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Seven-story Hollywood development restoring Earl Carroll Theatre moves forward

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The Essex Hollywood will hold 200 apartments with ground-floor commercial on Sunset

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the seven-story mixed-use project planned to rise next door to the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard near Vine Street, but it’s been steadily working its way toward getting built. The project was approved earlier this week by the city’s planning and land use management committee, and, thanks to developer Essex Property Trust, we’re getting a glimpse of the most up-to-date renderings for the new mixed-user.

The project’s size and stats are unchanged. Designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux, the seven-story structure will hold 200 units (a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments), and have approximately 4,700 square feet of commercial space on the ground level along Sunset. One big change has been the color. The once yellow structure is now sporting a much milder blue exterior. There’s still no official name for the project. It was referred to as 6250 Sunset in planning documents, but the developers often refer to it as Essex Hollywood.

The project will also include the restoration of the Earl Carroll Theatre immediately to the east of the new project’s site, and the creation of a paseo between the two. The theater houses a Nickelodeon TV production studio right now. After the project is built, it will either remain studio space or turn into creative offices. Essex is planning on restoring the facade of the structure, including its old signage of "the Beryl Wallace image and the vertical lighting strips." (The sign will be either neon or an LED alternative, according to the presentation Essex gave to the PLUM committee.)

The Earl Carroll was nominated by Essex for city monument status, says Kris Golder, associate development manager at Essex. (The Cultural Heritage Commission recommended it receive monument status, but the City Council will have the final say.) The 1938 Streamline Moderne structure was designed by Gordon B. Kauffman for Earl Carroll, a theater producer and director. Originally, the theater was "an opulent theater-restaurant complex that once featured a large, 24-foot [neon] sign on the north (front) facade," according to the cultural heritage commission report on the property.

Golder says Essex is aiming to get its entitlements by the end of this year, break ground in the second half of 2017, and complete the project sometime in 2019.