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The Los Angeles Department of City Planning released the final environmental impact report on Sept. 3 for the Hollywood Center Project, a mixed-use development proposed on parking lots around the Capitol Records Building on Vine Street.
The Hollywood Center Project is proposed by the same developer who previously received permission from the city to build the Millennium Hollywood project, which was later scrapped after a court ruling in 2015 in favor of opponents. The new proposed project by developer MP Los Angeles is a 4.5-acre, mixed-use community that would be built just north of Hollywood Boulevard on both sides of Vine Street. The Capitol Records Building will be preserved.
The project will include two buildings – one 35 stories and the other 46 stories – along with two 11-story buildings. It will house 1,005 residential units, of which 872 will be market-rate units and 133 will be for low income seniors. MP Los Angeles plans to have the senior housing managed by the nonprofit Menorah Housing Foundation.
According to a project description posted online by the planning department, an alternative option is being considered based on input received during the draft EIR process that began in April. Under the “Office, Residential and Commercial Alternative,” the project site would instead be redeveloped with 903 residential units, of which 770 would be market-rate units and 133 senior affordable units. The alternative project would also include up to 386,347 square feet of office space and up to 27,140 square feet of commercial uses, within three new mixed-use buildings ranging in height from 13 to 49 stories, with a maximum building height of 595 feet. The Capitol Records complex would also be preserved under the alternative plan.
The final EIR released last week is available for public review by visiting planning.lacity.org/development-services/eir. The public may still provide written comments about the project and they will be included in the case file. The Los Angeles Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the project on Oct. 15. Following the commission’s approval, the project will then move forward for consideration by the Los Angeles City Council.
The developer has pointed to support in the community from nonprofits and others who provided input during the draft EIR process. They included representatives from social services organizations including St. Barnabas Senior Services and the Menorah Housing Foundation.
“It was gratifying to hear support for our plans from such a diverse group of community leaders and members,” said Mario Palumbo, managing partner of MP Los Angeles. “We are proud of the partnership with Menorah Housing which allows us to be a part of the solution to addressing this city’s most critical need.”
Opponents are rallying against the Hollywood Center Project, many of whom formerly opposed the Hollywood Millennium project. They are calling attention to a new California Geological Survey letter submitted in July during the draft EIR process that hypothesizes there may be active fault lines running beneath the project site that are off-shoots of the Hollywood Fault, which runs north of the property. MP Los Angeles has commissioned private geological studies that found no active faults running beneath the property.
“Who should the public believe? A self-interested developer with billions at stake, or independent governmental agencies that have no dog in this hunt except to protect the public from earthquake dangers,” said attorney Robert P. Silverstein, who filed the lawsuit that resulted in the 2015 ruling halting the Millennium development and is currently leading the opposition to the Hollywood Center Project. “The CGS is critical of Millennium’s studies because the developer’s studies were biased, flawed and basically worthless.”
The CGS’s claims are based on an analysis of seismic reports by the U.S. Geological Survey included in the draft EIR indicating a fault may be near the proposed project site. MP Los Angeles refuted the CGS’s claims as “false and misleading” and stands by seismic studies conducted over the past five years by Group Delta, a private geotechnical engineering firm. Those studies, reviewed and approved by city geologists, state that no active faults run beneath the property.
“CGS still refuses to accept the science and continues to chase a preordained conclusion that has been repeatedly disproven by the facts,” said Philip Aarons, a principal at MP Los Angeles. “When the science does not support an active fault, that science should be respected, not undermined by repeatedly disregarding the exhaustive, reliable data that demonstrates no active faults exist on the site.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, plans to consider input and findings in the EIR, spokesman Tony Arranaga said.
“Councilmember O’Farrell will review public testimony, as well as evaluate the impacts and merits of the project and will make further comments at that time,” Arranaga added.
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