By Edwin Folven, 10/11/2012
New owner plans a scaled down development
Columbia Square on Sunset Boulevard was once the home to CBS Radio and Television, housing the studios for KCAL-TV, KNX and KCBS-FM.
But since 2007, the complex at 6121 Sunset Blvd. has sat vacant while its owner pursued a plan to build a project with a 28-story tower, which would have been the tallest building in Hollywood. The owner, AREA Property Partners, received permission to build from the city in 2010, but never secured financing. Now, it was announced that Columbia Square was recently sold to a new owner, Kilroy Realty, which plans to breathe life into the former studio that first opened on Sunset Boulevard in 1927.
Representatives of Kilroy did not return calls, but the company issued a press release stating the selling price was $65 million. The new plans call for a mixed-use development that is scaled down from the original project. The three buildings facing Sunset Boulevard, which were designed by renowned Swiss architect William Lescaze, will be preserved. Approximately 550,000 square feet of retail, residential and office space, which could be leased to entertainment or media companies, will also be constructed around the buildings. It is unclear whether a tower would be included in the new plans, which have not yet been submitted to the city.
Councilman Eric Garcetti, 13th District, supported the original plan approved in 2010. Although he has not made a decision on the new development, Garcetti said the new project has potential.
“I want to see Hollywood continue to be the capital of the entertainment industry, and this new media campus will help keep us at the forefront, with new jobs and economic opportunity,” he said.
Julie Wong, a deputy to Garcetti, said it is uncertain whether the city council would need to approve any new project, since the previous project has already gained approval. However, the new plans are required to be submitted to the city’s Planning Department, which will decide whether the impacts created by the new plan should be reviewed by the city council.
The information provided by Kilroy Realty stated that the company is working with Los Angeles-based architects and designers such as Roschen Van Cleve, Rios Clementi Hale and House & Robertson on plans for the new development. The company is hoping to start construction next year, with a completion date in 2015.
Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of commerce, said he was encouraged to learn about the sale of the property and the plans to bring it back to life.
“They are redesigning the square footage of what was originally proposed, and my understanding is that they will make it a project that is a little easier to build,” Gubler said. “Everybody wants to see Columbia Square rebuilt because it was an important part of Hollywood history. It think it will be a shot in the arm for that area around Sunset and Gower.”