Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Appellate Court Sides with Opponents of Hollywood Skyscraper Project
By Eric Heinz,
 City News Services
Published August 2, 2019

Downtown Los Angeles, California, USA (Image Source via AP Images)

Opponents of a proposed development that would put two skyscrapers adjacent to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood declared victory today in response to an appeals court panel ruling that the
project’s environmental review failed to meet state standards.

But the project’s developer, MP Los Angeles, is already moving forward with a new but similar development proposal at the site that is undergoing its own environmental study. The company contends the revised project would have a vastly smaller traffic impact — one of the issues that sparked community opposition to the original proposal.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to Hollywood and realizing our vision for the underutilized parking lots surrounding Capitol Records,” Mario Palumbo, a managing partner of MP Los Angeles, said in a statement.

“That is why we have been continuously working on revised plans for this iconic property.

“Our proposal not only activates the eastern edge of Hollywood with a complementary mix of uses in an elegantly designed and environmentally conscious development, but it also responds to the city’s pressing need for more housing units,” Palumbo said.

The original skyscraper project, known as Millennium Hollywood, was challenged on environmental grounds by the community group Stopthemillenniumhollywood.com. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge sided with the group, leading to the appeal to the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, a three-judge panel again sided with the community group, saying the project “failed to comply with (the California Environmental Quality Act’s) requirement of an accurate, stable and finite project description.”

“This is a huge victory,” said Robert Silverstein, attorney for the community group, which has been opposing the development that was originally proposed in 2008 and revised in 2011. “The (Los Angeles) City Council and Millennium lost 100 percent of the issues they had asked the court to review.”

MP Los Angeles announced last year that it had developed another version of the project, now renamed Hollywood Center. It envisions a 4.5-acre mixed-use development and also includes a pair of skyscrapers adjacent to the Capitol Records building.

“Created by MP Los Angeles to respond to Los Angeles’ critical need for housing, Hollywood Center comprises two buildings of 35 stories and 46 stories and two mid-rise buildings of 11 stories each, with a total of 1,005 residential units,” according to the project website. “Of these, 133 will be set aside for very-low and extremely-low income seniors.”

The new proposal excludes a previously proposed gym and 100,000 square feet of office space, in a move to reduce traffic.

Millennium estimates construction of Hollywood Center would create 7,560 full-time and part-time jobs, with annual operation of the project supporting another 1,230 full- and part-time positions.

Project opponents have also argued that the development would be situated along an earthquake fault. According to a 2014 report by the Los Angeles Times, California’s state geologist concluded that an active earthquake fault is underneath the proposed skyscraper project. The state appeals court panel did not address that issue in its ruling.

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