FAIRFAX NEIGHBORHOOD - For the first time since launching its PR blitz last year for a massive redevelopment of Television City at Beverly and Fairfax, Hackman Capital Partners took part last week in a community meeting that was not on its own turf and terms. The session was organized by Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development, a coalition of stakeholders formed to give the community a voice in a development that will shape the neighborhood for decades to come.
Despite the season’s first rainy night, the event at Greenway Court Theatre drew a near-capacity crowd, including high-level staff from Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky’s office. Following a brief presentation, the Hackman team took comments and questions for over an hour.
Revelations were few and far between. When challenged, they pledged to explicitly exclude nightclubs and digital signs. The bulk of the evening was largely given to sharp objections from locals and familiar obfuscation from the Hackman team.
The mass of their proposed project is conservatively estimated to equal two Staples Centers on the site, and on size they budged not one iota. Ditto height, which includes an office tower reaching 225 feet towards the heavens – many multiples of the surrounding buildings.
They stuck to their guns on a 20-year “construction window” that would allow them to build in phases to meet changing market conditions, as well as their bid for Regional Center designation. Regional Centers like Century City and Downtown LA enjoy the greatest density and latitude of any category in Los Angeles. Despite Hackman’s insistence that they will build far less than allowed under the designation, audience members remained unconvinced.
One concerned neighbor -– okay, it was me -– likened Hackman’s argument to asking for a credit card with a $20,000 monthly limit but promising never to charge more than $4,000. The Regional Center designation would be permanent and would open a Pandora’s box of entitlements. Other skeptics noted that a subsequent owner would certainly feel no obligation to deny itself the full development rights and market opportunities of a Regional Center.
Traffic was a frequent topic, and Hackman’s bland assurances and voluminous traffic study did little to allay concerns that 20 years of “phased” construction and a forecasted work force of nearly 8,000 people just might impact already clogged streets and lengthen emergency response times. Other attendees wondered how Hackman’s much-touted “world’s first all-electric studio” would impact an aging power grid that already strains to serve the community at large.
Councilmember Yaroslavsky has called for additional community meetings once the final Environmental Impact Report and Signage Plan are released and before the city begins formal hearings. Stay tuned.
(Shelley Wagers, Co-chair Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development, www.fixtvc.org)