Friday, December 13, 2013

Hollywood NIMBYs Set Their Sights on High Line West

Hollywood Boulevard is rapidly evolving along the path of the Metro Red Line, but some neighbors are going into the future kicking and screaming.  Beverly Hills based developer Sonny Astani announced plans in October 2012 for a mixed-use project just across the street from the Hollywood/Western subway station.  High Line West would create 280 residential units, 12,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, and an elevated public park.  Sounds okay, right?  Not according to a couple of appeals filed with LA's City Planning Commission.  The two appellants, both represented by the notorious Robert Silverstein, argue that the Planning Commission has not adequately considered issues including traffic, height, financial incentives, construction impacts and (of course) earthquake danger.  One appellant also brings up High Line West's treatment of Falcon Studios, a Los Angeles designated Historical-Cultural Monument which is partially preserved under Astani's plans.  The appellant argues that anything short of a full adaptive re-use of Falcon Studios should result in the rejection of the project.  Truthfully, it sounds like the old performing arts school is lucky to receive even partial preservation, considering it was nearly demolished to make way for a mini-mall in 1988.  Former owner Polly August described Falcon Studios "an ugly building in an ugly neighborhood."  A quarter-century later, Ms. August might be surprised to see how things have started to change.  The CPC will discuss the two appeals in a December 19th meeting; the Department of City Planning has recommended that they both be denied.

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