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The Retreat’s Developers Answers Your Questions
The Retreat, the forthcoming hotel and residential project from developer Gary Safady is a stunning 33-acre property tucked away in L.A.’s Benedict Canyon. With the property envisioned as a neighborhood-serving and environmentally sustainable investment, Safady answers community questions that shed light on the exciting addition to the local landscape.
Q: What exactly can we expect from The Retreat? I’ve seen signs on Mulholland and have heard that The Retreat is subject to local controversy and rumor. Can you address the concerns?
A: Thank you for bringing this up. We understand that there is a lot of rhetoric and falsehoods being shared about the project which is why I’m taking the opportunity to speak out and address community questions and the misleading information that is being shared.
The Retreat, first and foremost, will be a neighborhood-oriented project, much smaller in size than many of the iconic destinations in L.A. It will offer a modest but luxurious 59-room hotel comprised mostly of bungalows, eight private homes, and a dog-friendly community park. The hotel project will include 19 total structures, and as I mentioned before, most of them are bungalows. We will be adding a 260-car repository that terraces up the mountain that will be virtually unseen from surrounding streets. Retaining walls will be constructed that will be virtually invisible off-property and covered in greenery and installed to enhance slope stability, maintain the topography and install necessary fire and life safety infrastructure while also keeping wildlife permeability and protection top of mind.
Q: Will the construction affect the neighborhood?
A: This is an important question and it’s something I’ve spent years studying. Too often our canyons are being decimated by ongoing construction projects that prioritize building size at the expense of open space. Conversely, The Retreat respects the canyons with its immense area of 75% open space. Its eco-friendly building practices will further limit the number of trucks and workers going to and from the site when compared to traditional construction like the kind that happens in our canyons all the time. I live in Benedict Canyon and I’ve seen first-hand how construction projects can impact our streets as workers park on the street and trucks haul dirt and supplies; however, during construction of The Retreat, all parking and staging will be done on-site so neighbors don’t have to worry about trucks or traffic littering the streets. As part of our passion for preservation and maintaining the natural topography, the volume of dirt removed from the property will be limited to approximately 95 truck trips NOT the 10,000 truck trips that have been falsely reported.
Q: Will construction take 10 years to complete? Will there be new off-site roads created?
A: No, The Retreats will not take 10 years to complete. The first phase of construction will be the larger phase and will include all of the site work and infrastructure, building the modest hotel, and two of the eight residences. This phase will take approximately 36 months. The remaining six homes will be built as each home is sold. Due to the vastness of The Retreat, these homes (Lots 3-8) are a great distance to surrounding neighbors – thus will not be a nuisance. In addition, we will implement good neighbor practices during construction which will include worker carpooling, on-site parking and staging, no street parking or loitering, and a commitment to the environment.
There will not be any new road development off-site – meaning no roads in the surrounding area will be changed beyond repaving and the addition of three or four new street lights. There could potentially be a short period where we will have to tap into the utility lines in the public right away but that’s it, and no further.
Q: Is there an environmental impact from The Retreat? And how are you embracing the wildlife that exists?
A: The Retreat is an environmentally conscious and forward-thinking development and every step of our planning keeps that in mind. Among our planned efforts is to increase the number of protected trees on the property by more than 1,000, which will result by planting nearly 800 net new trees. As The Retreat is an indoor/outdoor living experience where every guest and resident can be one with nature in a sanctuary setting, we will embrace our local wildlife and will not be adding perimeter fencing to ensure the wildlife can stroll freely throughout the property.
Q: Will The Retreat has an impact on the community?
A: We are building The Retreat as a way to protect the Canyon and to add value to the neighborhood. The Retreat will have a tremendous economic impact on the community as it creates new, good-paying jobs. According to an analysis by CBRE, the project is projected to generate more than $85 million in new tax revenue for the City in its first decade of operation. Equally, if not more important, The Retreat will result in more than $800 million in new regional economic activity. Since we announced the project a few years ago, we have worked with the community to hear its questions and concerns and make adjustments to ensure the vitality of the project.
Q: How will The Retreat compare to other similar hotels in residential neighborhoods?
A: This is such a great question because those hotels – such as Hotel Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel – are iconic destinations that our community wouldn’t be the same without.
Having said that, there are a number of differences. The first is size. The Retreat is only going to have 59 rooms and eight residences sitting on 33 acres. By contrast, the Hotel Bel-Air has more than 100 rooms and The Beverly Hills Hotel has more than 200 rooms, each on only 12 acres. Second, the valet entrance at The Retreat will be set further back from the road – more than one-third farther back than The Beverly Hills Hotel and unlike the street-level entrance of Hotel Bel-Air. Further, we will not be allowing guests to park on the streets – all parking will be on the property itself. Third, we’ve heard the concerns about loud events and parties. We will not have a dedicated ballroom and we will voluntarily limit our capacity to a fraction of what other local hotels are able to accommodate.
Q: How can I support The Retreat?
A: You can support the development by visiting our website and clicking on the Show Your Support button to sign up. The website is theretreatatbenedictcanyon.com. Furthermore, we continue to welcome questions from our neighbors and I encourage you to submit them via the contact tab on the website as well.