On the heels of a referendum attempt to stop a large development in Beverly Hills, Englander & Associates was retained by the developer of 8 acres of property that was formerly a department store in the heart of Beverly Hills would be a daunting task under any circumstances.
Englander & Associates was retained to lead the public affairs and communications team for the first mid-rise condominium project ever developed in the City.
Englander & Associates began this project by doing extensive research that included focus groups, public opinion surveys and even a citywide letter to homeowners with a survey response device to learn as much as possible about public attitudes prior to the development of the project.
With this research in-hand, E&A worked with the developer, architect (Richard Meier & Partners) and other members of the team in designing the project and amenities that would be most suited to this tightly knit and historically anti-development city. Because the developers had a strong commitment to an environmentally responsible project (before it was fashionable), the decision to develop the property as a LEED Gold project that was traffic neutral helped make the project palatable to the community.
Englander & Associates developed a communications plan that included local community meetings, a series of mailers and local ads, strategic philanthropy and other activities that gained strong support for the project.
The developers of the property were long-time Beverly Hills residents and that make the marketing of the project somewhat easier. However, midway through the entitlement process, the property was to a British development company that was funded by an Icelandic bank. We immediately had to introduce the new ownership and assure the citizens that the original project was going to be produced as advertised.
9900 Wilshire was approved by the Planning Commission and by the City Council. There was not any attempt at referdum by the Citizens. (Approximately 6 months later, a similar development immediately across the street from 9900 Wilshire was passed by the City Council and it was the subject of a referendum. Englander & Associates was retained to fight that referendum and was successful).