Faring partnered with the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance to amend the Robertson Lane project.
Faring initially planned the complete demolition of The Factory. The developer reconsidered and was forced to recognize the historical significance of the building after the community voiced that they wanted to “Save the Factory.”
Faring’s Robertson Lane project is endorsed by the Los Angeles Conservancy, The National Historic Trust and West Hollywood Preservation Alliance.
Chris Morris, the Los Angeles field director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, commended Faring for positioning the Factory building in a way that will provide increased functionality, visibility and access, and greater public understanding of the importance of The Factory and the roles it has played in West Hollywood’s history.
Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy president and CEO, also approves of the project and was quoted as saying that, “Blending old and new is the wave of the future in greater Los Angeles. We’re excited to work with Faring to make this project succeed – which, to us, means creating an economically viable project that fully honors the past, tells a meaningful story and all of its layers, and celebrates our cultural heritage.”
However, what’s happening right now to the Factory building is a reminder that the historic LGBTQ space as we know it, will never be the same.