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Wed, Jul

Community Outcry Grows as Hackman Capital Partners Pushes Forward with Controversial TVC 2050 Project

LOS ANGELES

NEIGHBORHOOD IMPACT - As formal city hearings rapidly approach, Hackman Capital Partners continues to dig in its heels on “TVC 2050,” a massive project proposed for the site of the iconic CBS Television City at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.  TVC is a classic bait-and-switch:  Billed as a studio that will revitalize LA’s entertainment industry, it turns out to be 75 percent office space to just 25 percent sound stages and production support.

Community concerns start with size.  The proposed redevelopment weighs in at roughly two million square feet.  Twice the size of the old Staples Center.  And at some points, a height of 225 feet or more – 100 feet higher than the tallest building in the area. 

For perspective, compare TVC to Paramount Studios.  At Paramount, which is in a commercial neighborhood, the ratio of structure to site is 1.22-to-1.  At TVC, which is in a residential neighborhood, the ratio of structure to site is 1.8-to-1 (or 1.9-to-1 using standard LA Municipal code numbers.)  That’s a big-ass complex on a site not even half the size of Paramount. 

Construction on that scale would generate enough traffic to bring already-crowded streets to a standstill and block emergency response services.  Far beyond the immediate vicinity, Angelenos who drive on or live along every route that leads to the corner of Beverly and Fairfax would feel the impact.

Hackman’s proposed 20 years of stop-and-start construction means that babies now in diapers would finish high school before their “construction window” closed. Once completed, a forecasted work force of 8,000 people would all but guarantee a future filled with stressed-out commuters cutting through family neighborhoods.

Hackman spins TVC as a studio expansion designed to revitalize the entertainment industry, and they cry foul whenever skeptics – of whom there are many – point to the singular lack of definition and commitment in their application for city permitting. 

Running to hundreds of pages, their application lacks a project plan and a site plan.  What can be gleaned from their voluminous documents peels away the thin veneer of show biz boosterism.

Here’s how the numbers roll up in Hackman’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR). 

 

This table identifies 1.4 million square of office space out of a total of 1.874 million square feet.  A whopping 75 percent of the proposed complex is office space – so, less a studio with offices than an office park with a studio component.  

At Hackman’s nearby Manhattan Beach studio, general office space is leased out to such entertainment industry luminaries as Super Mario Auto Detailing, Ablon Skin Institute, and Choice Manhattan Beach Carpet Care. 

Seeking a way to support the entertainment industry without wiping out one of LA’s treasured neighborhoods, our group hit on what looks like a win-win:  Take Hackman at their word that they need 700,000 square feet of production office space but cut out the general office space.  That eliminates 700,000 square feet of bloat and the traffic congestion it promises but leaves intact every square inch that Hackman identifies as essential to studio operations.  

To no one’s surprise, Hackman wants the whole enchilada.  They outbid several heavy hitters to buy the property in 2019.  Since then, COVID, the writers’ strike, the actors’ strike, and Artificial Intelligence have thrown monkey wrenches into the business, and Hackman wants to keep all their options open.  Understandable, but why should the community bear the brunt of a huge office park in the guise of a studio?  Making Hackman’s investment pencil out is simply not our responsibility.  

As proposed, TVC will wipe out one of LA’s treasured neighborhoods.  Cutting Hackman a blank check would open the floodgates to even more reckless development.  It’s not fair, it’s not reasonable, and it’s not good planning.  

In focused discussions that Council office set up for us with the Hackman team, we set out conditions for our support of the project.  They explained, yet again, that we Just Didn’t Get It.  Then we took our concerns and our proposed solution directly to Councilmember Yaroslavsky.  She listened closely, asked thoughtful questions, and voiced her own view that TVC is clearly too big.  

Between now and the start of hearings in late April or early May, we are asking the community to speak up about the size, the office-park ploy, and the 20-year construction “window.”  Public outcry can give Katy Yaroslavsky ([email protected])  the ammunition she needs to turn TVC into a win-win for the industry and the community.  

(Shelley Wagers is the Co-chair, Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development.  www.fixtvc.org)

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