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Hollywood Makes ‘Capitol’ Improvements

By Jose Martinez, 5/18/2011

Proposed Project at Iconic Tower Features Hotels, Housing, Retail and Office Space


The owners of the Capitol Records building are seeking city approval to build the Millennium Hollywood project, a one-million-square-foot development, including two high-rise buildings, surrounding the landmark tower.

A rendering of the proposed project at the Capitol Records site shows how the towers will interface with surrounding buildings in Hollywood. (photo courtesy of Handel Architects)

The mixed-use project has a proposed budget of between $750 million and $1 billion. Developers Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures are working with architect Gary Handel, of Handel Architects, to design the complex, which will be primarily residential, but will also feature a hotel, office space, restaurants, retail stores and a sports club. The Millennium Hollywood project would be located on the current Capitol Records parking lot and another lot across Vine Street. The developers bought the property in 2006, but postponed plans for the project when the recession occurred.

“We bought the Capitol Records building and the adjacent parking lot with the expectation that we would move fairly quickly with a mixed-use project,” said Philip Aarons, of Millennium Partners. “We launched in 2006 with a good deal of enthusiasm and then, as we were starting this process, the world, from our perspective, fell apart. We spent years listening to the community and city officials and have refined our thoughts to make it more consistent to what the community wants.”

Now, the developers are moving forward with a slightly altered version of their original design.

Millennium Hollywood would be the largest real estate development in the area and would cost more than the $615-million Hollywood and Highland complex built in 2001, and the $600-million W Hotel complex that opened in 2010.

“This is the most exciting project on the drawing board for Hollywood,” said Leron Gubler, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “This is a terrific example of an urban in-fill project, where you fill in on less used properties creating a vibrant space. The tower potential will raise a few eyebrows but fits very well with what’s happening in Hollywood. What we need now are more iconic, scenic projects that show that Hollywood has arrived and is on the cusp of the 21st Century. Hollywood & Highland is a great project, but this is a chance to build something further east that can create a gathering place for the community.”

While the 13-story Capitol Records building would remain intact, the surrounding complex is expected to feature approximately 490 residences, a 200-room hotel, 150,000-square-feet of office space and 100,000-square-feet of retail space.

Although there is much enthusiasm, the developers are hesitant to call the project a Hollywood revival.

“This has a scale to provide a destination that exists at Hollywood & Highland where people can find an urban place they can call home,” Aarons said. “We want to give the area a sense of vibrancy. We want neighborhood-oriented retail in this project. We want to make this a neighborhood and a community. We also want to reinforce the Capitol Records building as a revitalized office building.”

The developers expect that the city approval process will take between 18 and 24 months, and that construction could take three years to complete. For now, they have not considered asking the city for funding or incentives.

“We haven’t started that conversation,” Aarons said. “We haven’t analyzed it yet. We don’t know the scope of approval yet.”

Working within city design guidelines and environmental planning, developers, who held a public scope meeting last week, will soon reach out to neighborhood councils and residents to continue the design process.









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