- The historic Egyptian Theater, built in the late 1920s, is being restored for use by the American Cinematheque, a non-profit theater operator that specializes in historic and unusual films. The redevelopment agency is the developer.
- The Hollywood Entertainment Museum has given the area another tourist attraction. Museum operators have refused to disclose attendance figures, and the museum which received a $2 million grant from the CRA had to recently get a $642,000 advance from the city to pay off construction loans.
Even so, Hollywood boosters believe the attraction will ultimately help bring more visitors to the area.
- The Hollywest Project at the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, also being developed by the CRA, is a residential-mixed use project to include 96 units of senior housing, as well as 118,000 square feet of commercial space including a Ralphs grocery store and a Ross Dress-for-Less outlet.
The current crop of construction projects may fill Hollywood's long-standing need: more tourist destinations.
"For years, people have been bringing their friends and relatives to Hollywood, and leaving with unmet expectations," said John Ash, architect of the Hollywood Spectacular theater project. "We had 9 million visitors a year with no place to go."
"If we cleaned the streets and made it safe, things could work here and provide some authentic experiences for all of our visitors," he added.
Even Hollywood boosters acknowledge that the highly visible population of panhandlers, and the perception of high crime in the area, are obstacles to drawing tourists.
"There's no magic bullet out there and anyone who thinks there is, is kidding themselves,"
said Goldberg aide Roxana Tynan.
To help deal with the problem, there are special patrols by Los Angeles Police Department and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officers. A private security firm has also started providing patrols in Hollywood's business improvement district.
Overall, the new construction seems to have created new confidence in local property owners. At least four office buildings are undergoing major renovation: the upper stories of the El Capitan building, the Hollywood Entertainment Plaza, the Steven J. Cannell Productions Building and Hollywood Metro Plaza.
Office broker Rob Waller of CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc., who has worked the Hollywood area for 13 years, says he's seen the area "come full circle."
"It appears that we have the right elements for what hopefully will be the renaissance," said Waller. "What's particularly striking is that the area has a lot of new (building) owners and new asset managers who are putting their money where their mouths are," said Waller.
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