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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Planning Commission clears road to 1.4M sf Crossroads Hollywood project

Planning Commission clears road to 1.4M sf Crossroads Hollywood project
By Gregory Cornfield | September 13, 2018 04:03PM

A rendering of Harridge’s vision for the Crossroads of Hollywood mixed-use project. (Credit: Crossroads Hollywood)

There’s one less hurdle on the path to Crossroads Hollywood.

The nine-member Planning Commission advanced Harridge Development Group’s 1.4 million-square-foot mixed-use project to the Los Angeles City Council’s planning and land use management committee.

Crossroads Hollywood would replace existing buildings on the 8.34-acre site along Sunset Boulevard with mid-rise and high-rise structures as tall as 32 stories, revitalizing a four-block area in the heart of Hollywood. It would transform the Crossroads of the World site, which is considered the country’s first outdoor shopping mall.

The plan includes 950 residential units and a 320,000-square-foot hotel with 305 rooms. Some 105 of the residential units would be designated for very-low-income households.

The project also designates 190,000 square feet for new commercial use. It includes 40,000 square feet for retail, a 20,000-square-foot market, a restaurant, a movie theatre and an entertainment venue.

Firms SOM and Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the project to be built with and around the historic features at the existing Crossroads to the World complex, which is a cultural-historic monument that has been used primarily as office space since the 1950s. The designers altered the project’s plans earlier this year to preserve the newly landmarked Hollywood Reporter Building at 6715 Sunset Blvd. The developer had previously planned to demolish the 1930s structure.

Ken Bernstein, manager and principal city planner for the Office of Historic Resources, explained on Thursday that the historic complex will be preserved and revitalized as part of the plan, and remain a centerpiece. Commissioner Marc Mitchell commended the developers for being reverent of the historic elements.

“This project is long overdue,” Mitchell added. “It’s a dormant area of Hollywood and it doesn’t need to be.”

Attempts to protect other structures failed after a city council committee voted against landmarking four additional properties. One of those buildings – the 1923 two-story Bullinger Building at 6683 Sunset Blvd. – will be rehabilitated and incorporated into the new complex, but the others would be demolished if the plan receives final approval. Bernstein said the other buildings could still be preserved by being relocated, but that was not part of the consideration Thursday.

The efforts to preserve the other structures, as well lengthy appeals to the project’s approval, were criticized for attempting to slow development by exploiting relatively loose rules, The Real Deal reported.

Opponents of the project complained Thursday that tourists would lose interest in Hollywood if the city destroys its historic architecture. Commissioner David Ambroz rejected that notion.

“This area needs improvement,” Ambroz said. “I don’t see what we’re trying to preserve in this area. I’ve been in those apartment buildings, it’s rough. This is a regional transit center. This is where density belongs.”

Some commissioners asked to increase the number of affordable units in the project beyond the 105 very-low-income units included by developers to gain a density bonus. Commissioners were particularly concerned about the 40 or so residents living in the existing rent stabilized units on the site who might not qualify for the 105 very-low-income units.

Commissioner Caroline Choe commended the project for adding housing in the commercial and entertainment hub of Hollywood.

“We have a huge affordable housing issue here in Los Angeles,” she said. “But we need to make sure the development is financially feasible. Putting the onus on one project to fix the housing problem is not fair. The developer has been generous.”

The project will likely be considered in the next few weeks by the planning and land use management committee before the full city council can vote on it.