A controversial apartment project that would redevelop some of Hollywood’s iconic outdoor shopping center and offices called Crossroads of the World got a critical green light from the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.
The Commission approved the $1 billion development known as Crossroads Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard that would add a 308-key hotel, 950 residential units, about 190,000 square feet of commercial space and a new above-ground parking structure to the 8.3-acre property even as dozens of opponents of the development showed up to express their concerns it would spur additional congestion and erase the history of the site.
It will go for approval next to city planning and land use management committee, or PLUM, and then the Los Angeles City Council.
The site includes the recently landmarked building that was once home to entertainment magazine Hollywood Reporter as well as the nearly century-old Crossroads of the World, recognizable for the rotating globe atop the ship-like building. The complex sits on one of the only blocks in Hollywood that hasn’t seen significant commercial redevelopment in recent years. Its buildings have slowly become run down and don’t see as much foot traffic as they did in their heyday.
“Crossroads today is the land that time forgot,” David Schwartzman, president, and chief executive of Harridge Development Group, which is behind the project. The plans are to “transform this incredible property into a vibrant district,” where all locals can congregate whether they live on site or not.
The development is slated to include three towers – one of which reaches 31 stories tall – and a movie theatre. It is planned to replace 82 rent-stabilized apartments but will set aside 105 units for low-income renters who earn less than 50 percent of the median income of the city. Current tenants on the property will get a right of return when it comes to the new residential units.
Harridge Development Group said it plans to preserve some buildings on the property including the historic Hollywood Reporter building, the Bullinger Building as well as the Crossroads of the World complex.
Crossroads Hollywood has been criticized by some neighborhood groups who say they fear the project will change the landscape of their area, erase history and cause additional congestion.
Both supporters and opponents of the project, at 6671 Sunset Blvd., turned out in force to weigh in on the Los Angeles Planning Commission’s decision at Thursday’s meeting.
Two petitioners, Livable LA and the Hollywood Media Center, were denied their requests to appeal the proceedings.
“We’re going to lose a 108-year-old building,” local resident Anna Marie Brooks said. “You have no respect for the history of Hollywood, period.”
Others were concerned about what they said would be a lack of affordable housing, one of the most pressing issues facing the nation’s second largest city.
Activist Susan Hunter, representing the Coalition to Preserve Los Angeles, said projects like this one “drown us in luxury housing that we don’t want or need.”
That issue resonated with some planning commissioners who, while praising the project, expressed concerns about its affordable housing component and the current residents of the Selma Las Palmas Courtyard Apartments, who number around 40. Commissioner Karen Mack noted her concern about whether there were enough affordable housing units on site given how so many Los Angelenos have felt the squeeze of the current housing crunch but voted in favor of the project in the end.
Others said they look forward to the project bringing renewed life to an area that they said has seen criminal activity.
Some touted the project’s walkability, number of local jobs and the fact it is a transit-oriented project given its proximity to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Station.
Commissioner David Ambroz said the area badly needs improvement through this kind of project. He notes that a number of major media companies including Viacom and Paramount Pictures have large offices in the area and their employees could lease up some of the apartments and walk or take transit, instead of their cars, to their nearby companies.
“I’m excited that we’re building housing there, so I think it will part of the solution to traffic,” said Ambroz, who lives in the area. “This is where density belongs.”