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First Plans Released For Huge Towers Next to Capitol Records

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Woo-ee, here we go: Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures have released a website and the first big report (the draft environmental impact report) on Millennium Hollywood, their plan to put two big towers on either side of Vine Street by the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood. The project was first announced a year and a half ago and the DEIR still presents only a conceptual plan, analyzing a theoretical project "as tall as 585 feet on the east side of Vine and 485 feet on the west side of Vine." (The idea is that the city can approve the theoretical guidelines and the developers will be able to build up to those limits.)

That caginess might have something to do with the opposition this project has faced--neighbors, specifically those in the Hills, are terrified of new towers and their potential impacts on traffic and views. Preservationists are worried that the much-beloved Capitol Records building will be eclipsed by its new, tall neighbors. Millennium, meanwhile, has secured support from Capitol Records and from Louis Naidorf, the staff architect at Welton Becket who designed the building--"Naidorf says he always expected Capitol Records to be surrounded by taller structures and that he is confident it will be able to hold its own," according to a press release (here's a video of him talking with project architect Bill Roschen).

The (conceptual!) plan is to build two towers on 4.47 acres "using the Capitol Records Tower as a centerpiece"; they'll hold "approximately 492 residential units, 200 luxury hotel rooms, 250,000 square feet of Class A office space including Capitol Records and the Gogerty Building, 35,000 square feet of restaurant space, 40,000 square feet of sports club use, and 15,000 square feet of retail space." Millennium Hollywood will also include about 2,000 parking spaces in eight levels of above-ground parking (in podiums at the bottom of the buildings) and up to three levels of below-ground parking. (The project will replace multiple surface parking lots.)

The new buildings will be designed by Gary Handel Architects and Roschen Van Cleve Architects, but these renderings, like the rest of it, are conceptual. Landscape starchitect James Corner Field Operations (of New York's High Line and Santa Monica's Civic Center Parks) will design "extensive open space, street-level plazas, and enhanced pedestrian circulation encompassing approximately 25 percent of the entire site."

The major find in the DEIR is that the project will have an impact on traffic (surprise!), specifically at five intersections. The developers plan to widen intersections to add turn lanes, donate money for an upgrade of the city's traffic signals, and create "a traffic demand management program," which they say will get that number down to two intersections.

According to the press release, Mayor Villaraigosa is on board with the project, although there's no word from the area's councilmember, Eric Garcetti (he's running for mayor, so maybe he wants to keep a low profile on something this potentially explosive). Public review on the DEIR officially starts on Thursday; the developers hope to start work on getting city approvals in early 2013.

· Millennium Hollywood [Official Site]
· Capitol Records Owners Want to Give It 2 Very Tall Neighbors [Curbed LA]