When the Pacific Bank building on Hollywood Boulevard was listed for sale earlier this month, broker Mark Tarczynski thought the owners were a bit optimistic with the $17 million asking price.
But within days, prominent developers and homebuilders were submitting even higher offers.
"I couldn't believe it," said Tarczynski, a first vice president at CB Richard Ellis Inc., who assisted colleague Ed Rosenthal in putting together the listing. "I was literally stunned. It just shows you how much things have changed."
Welcome to a new Hollywood, where developers from around the nation are clamoring to build mixed-use projects and luxury condominiums. Though the community still has its challenges, the malaise of crime and dilapidation that plagued the area for decades is long gone.
Since bottoming out in the early-1990s, when lenders wouldn't finance new projects, the community has turned a corner and today it's attracting close to $1 billion in new development.
The change becomes even more apparent after a closer examination of who is doing the investing.
Up until now the massive, high-profile projects such as Hollywood & Highland and the $325 million W hotel development planned for Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street have been orchestrated by the Community Redevelopment Agency and subsidized with public money.
That's no longer the case. Just last month, the Nederlander family signed a deal with Clarett Hollywood LLC, a partnership of New York-based developer Clarett Group and Prudential Real Estate Investors, which is planning a $300 million mixed-use project straddling a block of Hollywood Boulevard between Argyle Avenue and Gower Street. The development will include housing, retail and restaurants stretching eastward from the Pantages Theatre.
"I don't think five years ago you could have done a project of this scale on Hollywood Boulevard," said Daniel Hollander, a managing director with Clarett Group. "Everyone seems fairly excited that private development of this magnitude now seems to be possible."
While the project is still being fleshed out, Clarett a developer of large Manhattan condominium towers is envisioning more than 1,000 residential units, including as many as 300 condos and 200,000 square feet of shops and restaurants at the nearly seven-acre site.
"This is exciting because it's purely market-driven," said Helmi Hisserich, deputy administrator for the CRA's Hollywood region. "It would be one of the biggest transactions in Hollywood's history."
Long on potential
There have always been people interested in rebuilding Hollywood. In the late 1980s, mall magnate Mel Simon proposed a nearly $1 billion complex on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Highland.
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