"We would not jump in without a national retailer, like a Hard Rock (Cafe) or a Planet Hollywood," Lyons said.

But according to Hard Rock Cafe officials, there are no plans to open in Hollywood.

Planners said they have approached Niketown as a potential retailer, but like Hard Rock, it has no current plans to open a store in Hollywood.

"It's not an option," said Mark Sacks, Southwest marketing director for Niketown. "If there wasn't currently a Niketown in L.A., Hollywood would be looked at."

The area is stuck in a retail Catch-22, insiders say. Because of its neglected appearance, it desperately needs a major commercial project to attract merchants as well as locals and tourists. But developers have been unable to sign the necessary tenants to support their proposed multimillion-dollar developments.

TrizecHahn Centers has proposed building 620,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and cinemas down the street from the Galaxy at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Developers are also planning to expand Mann's Chinese to include 4,000 new seats and 14 new screens.

"We've talked to all the major studios about having a marketing platform to show off their studio and encourage a presentation that doesn't occur anywhere else," said David Malmuth, senior vice president of development at TrizecHahn.

Malmuth said the retailers he wants to sign are those who would help recreate the spirit of old Hollywood, such as one-of-a-kind clothing outfits.

"We're not looking at themed restaurants," said Malmuth.

No tenants have been announced for the project.

Cameron Silver, owner of Decades, a couture vintage shop on Melrose Avenue, said that having a store on Hollywood Boulevard would "make sense logistically" because of where most of his customers live, but it's not a practical idea.

"It's funny, most of my customers live about half a mile from there and I love the area, but I think our clientele would be turned off to shop there," he said. "Let a major retailer get their first."

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