Los Angeles Business Journal

Council OKs Giant Towers Next to Capitol Records

By Howard Fine Originally published July 24, 2013 at 3 p.m., updated July 24, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

Paving the way for a major change to the city’s skyline, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved the controversial development of two skyscrapers that will tower over Hollywood’s famed Capitol Records building.

In a 13-0 vote, the council approved plans by New York developer Millennium Partners to build two towers of 39 and 35 stories with more than 1 million square feet of office, retail, hotel and high-end apartment space. The towers would be built on about 4 acres of parking lots surrounding the 13-story Capital Records tower.

Millennium Partners had originally proposed towers of 55 and 45 stories, but opposition from local residents and elected officials forced the developer to scale down the buildings. However, the buildings will have a slightly larger footprint and give the developer the same square footage.

The changes were enough to convince Mayor Eric Garcetti and Hollywood’s city Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to support the project.

The compromise has not satisfied opponents, who say the planned towers would still dwarf the Capitol Records building and that the project would create more traffic on the area’s already congested streets. The California Department of Transportation weighed in with its opposition, saying the project would further stress traffic levels on the nearby 101 Freeway.

Also, project opponents said the towers would be too close to an active earthquake fault zone and that the city had not properly evaluated the seismic risk.

The next step: Millennium Partners will seek building permits and opponents may sue the city under the California Environmental Quality Act.