Sunday, March 31, 2013

In Los Angeles, jobs, open space, and "new opportunities" part of pitch for Millennium Hollywood; journalist sees project as "an outgrowth of a perfect civic compost"

From a 3/28/13 Los Angeles Times op-ed essay, A real Hollywood flop: The Millennium Hollywood project is just what the city doesn't need, by former reporter Laurie Becklund:
On Thursday, the city's planning commission is likely to consider a development proposal that will affect the lives of everyone who lives in Hollywood or passes through it on the Hollywood Freeway, one of the most congested in the nation.
The 1.1-million-square-foot development, Millennium Hollywood, would be twice the size of the Los Angeles Convention Center and allow a tower nearly 600 feet high, vastly out of proportion with today's Hollywood. Its boosters say it would provide jobs, stimulate business, lure thousands of new tourists and "reinvigorate" Hollywood. The developers, a New York hedge fund and an owner of the land under Grand Central Station, are asking for an unprecedented 22-year contract to build out the sites just north of Hollywood and Vine.
Indeed, the planning commission approved the development unanimously. 

The pitch
A non-street level view

The project is being is pitched (see graphic at right) as offering "responsible, transit-oriented, mixed use development that will create new jobs, new pedestrian open space, an overall improved neighborhood, and new opportunities for Hollywood."

Along with the developers, Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures, "the Millennium Hollywood team is comprised of a world-class team of architects and urbanists," including Roschen Van Cleve Architects Handel Architects, and James Corner Field Operations. 

(The latter, by the way, has worked with SHoP on the interim open space on the arena block, though I'm not sure how much fo their design got used--it's not cited in Field Operation's list of projects--and the new New Domino plan in Williamsburg.

The "perfect civic compost"

Becklund wrote:
A Hollywood resident for 28 years, I started looking at this project almost two years ago, when I heard about it almost by accident. Since then, I've come to see it as an outgrowth of a perfect civic compost: a city budget crisis, mayoral politics, an understaffed newspaper stretched too thin to fully scrutinize the project and New York developers who specialize in "public-private partnerships."
You might say the same thing about some projects in Brooklyn.

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