After decades of being the subject of ridicule and scorn, Hollywood redevelopment is finally unfolding and on a grand scale.
Leading the rebirth is TrizecHahn Corp.'s Hollywood & Highland project, a much ballyhooed, $385 million retail and entertainment complex that broke ground last October and is scheduled for completion in 2001.
On its heels is the $70 million Sunset & Vine development being undertaken by Regent Properties Inc., which calls for renovating the fire-ravaged TAV Building and 73-year-old Doolittle Theatre.
Directly across Sunset, Pacific Theatres is developing its $90 million Cinerama Dome Entertainment Center, which will feature entertainment, restaurants and theaters surrounding the historic geodesic structure.
This triumvirate of projects is the linchpin of Hollywood's renaissance.
"It's been a lengthy process. You're seeing years of planning. Now the timing is right, the market is favorable and the leadership is there to make the projects come to fruition," said Anne Marie Gallant, deputy administrator of economic development for the Community Redevelopment Agency.
Despite adoption by the City Council in 1986, the Hollywood Redevelopment Project got off to a sluggish start. Activists stymied efforts with a lawsuit that dragged on for years. Then the recession, followed by the Northridge earthquake, posed further obstacles to progress.
"When I first came here in 1992 and we talked to retailers, they all said the time wasn't right. Nobody wanted to be the first one and make the investment," said Leron Gubler, executive director of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Yet, with the combined efforts of Mayor Richard Riordan and Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, vocal opponents on many issues but clearly in agreement on Hollywood, the revitalization began in earnest.
To date, the CRA has agreed to pour about $150 million into Hollywood's key projects, $90 million of which was approved for the Hollywood & Highland project, $26.4 million for the Regent project, and $32.2 million for Pacific Theatres.
Much of the CRA's initial focus was on grass-roots efforts to set the stage for a comeback.
The agency provided $725,000 for the Hollywood Boulevard Security Foot Patrol between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street. To remove visual blight, the agency granted $150,000 for Operation Clean Sweep for graffitti removal.
Following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the CRA received nearly $8 million from emergency allocations of federal Community Development Block Grant funds to renovate six buildings, including the Mayer Building, the Egyptian Theatre and the Max Factor building.
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