Hollywood is another step closer to welcoming a two-skyscraper project that would flank the iconic Capitol Records building. Despite concerns from the neighborhood, the majority of plans for the more than 1 million square foot, mixed-use Millennium Hollywood plans were approved Tuesday by a City Planning Department board.
The board passed the project's environmental impact report and tentative tract map. Whether the project's developers would be allowed to build up to 6-to-1 floor-area ratio (FAR)—six times the building’s footprint—is still in question. Current zoning only allows projects to build up to 4.5 times its footprint.
The towering buildings—containing apartments, retail, and offices—would occupy a 4.47-acre lot north of Hollywood Boulevard. Designed by Handel Architects and Roschen Van Cleve Architects, with landscaping by High Line designer James Corner Field Operations, Millennium Hollywood is being touted as a model of smart growth that makes use of the many bus stops and Metro Red Line Hollywood and Vine station one block away.
Residents however fear that Millennium Hollywood would only mean even more traffic congestion, worsening air quality, and decreased response times for police and firefighters.
George Abrahams, speaking for the Argyle Civic Association, the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association, and SaveHollywood.org, a coalition of neighborhood groups opposed to the Hollywood Community Plan (HCP), which governs the project area, said the approved environmental report was troubling because traffic alleviation plans outlined were only relative to what is currently built in the Hollywood area. “The traffic study should have been done relative to the maximum build out,” he said.
“We’ve heard their concerns and we’re working to address them,” said Brian Lewis, a representative from Millennium Hollywood. Though he asks, “Whose interest is served by having a vacant parking lot by the Capitol Records? The city is going to grow and the best way to accommodate that growth is put projects that make use of that transit.”
A number of business groups have announced their support for the project, including the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Business Council, the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles. They cite an economic study by Eduardo Santana of Robert Charles Lesser and Company that found the project is projected to create 5,900 jobs, of which 2,900 would be involved directly with Millennium Hollywood’s construction. It would also provide the city of Los Angeles with $4.3 million in net recurring revenue once completed. Mayoral candidates Wendy Gruel and Eric Garcetti have also viewed the project positively. The debate continues next month as the Planning Commission weighs in on the development March 28.