By ELIZABETH HAYES
The new and improved Hollywood Boulevard won't just consist of a few renovated blocks west of Highland Avenue, if a pair of developers succeed in their plans to extend the hub of the retail and entertainment corridor farther east.
Up until now, most of the efforts to revitalize the area have been targeted west of the $385 million TrizecHahn Corp. entertainment-retail project at Hollywood and Highland.
But just to the east of Highland, investor Mehdi Bolour is crafting plans for his 200,000-square-foot parcel of land. He intends to develop a boutique hotel just west of McCadden Place, and is in discussions to sell the remaining 173,000 square feet of property surrounding McCadden to a major developer, possibly to build another hotel and retail. Under his scenario, McCadden Place itself would be closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall.
A little farther east, Westwood-based CIM Group LLC, in partnership with the Eisen Family Trust, plans to redevelop a 32,000-square-foot site at Cherokee Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The plan is for a 64,000-square-foot project that would have retail and restaurants on the ground floor and an entertainment venue on the second floor, CIM officials said.
"It goes into a part of Hollywood Boulevard that hasn't been touched by the stardust of the (newly renovated) Egyptian (Theatre) or TrizecHahn. Yet we think we have a concept that will extend the magic of the boulevard farther," said John Given, senior vice president of development.
The site is across from the famed Frederick's of Hollywood building and gives CIM a major player at Third Street Promenade and Old Pasadena property at both ends of Hollywood Boulevard's retail-entertainment hub.
CIM is one of the players working on major developments west of Highland. The company is in the process of buying the Hollywood Galaxy, which includes the Hollywood Entertainment Museum and vacant retail, just east of La Brea Avenue. Last year it bought an office building across the street from the Galaxy, and renovation plans are in the works for the ground-floor retail space.
Meanwhile, Hollywood Orange Land LLC is planning a 34,451-square-foot mixed-use commercial project on Hollywood Boulevard, also west of Highland.
"As more happens, it feeds on itself," said Richard Ressler, CIM's investment committee chairman.
Bolour, who has called his project Hollywood Plaza, also has ambitious plans. "The site is very good for a hotel because a lot of tourists are coming in," he said.
Bolour declined to identify the three developers with which he is negotiating, but said the selection would be made "very soon." He is not pursuing an operator yet for the hotel he plans to build because he wants to coordinate the plans with the developer.
John Tronson, a principal at brokerage Ramsey-Shilling Co., said the retail portion of Bolour's proposed developments would have a hard time enticing customers because little of it would front Hollywood Boulevard. But he said the concept has been executed successfully elsewhere, include One Colorado in Pasadena.
"I think it's critical to the maturation process of the boulevard that we get quality developments east of Highland," Tronson said. "An area that was thought to be a no-man's land a year ago has quickly become one of the hottest spots on the boulevard."
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