Swarm appeals hit Hackman’s $1.25B revamp of LA’s Television City 

Nine businesses and groups, including Caruso’s The Grove, fight to block studio project

Hackman Capital Partners' Zach Sokoloff; Rick Caruso; rendering of Television City, 7800 Beverly Boulevard (Getty, Hackman Capital Partners, Foster + Partners & TVC)
Hackman Capital Partners' Zach Sokoloff; Rick Caruso; rendering of Television City, 7800 Beverly Boulevard (Getty, Hackman Capital Partners, Foster + Partners & TVC)

UPDATED JULY 1 at 3:45 p.m.:

Businesses and neighbors of a $1.25 billion plan by Hackman Capital Partners to redevelop Television City in the Fairfax Historic District want to turn the dial.

Nine businesses and community groups have appealed the TVC 2050 plan by the Culver City-based investor to revamp the 25-acre landmark production complex once known as CBS Television City at 7800 Beverly Boulevard, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.

Specifically, the groups are appealing the Vesting Tentative Tract Map and Environmental Impact Report, which the L.A. City Council approved in May.

Television City, which sits next to The Grove shopping center owned by billionaire developer Rick Caruso, would include more than 1.7 million square feet of soundstages, offices and shops. Hackman had initially planned for a 150,000-square-foot, 15-story office tower, but cut it out of the plan this year. 

Hackman bought the CBS studio, founded in 1952 next to the Original Farmers Market, in 2019 for $750 million. CBS is its major tenant.

Three years ago, the firm led by Michael Hackman filed plans to redevelop and renovate the studio lot at Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, where such shows as “All in the Family,” “Sonny and Cher” and “American Idol” taped.

The latest plans call for adding 550,000 square feet of non-studio office space as well as an office tower that would be 100 feet taller than any nearby building, according to the Business Journal.

But a spokesman for Hackman disputed those figures, saying in an email to TRD that all the offices are designed for production and entertainment tenants. “Buildings on nearby Wilshire Boulevard are dramatically taller than Television City including proposals for projects that exceed 400 feet,” the email added.

The project would take two decades to complete, with 20-ton trucks conducting more than 100,000 trips driving through the busy Fairfax District, according to the appeals, which cite traffic, air pollution, impacts to emergency response and more. In contrast, the Hackman spokesman said the construction timeline was 32 months, with completion scheduled in 2028.

The appeals were filed by such businesses and groups as the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association, Fix the City, Miracle Mile Residents Association, Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development, Park La Brea Impacted Residents Group, Save Beverly Fairfax, A.F. Gilmore, Broadcast Center Apartments and Caruso’s The Grove.

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One group, Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development, submitted more than 2,200 local signatures on a petition against the project to L.A. City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, who represents the area.

“It is our understanding that most, if not all, signatures were collected in 2022, prior to the studio’s downscaled plans,” the spokesman for Hackman said in his email. “Nearly all public comments (near four to one margin) at recent hearings were in support of Television City.”

The renovation plan will modernize the studios and preserve its status as a premiere filming location, according to Hackman.

“The community has filed nine compelling appeals about the many negative impacts the Television City project will bring to the Beverly Fairfax neighborhood,” Diana Plotkin, president of the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association, said in a statement.

“It is our hope that the developer, city staff and our council member will support us in making the needed reductions to the project to make it compatible with the historic Beverly Fairfax neighborhood,” she said. “If not, we will need to consider other options including litigation, action at the ballot box or even a possible referendum.”

Zach Sokoloff, senior vice president for asset management at Hackman, took aim at billionaire Rick Caruso, owner of The Grove, who conducted a failed campaign for mayor.

“The opposition’s latest press release reveals an effort organized by wealthy business owners using their deep pockets and political muscle to fund a campaign that puts private gain over the needs of the city, the studio jobs the project would create and the people in the entertainment industry who are the heartbeat of Los Angeles,” Sokoloff told the Business Journal. 

“This latest batch of coordinated appeals does not raise new substantive issues and mostly regurgitates comments that have already been fully addressed by the city.”

Update: Previous story did not include factual and contextual comments from Hackman spokesman.

— Dana Bartholomew

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