Surprising no one, the City Council just voted to approve the huge, Capitol Records-hugging Millennium Hollywood project. It was a unanimous decision, but only because Tom LaBonge, the lone councilmember opposed, wasn't able to make the vote--he said in a statement read by Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell that he didn't support anything over 29 stories. The two towers are slated to be 39 and 35 stories, so if they're built, it'll be a huge gamechanger for Hollywood (which currently tops out in the low-20 stories. So what of the objections--the traffic, the calamitous earthquake fault, the rape and homicide rate that will be six times worse than that at Hollywood & Highland (yes, an actual objection raised today)? Despite objections from neighborhood groups that the project is seismically dicey, the city geologist said that he's satisfied with the information he's received thus far, and will make the results of the additional studies he's requested public when he has them. He also said that the state geological survey currently underway is merely to determine if the project falls in a "study zone," and that the city has been proceeding as if it does. And hey, if it turns out the project will sit right on top of an active fault that will kill everyone, the city can always deny the building permits.
Several councilmembers did air some concerns about the traffic that the residential/retail/office/sports club/retail complex would add to Hollywood, but seemed reassured by the LA Department of Transportation's assurances that the traffic studies were done according to city guidelines. A rep from Caltrans added that recent conversations with Millennium and been "fruitful," but their concerns about traffic on the 101 have not yet been resolved.
There was also much made today about the sheer volume of paperwork submitted by both sides at the last minute. Millennium says their avalanche of documents was merely in response to requests made by opponents led by lawyer Robert Silverstein (which may be true but doesn't make it any faster to read), but Councilmember Paul Krekorian was even less impressed with the hundreds of pages Silverstein delivered to the Council just this morning--despite having held a press conference about it on Monday. Krekorian asked the City Attorney to exclude the material from the public record of today's debate, saying there was no way anyone would have time to read it. It was a fine reminder of how open, fair, and free from abuse our city planning process is. Said no one ever.
The project still needs approval from Mayor Eric Garcetti, who came out against Millennium during the campaign but signaled he was on board when the height of the two towers was dropped last month.
· Millennium Hollywood Archives [Curbed LA]