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Paramount Told to Scale Back Its Plan for Tall Tower

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It’s too tall for the neighborhood, says planning comission

Plans for a major overhaul and expansion of the Paramount Pictures lot are moving forward after clearing the city’s planning commission last week, but with a big revision bound to please neighbors.

Commissioners rejected Paramount’s request to build a 240-foot tall officer tower on the southern side of its Hollywood lot, near Melrose Avenue and Gower Street. Instead, the commission is recommending the City Council only allow that structure to reach a height of 150 feet. That’s five feet taller than the studio’s iconic water tower.

"This is not the heart of Hollywood," said commissioner Dana Perlman. "It would be too much of a visual obstacle to neighbors."

The plans still have to be vetted by the City Council, which could choose another height entirely.

Paramount’s main lot—the largest film and TV studio remaining in Hollywood—sprawls from Van Ness Avenue to Melrose Avenue to Gower Street to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The company is creating a plan to guide development on the lot over the next 25 years. It wants to tear down 536,600 square feet and build 1,922,300 square feet of new stages, offices, retail, and, according to The Wrap, "upgrade amenities such as gathering spaces for employees, parking facilities and production ‘basecamps.’"

"The $700 million project would take down four 5,000-square-foot soundstages and build five new, 20,000-plus square-foot soundstages," The Wrap says. "When the project is complete, Paramount will have 27 soundstages. It has 30 now."

Most of the new construction would be for offices, as this table shows:

With the exception of that proposed 240-foot-tall office tower, all of the new buildings would be capped at 135 feet:

The Larchmont Buzz has reported the tallest tower would have digital signs, or as it calls it, "lighted multi-level supergraphics, viewable from all directions," but commissioners shot down that request, too.