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Controversial Hollywood Towers Go Before Planning Commission

The mayor and city planning department's vision of a taller, denser, and more transit-oriented Hollywood is facing stiff community opposition as a proposal for a $664 million, two-skyscraper complex goes before L.A.'s Planning Commission.
March 28, 2013, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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John Gittelsohn reports on New York-based developer Millennium Partners plan for a massive 1.1-million-square-foot project, featuring twin 55-story towers, to be built adjacent to the iconic Capitol Records building where "stars from Frank Sinatra to Taylor Swift recorded hits."

"The so-called Millennium Hollywood project, which is being voted upon today by the city’s planning commission, comes as Los Angeles experiences an apartment and hotel construction boom following the worst property crash since the Great Depression," notes Gittelsohn.

Designed by architect William Roschen, who is the current chairman of the planning commission (and has recused himself from voting), the project is being challenged by community groups for its impact on traffic, city services, and the character of the National Register-listed Hollywood Boulevard historic district. "The taller of the two towers would be almost twice the height of Hollywood’s next biggest building, and dwarf the 13-story Capitol Records property next to the site," says Gittelsohn.

There have also been complaints from community groups and the California Department of Transportation that the project's environmental impact report is faulty.

Backers note that the project embodies the vision of a more compact and transit-oriented Hollywood outlined in the recently approved community plan. “One of the reasons we have so much congestion in Los Angeles is because it’s a horizontal city, not a vertical city,” Leron Gubler, chairman of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said in a telephone interview. “If Los Angeles is ever going to change that paradigm, now is the time to do it in a few core areas.”

A blistering op-ed opposing the project was published today in the Los Angeles Times.

Editor's Note: The author of this post serves on the board of Hollywood Heritage.

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Published on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Bloomberg
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