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The Emerson Hollywood Building Backlash Begins

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At least one Hollywood-based business is already vowing to fight that proposed Morphosis-designed Emerson College building at Sunset and Gordon. "If it comes down to it, we’ll fight them in court,” Doug Rogers, owner of East-West Studios at 6000 Sunset Boulevard (seen above), told us yesterday, referencing plans to challenge the city over the 10-story building. Rogers has numerous problems with the project, including the fact that construction work will halt recording work (given vibrations and other residual effects) at his own studio. Disputes between Hollywood businesses and the city over development seems to be a theme—witness last year’s dust-up over 6230 Yucca, a development which Capitol Records complained would damage sensitive recording equipment. Regardless, during a lengthy phone call yesterday, Rogers outlined his complaints about the project, and said he has the support of Hollywood Heritage, a preservation group whose member Doug Haines has successfully held off construction—via a lawsuit--of Portland, Oregon developer Gerding Edlen’s Spaghetti Factory building. What follows are Rogers' concerns--here's his side of the story!

Among other things, East West studios, the old Western Recorders building, just underwent a two-and-a-half year renovation by architect Philippe Starck. Rogers says he's frustrated with the Hollywood branch of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), because while the CRA supported his renovation of the historic studio (more about the backstory of the building here), the agency never explained to him that the Emerson College project was coming (it'll be at Sunset and Gordon). Rogers says that given his studio's historic designation, the studio can't be used as anything other than that type of business (hence, during the Emerson construction process, he can't do much in terms of work).

Additionally, he voiced concerns about Hollywood development in general. “My argument is that this is the last corridor of the movie business in Hollywood,” says Rogers, referencing the film and recording studios that have left Hollywood, and pointing to deals like the 2006 sale of Sunset Gower Studios to commercial real estate firm Hudson Capital. And then there’s the density question: “People don’t come to Hollywood to see another high-rise,” he says, adding that he is not anti-development. "They come to see history."

And finally, he frets about the variances, and politicians rolling over for "well-funded developers." "If they were building a by- right building on the site," he says. "It would be in balance with the community and take 1/3 of the time."

Meanwhile, we poked around to see what other studios next to the proposed development thought of the project. Allen Sides the owner of Ocean Way Recording at 6050 Sunset Blvd, wrote in an email: "Our biggest concern is street parking. I would insist that Emerson not get any special allowances for reduced parking. If there is not enough parking for all students, staff, and visitors etc. public parking will cease to exist."

For his part, Rogers believe there is adequate parking for the school, but worries about parking for the proposed retail (which'll be open to the public) at the ground level.
· Architect Thom Mayne Brings the Future to Hollywood [Curbed LA]

Emerson College Los Angeles

5960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028