LeFrak Organization looks to fast-track Hollywood mixed-use project

Firm wants to limit CEQA-based challenges with “leadership” designation

Feb.February 11, 2019 12:00 PM
LeFrak Organization”s Richard LeFrak and a rendering of the Hollywood project

The LeFrak Organization is restarting a 15-story mixed-use project in Hollywood with a plan in place to limit challenges to its environmental review.

The New York-based developer has submitted the project for designation as an environmental leadership development project. The program limits legal challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act if it meets certain environmental and sustainability standards, according to Urbanize.

LeFrak first proposed the project, at 6436 W. Hollywood Boulevard, in 2016, but saw little activity. It’s planned with 260 rental units and 17,800 square feet of commercial space on its lower floors.

The program is for projects over $100 million and it limits any challenge under CEQA, the state environmental law, to nine months. CEQA requires that state and local governments properly identify how development projects impact local environments and propose mitigation efforts, if necessary, to reduce impact.

The law is frequently used as the basis for legal challenges against development projects. Critics of CEQA argue that anti-development forces “weaponize” the law to delay projects until they’re financially unfeasible or to otherwise pressure developers to capitulate to whatever demands they have. There have been numerous efforts on various levels of government to reduce the impact of the law.

A similar “leadership” certification is also available to fast track projects. The L.A. Clippers last month applied for the designation for its proposed 18,000-seat stadium in Inglewood.

LeFrak acquired the site in 2007 for $5.85 million. There is a 6,000-square-foot Class C office building there currently. The firm expects to open the project in 2023. [Urbanize] — Dennis Lynch

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