Back in 2006 and 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started buying up the block between Homewood, Vine, Fountain, and Ivar in Hollywood so they could build a huge, starchitect-designed movie museum. The property owners weren't excited about selling—more than one tipster used the words "eminent domain" back then—but eventually they all ended up taking the Academy's money (about $50 million total for Funk Bros. Automotive, Golden Bridge Yoga, Post Group, and the Big Lots). Then a recession set in and all that land sat squalid and empty until 2011, when the Academy announced that actually it was going to open that movie museum in an existing building on the LACMA campus, all the way over at Fairfax and Wilshire. They built an outdoor screening space on the Hollywood land, and just last month sold the whole thing off to do a developer who plans to build a fancy mixed-use campus. That'll be great for the neighborhood! Well, glad that's all settled, time to move on from this whole saga! Good ending! Oh, except for those old property owners, who are now pretty pissed, reports the LA Times.
They think that, at the very least, that space should be used for public benefit, not for an upscale project from a private developer. One says he felt "bullied" and couldn't afford a lawyer to make sure he got a fair deal. People who worked on the Academy's side of the deals claim eminent domain was never mentioned (and note that the Academy bought at nearly the height of the market), but former Academy President Sid Ganis admits that the idea was brought up at least internally.
Meanwhile, another former president, Tom Sherak, "said at the time that the academy had no intention of selling the Vine Street property and would instead rehabilitate it." But now here's proud new owner Kilroy Realty, planning 475,000 square feet of offices, apartments, and retail for the site. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce head Leron Gubler says "Is it the museum? No, it is not the museum ... But it will be a good project for Hollywood." And a great one for Kilroy, surely.
· Some feel cheated by change in film academy's Hollywood museum plans [LAT]
· Big Mixed-Use Campus To Transform Vine Street Below Sunset [Curbed LA]
· A Complete Tour Through The Future Academy Movie Museum [Curbed LA]