Community groups voice concerns over Hollywood skyscrapers

Hollywood Towers

Handel Architects

An artist's rendering of Millennium Partners' plans to develop an area near the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. The developers say they will spend $664 million on the project.

More than 40 community groups have formed a coalition to stop a $664 million development near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

The project, developed by New York-based Millennium Partners, will have two skyscrapers at 35- and 39-stories tall. The development proposes to bring luxury hotel rooms, housing and businesses, along with 2,900 construction jobs, according to spokesman Brian Lewis.

But Robert Silverstein, an attorney representing groups opposed to the project, said the new buildings could bring more traffic to the area, creating an unsafe environment. He estimates there will be 25,000-to-30,000 new vehicle trips daily to the area. 

"The gridlock we currently experience [on the 101 highway] will become a fond memory," Silverstein said. "The traffic conditions will become so horrific, that it's almost unimaginable."

Concerns have also been expressed by the California Department of Transportation. The state agency, which is in charge of highway construction, planning and maintenance, said in May that the City of L.A.'s study did not analyze the traffic impact it would have on the state's highway system.

"As a commenting agency, we would like to, once again, bring to the City's attention that the project impacts will likely result in unsafe conditions due to additional traffic congestion, unsafe queing and difficult maneuvering,"  wrote Dianna Watson, a California Department of Transportation senior transportation planner, in a May letter. The letter was addressed to then-councilmember now L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

Watson said she was concerned that the city's traffic study for the Millennium Project did not meet the requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act. 

But developer Millennium Partners said it is confident with the city’s traffic study. The developer says it will “take its cues” from L.A.’s planning and transportation departments.

Millennium's project aims to make the area around the Capitol Records building  more walkable. The company says on its website that the site had been isolated in the past and it wants to energize the area with housing, businesses and restaurants.

Garcetti expressed his opposition to the project just prior to the Planning Commission granting its approval in late March. He said he wanted to see a downsizing of the buildings, a sentiment echoed by Mitch O'Farrell who has succeeded Garcetti in the 13th Council District.

Millennium recently reduced the height of the buildings from 44- and 52-stories. But Silverstein points out the square footage of the buildings will remain the same, and more cars will still be an issue. 

The L.A. City Council is scheduled to vote on Millennium's plans on July 24.

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