The landscape along Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood between Wilton Place and St. Andrews Place will soon change as a new housing and retail development gets underway at the site of the former Sears department store.
The Continental Development Group is planning to build 475 units of housing and 377,000 square feet of retail space at the site, which stretches from 5601 to 5667 Santa Monica Blvd. The $275 million project, known as Paseo Plaza Hollywood, will incorporate an eight-story building, with surrounding buildings ranging from three to four stories. Parking will be included in three levels at the base off the main building. The site will incorporate open plazas and walkways, and the iconic tower at the former Sears building.
“The architectural design of Paseo Plaza incorporates a contemporary spin on the traditional Spanish colonial design,” said Stephen Jaffe, a spokesman for the developer. “Paseo Plaza is specifically designed to enhance pedestrian flow and encourage visitors to spend leisure time at the property with a central courtyard space, outdoor cafes, water fountains and access from all four streets surrounding the property.”
Jaffe said the project’s housing will also be incorporated in two buildings located across the street on St. Andrews Place. The project will offer 38 units of affordable housing. He said retailers, such as restaurants, clothing stores and entertainment businesses, will open at the site, although he could not identify them because of contractual obligations.
“It’s places we all know,” he said.
The developer purchased the property several years ago and went through the lengthy process of conferring with civic officials and community members. The city granted approval for the project in 2007, but Continental Development Group experienced difficulty in securing funding because of the recession, and postponed building the project for five years. The Sears department store closed in 2008, and the building remains vacant. Jaffe said it is estimated that 1,200 new full-time jobs will be created.
“Hollywood needs a new face. They need new buildings and retail centers and residential centers. It’s good for the community, the developer and the people who have stores there,” Jaffe said. “They are going to preserve the Sears tower because it is symbolic of the great location during the 1930s. It’s very important to preserve the aesthetics of the community’s history.”
City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, added that he is excited the project will finally get underway.
“This is a project that went through a whole lot of scrutiny several years back. They worked with the community, and then the recession hit,” O’Farrell said. “It’s been sitting vacant and vandalized for five years. It’s one of the key District 13 sites for recovery. It will improve the look and feel of the neighborhood.”
Jaffe said final preparations are underway for construction, and it should begin in late 2013 or early 2014.
“They are totally eager to get started,” he added.
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