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Judge Tanks Plans For Two Giant Towers By Capitol Records

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Handel Architects

The half-built Hollywood Target is in still limbo and the Sunset Gordon apartment building is a tenant nightmare, so maybe it's best that the two towers of the Millennium Hollywood project—which would flank the Capitol Records building—have been stopped before they even started, given its neighbors' track records tangling with the same NIMBY lawyer who got them shut down today.

An LA Superior Court judge ruled today that developer Millennium Partners and the city of Los Angeles ignored concerns voiced by Caltrans about the impact the massive mixed-use project could have on traffic in the surrounding areas, specifically at off- and onramps to the 101 Freeway. The LA Times reports that this ruling means that the project can't get any building permits. It could also mean that developers will have to start from scratch. The tabled plans, originally approved back in 2013, included nearly 500 apartments, hotel rooms, and retail in a 39- and a 35-story building, plus public open space.

According to Robert Silverstein, the lawyer representing the NIMBYs opposing the project (and the NIMBYs opposing Target and the NIMBYs opposing Sunset Gordon), Millennium Partners will have to redo their environmental impact report (this time taking into account Caltrans's comments) and get it approved all over again, which could take quite a while.

Caltrans's issues centered on the effect that MillHoll would have on the nearby 101 Freeway. The state agency wanted developers to study freeway exits and entrances out of concern for "long lines of cars as a result of the development," which could affect not just overall congestion but driver safety as well, as cars could spill over from ramps into intersections. The city and developers cited two studies for the project that showed that "impacts on the 101 Freeway [from Millennium] would be less than significant." But the judge disagreed, saying, "The city was not entitled to disagree with Caltrans [and] perform a study more limited than sought by Caltrans." Caltrans actually raised this very issue years back, saying that the study that conveniently says that Millennium will have a minimal effect on traffic in the 'hood was "not based on any credible analysis that could be found anywhere."

The embattled Millennium project has never been embraced by neighbors. Though in the early days, they claimed that it would be terrible for the area in a host of ways (increased rape and homicide rates, terrorism, and traffic nightmares), the rallying cry against it eventually came to center on the fact that it might rise right on top of the Hollywood Fault, making it potentially dangerously unsafe in an earthquake—a "tomb" that would rip in two. The project was hit with not one but two lawsuits—this one and one filed by the nearby W Hotel, both of which seemed to be betting on the proximity of the Hollywood Fault. But in his ruling today, the judge found that, overall, the city and developers did their part in requesting proper, thorough seismic studies before giving Millennium permits.
· Judge halts Millennium Hollywood skyscraper project [LAT]
· W Hollywood Sues Neighboring Millennium Hollywood Towers [Curbed LA]
· Shorter Giant Towers Approved For Lots Around Capitol Records [Curbed LA]
· Emboldened Millennium Hollywood Opponents Launch New War [Curbed LA]
· LA Just Approved Two Huge Towers By Capitol Records Building [Curbed LA]
· Caltrans Pissed About Traffic Effects of Huge Towers Around Capitol Records [Curbed LA]