LA WATCHDOG - When the Villaraigosa appointees on the pro development Planning Commission blessed the Millennium Hollywood plan to develop 1.1 million square feet of mixed use development on a relative postage stamp of only 4½ acres just north of the historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine, it approved an additional 300,000 square feet of development that will result in an estimated $300 million in incremental profits for the New York based developer.
However, little consideration was given to the devastating impact this oversized, out of proportion development would have on the Hollywood community, its residents and their safety, and its already gridlocked intersections and heavily trafficked residential streets.
The defining feature of this $664 million luxury development is two skyscrapers that will be implanted on both sides of Vine just north of Hollywood Boulevard, adjacent to and across the street from the cylindrical Capitol Records building, one of Hollywood’s most famous landmarks. These soaring structures, the tallest of which is 55 stories, will house 500 multimillion dollar condominiums and a 200 room five star hotel with rack rates in the range of $500 a night.
This development will also have about 100,000 square feet of new Class A office space (about the size of The Cesspool at 1601 North Vine); another 85,000 square feet devoted to restaurants, a sports club, and commercial retail space; and 2,000 parking spaces in eight levels of not too attractive above grade parking.
But the Alien Implants will cause Hollywood to be an absolute traffic hellhole during the three to four years of construction as thousands of construction workers along with cement mixers, cranes, and delivery vehicles will create massive gridlock, diverting traffic onto residential streets, backing up traffic on the Hollywood Freeway, and restricting access to and from The Valley.
Despite the claims that Transit Oriented Development will facilitate the flow of traffic, the paralyzing gridlock will only get worse once the skyscrapers are completed as residents, hotel guests, sports club patrons, diners, shoppers, tourists, and 1,300 workers pour in and out of this densely populated development, especially during rush hour.
Parking will also be an absolute nightmare as the 2,000 parking spaces are not considered sufficient to service the building and replace the existing public parking. As a result, the nearby residential streets will be inundated by cars, creating an unsafe environment and generating even more pollution as cars impatiently cruise the neighborhoods in search of parking.
This impending traffic fiasco was confirmed by the California Department of Transportation when it notified the City that the analysis by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation was inadequate and relied on outdated methodology, that the project would create dangerous driving conditions, and that the local gridlock would adversely impact the Hollywood Freeway.
This massive development will not only overwhelm the streets, but the rest of the local infrastructure, including sidewalks, water, electric and gas utilities, and the ability of the already understaffed local police and fire departments to maintain a safe environment and to respond to emergencies.
The Alien Implants will also alter Hollywood’s skyline, creating vertical blight as the 585 foot and 495 foot skyscrapers will dwarf not only the iconic Capitol Records building, but every other structure in Hollywood, including the new but struggling W Hotel complex at Hollywood and Vine.
And more than likely, these crafty New York developers will try to further increase their haul at our expense through the use of highly profitable super graphics, digital billboards, or other messaging technology, adding to City’s already considerable billboard blight.
But the most distressing aspect of the Millennium Hollywood project is the ability of the developer to “cajole, strong arm, or financially incentivize city politicians into making concessions and giving breaks” without the proper consideration of the impact on local and regional traffic and Hollywood’s 190,000 residents.
While we may discount Hollywood’s battle to preserve its community, the same forces that want to destroy its very fabric will be looking to create oversized and out of character developments throughout the City.
That is why all Neighborhood Councils, homeowners associations, and community groups need to join Hollywood in opposing the 1.1 million square foot Millennium Hollywood project and the Alien Implants.
We need to pressure the members of the City Council to reject the recommendations of the politically appointed, density loving Planning Commission and to consider revising the Hollywood Community Plan that was based on flawed projections of population growth.
The City Council should also direct that the height of any buildings be limited to the current level of 150 feet.
The City also needs to develop a credible analysis of the development’s impact on traffic that complies with the state environmental and transportation laws and policies and takes into consideration the 57 other projects that are currently being developed or planned for Hollywood.
In 61 days, we will have a new mayor and a reconfigured City Council. What better way to earn our trust and confidence by realizing that our neighborhoods are not for sale to well-heeled, slick talking, non-transparent, self-serving real estate developers who are not willing to respect our communities and their values.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.) Graphic credit: LA Daily News.
Vol 11 Issue 35
Pub: Apr 30, 2013