1) In regards to the Tower of Terror at the corner of Sunset and Vine: Yes, it is undergoing loft conversion by the CIM Group, with early rendering of a revitalized tower here and here. As noted, by multiple emails, the tower was featured prominently in the 1970's disaster flick "Earthquake". It's been abandoned (save for a few homeless folks) since a fire crippled the building's electrical system in 2001. The building is now being used as a giant billboard. Rumor has it, the heat generated by a budding Pitt-Jolie romance (captured in the ginormous ad for Mr. and Mrs. Smith) set the building ablaze again in May 2005.
2) We're going to take a wild guess, and agree with the reader's hunch that the "mine shaft" looking set up on the west side of La Cienega, north of Fountain, is part of the Sunset Millenium Project. The development is being built on either side of La Cienega in West Hollywood near Sunset Blvd., with promises of a W Hotel, a 190-unit condo complex and oodles of shopping opportunities. Or possibly it's the new entrance to Middle Earth.
3) Where exactly in Hollywood is the Whole Foods going, a curious gourmet shopper/reader asks. FranklinAvenue posits some interesting theories. First, we can all agree that there will be no Whole Foods at the site of the Derby on Los Feliz. That's just crazy. And Councilman Tom Labonge is all over that. Second, Franklin Avenue writes: "Early on, we heard it would be built on the former site of The Velaslavasay Panorama, just west of Western Ave. on Hollywood Blvd. (When the Panorama folk were forced out, they blamed the coming Whole Foods.)" Now, the rumor from the frozen foods aisle says that Whole Foods will replace the soon to be expired Albertson's on Hillhurst. Blogger Mitch Glaser of Paradox Unbound waxes and wanes on Whole Foods and places his finger at Hollywood and Western, across from the Ralph's, as a likely site. Only time will tell.
4) A reader provides some insight into the "swimming pond" in Santa Monica: "It's community corp. of santa monica's project. affordable housing of some kind. it's a tiny site and significant parking requirements so they're going way down. they had some major construction problems doing the subterranean parking -- something to do with lagging that impacted the neighboring property." Also, our Santa Monica Correspondent tracks down info on the two new developments on the north side of Main and finds they are also Community Corp. developments, with the company newsletter [PDF] providing details and pictures (see page 3).
5) FINALLY, a kind reader answers the question about the Lofts at Hollywood and Vine, formerly the Equitable Building (6253 Hollywood Blvd.). "I heard something about them doing a percentage of units as 30-day
stays to hedge agaist a downturn in condo market. 30-day stay wouldn't be counted as hotel so developer wouldn't have to register as an hotel." We're not sure what the delay would be, in answer to the original question. Maybe someone else can provide further detail.
More Questions? More Answers? Email them to us, firstname.lastname@example.org. A late edition of R&B this afternoon.