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Hollywood Surprise

They say one picture is worth a thousand words. But if you look at the schematics of the proposed Millennium Hollywood project, you may conclude that one rendering can kill a thousand arguments.

There are many sound reasons that favor construction of the two-towered complex, which would be just north of the storied intersection of Hollywood and Vine. But most of those arguments are killed the instant you look at the renderings of what those towers will look like.

In case you haven’t seen one of them, take a look at the artists’ representation at right. If you’re like me, you said something like: “Holy guacamole. Those towers really are out of character with the neighborhood.” OK, so you probably didn’t use the word “guacamole,” but it’s likely you truly were astonished.

Look closely between the towers. There, at their base, you may see a structure you recognize. Yes! That’s the Capitol Records Tower. Suddenly, it’s lost. That’s the comical result you get when you build a 55-story tower and a 30-some-story tower on each side of a 13-story one.

The Capitol Records Tower – and now “tower” is a laughable name to be associated with it – is a much admired and quirky building. It stands out in a graceful way without dominating the skyline of that central part of Hollywood. But if the Millennium project is constructed as presently proposed, the result will diminish and even embarrass one of America’s best and most interesting buildings; the Capitol Records building will suddenly look like Hervé Villechaize standing between Wilt Chamberlain and Yao Ming.

Look, I’m not anti-development. And I suppose a lot of folks in Hollywood would agree that new buildings should occupy what are now a couple of parking lots near the Capitol Records building. What’s more, those new buildings could poke up somewhat higher than their neighbors, and probably many reasonable people would go along. I know I would. But those new structures should fit in with the overall neighborhood. And these don’t.

I mean, just look at the rendering and imagine that the proposed buildings were half as tall. They might still be too high.

I know that a lot of work went into creating an overall plan for Hollywood that allows taller buildings. And the proposed structures, at least reportedly, conform to that plan. But I imagine that a fair number of those who agreed with the plan must cringe a little when they look at the renderings. “Umm, you know, I didn’t realize I was agreeing to that.”

Still and all, it would be good to build next to the Capitol Records building. The area could use new amenities and new buildings. Just not so much. And not so tall.

Charles Crumpley is editor of the Business Journal. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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