By Edwin Folven, 3/29/2012
Projects Would Include Housing and Retail
Since 1919, the Musso & Frank Grill has sat on Hollywood Boulevard, and behind it sits a parking lot. While there are no plans to change the landmark L.A. restaurant, a development company has purchased the lot to build retail and housing.
The Champion Real Estate Company purchased the 50,000-square-foot parking lot between Las Palmas and Cherokee avenues on March 15 from a company known as Common Fund, a money management firm with real estate holdings in Hollywood. Greg Beck, vice president of Champion, said no development plans have yet been formulated, but the company may eventually seek to build mixed-use housing and retail, or a hotel project. The purchase price was not reported at the request of the seller, Beck added, but media reports have placed the cost at around $10 million. Beck said the parking will remain in place indefinitely until development plans are created.
A proposal for a second parking lot at Selma and Highland calls for two buildings with 248 apartments, and 13,000-square feet of commercial space. The site is currently occupied by parking lots and a building used by the Musicians Institute and Panavision, and the new development would have space for those operations, Beck said. That project is expected to cost $100 million, and an environmental impact report is currently being created.
“The proposed project is a transit-oriented, mixed-use development combining industrial, educational, student housing, apartments, community-serving commercial, and public parking,” Beck said.
Some people questioned whether more development is beneficial for Hollywood, including Chris Shabel, a 34-year area resident who is also a member of the Studio District Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee.
“Some of these things they want to build are too big. The parking is just horrendous in a lot of parts of Hollywood, and I would like to see these projects scrutinized more,” Shabel added. “A lot of them never consider the neighborhoods, and never consider the residents. Getting the old residents out and bringing new residents in is the trend today.”
Julie Wong, a deputy to Councilmember Eric Garcetti, 13th District, confirmed the applications have been submitted for the Selma and Highland project, and added that it is very early in the process. Public hearings on the project will likely be scheduled later this year.
“Champion’s interest in investing in Hollywood is a testament to the neighborhood’s strength and we welcome the opportunity to explore bringing new housing and retail and creating jobs here,” Garcetti said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the proposal is received by surrounding community as it moves through the planning process.”