The City of West Hollywood has completed its application screening process for Round 2 of the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program. These projects will contribute to a dynamic environment on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood – one that preserves the past, celebrates the culture of the Strip, supports artistic expression, rehabilitates existing buildings, generates new pedestrian-oriented development, and creates signage that is creative and integrated into architecture, with advertising content as its own form of art.
Round 2 of the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program was preceded by Round 1 and Round 1.5 efforts. On April 1, 2019, the West Hollywood City Council adopted an update to off-site advertising signage policy for Sunset Boulevard. The goal was to ensure new high-quality signage projects that are creative, contextual for Sunset Boulevard, and sensitive to adjacent land uses. The Sunset Arts & Advertising Program emerged to create new opportunities for digital off-site advertising signage and billboards along Sunset Boulevard within the Sunset Specific Plan. As requested by the West Hollywood City Council, all potential projects are required to be screened for design excellence prior to being allowed to file an official application with the City’s Planning & Development Services Department. In 2019, the City Manager selected a representational group, known as the Design Excellence Committee, comprised of experts from the fields of architecture, urban design, advertising, digital sign technology, arts, and historic preservation to assess the design excellence of each application.
The Design Excellence Committee has now completed its review and scoring for each screening application submitted in Round 2. Scores were based on specific criteria related to design quality, land use outcomes, economic development, public benefit, sustainability, inclusivity and diversity, and adaptable design. Each member of the Committee scored each of the screening applications independently. Final scores were determined by calculating the cumulative average of the individual scores, which were then sorted from highest to lowest. To be considered “top-scoring,” Round 2 projects had to meet an average point threshold of 225 out of 250 points and be among the highest scoring projects in their respective categories. A maximum of four proposals could be top-scoring in the Rescreen category, four in the Open Submission (one was reserved for a Cultural Resource if top-scoring) and no set number of top-scoring applicants were reserved for the Gateway category – meaning if the Committee determined exceptional designs (greater than 225 points) for all Gateway locations, then all proposals would be eligible to be top-scoring and selected to be a part of the Program.
Round 2 categories included: 1) Rescreens, which allowed Round 1 applicants West of La Cienega Boulevard the opportunity to redesign and resubmit their proposals; 2) Open Submissions, a category open to any project proposal along the Sunset Strip; 3) Cultural Resources, projects eligible or designated as a West Hollywood Cultural Resource site; and 4) Gateways, projects at key intersections along the Sunset Strip that would provide digital programming coordination through a multi-parcel design and may be a combination of existing, proposed, approved, new and/or converted billboards. The City received a total of 27 screening applications and 10 met the requirements to be “top-scoring.” Only the 10 top-scoring projects will have the opportunity to move on to the next phase of the program with City Staff.
A downloadable Top-Scoring Project Booklet document (PDF) along with all of the project scores will be made available, Friday, June 24, 2022 by 5 p.m., on the City of West Hollywood’s website at https://www.weho.org/city-government/city-departments/planning-and-development-services/long-range-planning/land-use-planning/sunset-boulevard-arts-advertising. The report will contain summary descriptions and photos of the featured top-scoring applicants. A project of this scope and scale is unprecedented and the caliber and innovation of many of these projects is truly impressive. The top-scoring projects continue to set a standard for innovative and architecturally integrated signage that will solidify the Sunset Strip as one of the world’s premier locations where art, culture, and advertising intersect.
The screening application process for Round 1 concluded in 2020 and resulted in twenty-one (21) top-scoring projects. Round 1.5 of the program was open on a rolling basis throughout 2021 and resulted in eight (8) top-scoring projects. Round 1 applicants have an expiration date of July 18, 2022 for their formal application to be deemed complete with City staff, approximately two (2) years after receiving a top-scoring concept award letter. So far, four projects have been approved by the West Hollywood City Council and are either currently operating or are in the permitting and/or construction phase of the program. Staff continues to work with the remaining Round 1 and Round 1.5 applicants through the formal application, design review, and formal approval process.
For more information about the Sunset Arts & Advertising Program, including program requirements, benefits to the City, and selected Round 1 participants please visit: https://www.weho.org/city-government/city-departments/planning-and-development-services/long-range-planning/land-use-planning/sunset-boulevard-arts-advertising.