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Eye to eye with the Hollywood Sign

By Aaron Blevins, 12/13/2012

Development would dwarf Hollywood’s tallest buildings


Although opponents to the Millennium Hollywood project requested an extension, the public comment period has ended for the 1 million-square-foot mixed-use development slated for the land surrounding the Capitol Records building.

Millennium Partners has proposed a project in Hollywood that would construct two towers, 44 stories and 52 stories, respectively. The development would add approximately 1 million square feet of mixed-use space near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. (photo courtesy of Millennium Partners)

The project is likely to have hearings before the Los Angeles City Council and the city’s Planning Commission next spring. It currently proposes 492 residential units, 200 luxury hotel rooms, 250,000 square feet of office space, 35,000 square feet of restaurant space, 40,000 square feet of sports club use and 15,000 square feet of retail space. Much of that new space will be housed in two towers that could be 44 and 52 stories tall.

“We have worked hard over the last several years to design a project that is a new Hollywood icon for the 21st century,” Millennium Partners co-founder Philip Aarons said in a press release. “And I believe that the [draft environmental impact report] shows how our project is not just fitting for the community but will fit into its vision for its future. We have spent the last several years discussing our plans with the Hollywood community and we look forward to continuing those conversations over the months ahead.”

However, some neighborhood organizations and residents have their doubts. Patti Negri, president of the Hollywood Dell Civic Association, represents 1,100 households directly north of the project. She is worried about the future of those homes.

Negri said the Hollywood Dell neighborhood only has a few entrances, and the towers would be constructed near Ivar and Argyle avenues, further hampering access to the area. She said this could pose additional problems for first responders who have been dispatched to the neighborhood. Millennium officials, though, have offered the residents access to a shuttle bus.

“It’ll have to be a hover craft,” Negri said.

She said infrastructure is of major concern, as the neighborhood operates on sewers built in the 1920s. The project will bring many more new toilets and showers to an area that has “ancient infrastructure,” Negri said.

“I just see sewers exploding everywhere,” she added.

The association is also concerned Millennium officials have not conducted enough studies to determine how the project will affect traffic and parking, Negri said. She said they have not studied impacts in the Hollywood Hills either.

“We’re not against [the project], we just want a little bit of moderation,” Negri said.

Transparency has been an issue as well. The civic association president said concerned residents were not given ample time to review the draft environmental impact report, and many of their questions went unanswered.

“Everybody’s talking about the growth of Hollywood, but nobody’s talking about the people who live and work there,” Negri said.

Whitley Heights resident Emma Riordan is also concerned with how the project will impact the area. Her major concern is traffic and whether emergency personnel will be able to respond to the area in a timely manner.

“If something happens, if somebody has a heart attack, if we have the big earthquake … it’s kind of scary. It’s just a scary situation,” Riordan said, adding that opponents have been striving to raise money toward an independent traffic study.

She said traffic is already a “nightmare” in Hollywood, and such a large development could have large impacts on the congestion.

Some officials, though, have lauded the project. Maureen Schultz, senior vice president of Capitol Records, said she is supportive of the proposal and the changes that it could bring to the Capitol Records facility.

“We have been talking from the outset of the design process with Millennium/Argent and they have been very receptive to our issues,” she said.

Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, 13th District, could not be reached for comment, but his deputy chief of staff, Yusef Robb, said the office has not taken a position on the project.

“We want to see what the actual proposal is going to be, and we’ll take a position,” he said. “As always, our support is contingent on public support.”

Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber board voted to endorse the project last month.

“The board see this as the next step of developing urban fabric in Hollywood,” Gubler said, adding that it will bring jobs to the area as well.

He said the chamber understands the concerns that residents in the area have, but people will have plenty of opportunities to voice their grievances. Gubler said density near mass transit is necessary for Hollywood’s future.

“If Los Angeles is going to plan for the future, Hollywood needs to be built where it makes the most sense,” he added.



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One Response to “Eye to eye with the Hollywood Sign”

  1. Meghan says:

    Garcetti was also not available for comment to The L.A. Weekly..about the ILLEGAL (HIGHER DENSITY) Hollywood Community Plan.He went into hiding over it..When they finally chased him down in his hallway he lied ‘there is no specific plan’ The Planning Commission had just passed it.. L.A. Weekly and L.A. Times were there (Dec. 8, 2011)
    He has listened to NO ONE about The ILLEGAL HCP…A meeting with an underling who admitted he did not know enough about THE HCP to converse about it was the extent of his meeting with Hollywoodians. And he won’t take input or listen to anyone about Millennium’s projects. This has been on going for two years.. HE has been ABSENT..
    He is funded by Millennium (L.A. Ethics website) the family and Argent Ventures their partner..
    He is for this. This, and The higher density HCP are HIS babies..HIS “New Golden Age of Hollywood.But he is too much a COWARD to talk about them.
    Ofcourse The Hollywood Chamber is for this..Millennium is their Diamond Level Donor.
    They have set up a PAC there supporting Garcetti.
    Some of the PAC Board Members also sit on Board of The Hollywood Cap Park. The head of Millennium is the Chair of The Cap Park.. Garcetti has succeeded in also getting City Council to fork over tons of money for The Cap Park.
    And he continues to get away with this..And they continue throwing money at him for his campaign.
    At a Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting when Millennium presented..stakeholders yelled out ‘NOBODY WANTS THIS!!’ But Millennium and their go to buy,Garcetti will never listen ..It has been rejected by more then one Neighborhood Council, and most Homeowners Associations.
    And yet..this insanity continues.
    As garcetti lies, denies and goes into hiding.
    He should be ashamed..
    Instead, he wants to be Mayor.

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