Los Angeles Business Journal

Massive Hollywood Development Project Clears Hurdle

By Howard Fine Thursday, March 28, 2013

Los Angeles city planners on Thursday unanimously approved a controversial $664 million development plan with two huge skyscrapers in the heart of Hollywood.

After a marathon hearing Thursday, the nine-member Planning Commission approved the project by Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures LLC, both of New York.

The project calls for two towers of up to 55 stories, with up to 492 apartments and condominiums, a boutique hotel with 200 rooms and office and retail space next to the iconic Capitol Records building north of Hollywood Boulevard on Vine Street. The taller of the two towers would be nearly 600 feet, more than twice the height of the Capitol Records building.

Millennium Partners co-founder Philip Aarons said his company and Argent Ventures were pleased with the unanimous vote.

“We spent a long time crafting our plans for a transit-oriented, mixed-use development with the guiding principle being to honor and preserve the Capitol Records Tower,” Aarons said.

The project next goes to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee and then on to the full council.

But the plan’s prospects for Council approval were dealt a big blow Thursday when Hollywood Councilman Eric Garcetti, a candidate for Los Angeles mayor, came out in opposition to the plan.

In testimony submitted to the Planning Commission, Garcetti sided with the plan’s numerous critics who have said the towers would be out of scale with the Hollywood landscape.

Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district also includes part of Hollywood, has also come out against the project. Both have said in the past they were willing to talk with Millennium Partners about a compromise.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Millennium Partners Principal Mario Palumbo said, “We put forward the plan that we think works best for the site. We have discussed this project with Councilmembers Garcetti and LaBonge on a number of occasions over the last five years and are happy to continue those discussions.”