The Preservation Page
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Hollywood Heritage's Position on the Millennium Project (Capitol Records Building) proposed for Hollywood.
Following a recent meeting, a Hollywood Heritage member contacted our officeand asked if we could clarify our position on the proposed Millennium project for the Capitol Records property. The Board of Hollywood Heritage and its Preservation Issues Committee are continuing to meet with Millennium regarding the project. Our only public position at this time is our response to a draft EIR which is as follows:
February 16, 2013Srimal Hewawitharana, Environmental Specialist IILos Angeles Department of City Planning 200 N. Spring Street, Room 750 Los Angeles, CA 90012Dear Ms. Hewawitharana: Re: Millennium Hollywood Project, ENV-2011-675-EIRThe Board of Directors of Hollywood Heritage, its Preservation Issues Committee and its members, thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Millennium Hollywood Project, and the accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).For three decades Hollywood Heritage has been an advocate of the preservation and protection of Hollywood's historic resources. We support the goal of preserving what is most significant in Hollywood, while encouraging responsible new and infill development.
Our organization has nominated many of the current Historic Cultural Monuments, listed the Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance, provided technical assistance to developers and owners of significant properties, and participated in public policy discussions through the formulation of the Community Redevelopment Plan of 1986 and subsequent urban design plans, specific plans and in property entitlement discussion involving historic resources. These efforts have resulted in the rehabilitation of significant landmarks and districts in Hollywood.
Our expertise in this area has led us to the conclusion that the Millennium Hollywood project has significant and adverse impacts on a number of Hollywood's historic resources.
CEQA guidelines define a project as having a significant environmental impact when the project causes a substantial adverse change in significance of a historical resource as defined in State CEQA Section 15064. The City of Los Angeles CEQA Thresholds Guide (2006, p. D.3-3) also maintains that a project would have a significant impact on historic resources if the project results in a substantial adverse change in the significance of a historic resource by construction that reduces the integrity or significance of important resources on the site or in the vicinity via alteration of the resource's immediate surroundings.
While we appreciate some of the mitigation measures designed to preserve the historic Capitol Records and Gogerty Building, we believe that the proposed project would substantively alter the context in which these buildings gained their significance by compromising the immediate surroundings. Portions of the project are grossly out of proportion with the identified resources, thereby minimizing them and irretrievably altering their setting. Additionally, while we appreciate the inclusion of open space, the current design significantly changes the pedestrian environment of Hollywood. Like many previous developments, it draws pedestrians away from the street and irrevocably alters the historic street wall along Vine and Argyle.
We also find the current version of the Millennium Hollywood Draft EIR to be deficient in its assessment that the project would not cause an adverse change in significance for the Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment Historic District.
The heart of Hollywood is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and functions as one of the City of Los Angeles' major tourist destinations and economic engines. The Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment Historic District is a 12 block area of the commercial core.
The district contains 103 of the most important buildings in Hollywood, listed at the national level of significance in the National Register of Historic Places. The development pattern of the 1920s and 1930s was characterized by the construction of buildings of generally 12 stories at major intersections, flanked by one and two-story retail structures.
The District was formally designated by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior in 1985. At the time, there were over 60 contributors and approximately 40 non-contributors which all dated from the 1905-1935 period of significance. Since its listing, the District has seen significant and positive restorations, now having the largest collection of restored historic theaters in use in the nation. The District can count the beneficial reuse of the Broadway and Equitable Buildings, the Hollywood Professional Building, and the Nash Building, and many restorations, spurring the renaissance of Hollywood. But the District has suffered the loss of several contributors, and has seen the addition of overly-large developments such as Hollywood and Highland, the W Hotel and Madame Tussaud's.
The current Millennium Hollywood project fails to significantly address the negative impact created by the mass and height of the proposed development in regards to the existing structures in the vicinity. This will be the largest tower in the area. While creating opportunities to see landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign from areas within the development, the project fails to address the fact that these new view lines will alter views that have been publicly available since the inception of these landmarks.
In the "Related Projects" section of the DEIR, which compares this project with other projects nearby, unapproved, proposed developments are used alongside existing structures, allowing the square footage increase that this project suggests to be seen as more reasonable. However, the structures included on the comparative chart are all less than one-third the size of the proposed Millennium tower. The only project that is as large is the proposed redevelopment of the Paramount Studios Lot. At 1,385,700 sq. ft., the Paramount Lot is a much larger property and does not have any single building of a comparative height as proposed by Millennium.
The addition of the proposed tower will overwhelm contributing properties in the district and the proposed "separation" of new and old construction is simply not an adequate mitigation measure. Hollywood Heritages appreciates the efforts of the project's developers and will work diligently with them to ensure the preservation and protection of all of Hollywood's historic resources.
Bryan Cooper President, Hollywood Heritage, Inc.
As this project continues, we will keep our members informed.
For those who missed the HPOZ Conference on May 19th, here is a great bit of information that was disseminated at the event:
Code Enforcement - How To Report a Property Violation to the Department of Building and Safety - If a building is a designated landmark, or is in a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (Historic District) athe Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety is responsibile for investigating code violations on existing single family residential, commercial, industrial and vacant buildings inside the City of Los Angeles.
If you wish to file a complaint regarding potential code violation(s) on a private property, you may do so by using this website: http://www.permitla.org/csr/index.html or calling 311. The following information is required when submitting a service request:
Property address requiring attention.
Your phone number.
You can learn if there is a permit on file for an address by accessing the PROPERTY ACTIVITY REPORT - The purpose of the Internet Based Property Activity Report is to allow easy access and visual display of general information from the Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) Plan Check and Inspection System (PCIS) and the Code Enforcement System (CEIS).
1. Address (use the "th" in numbered streets)
2. Permit Application Number (15 digit xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx)
3. Plan Check/Job Number (10 digit)
You may also call the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) at 1-866-577-RENT (7368).
The LAHD is responsible for investigating code violations related to rental properties within the City of Los Angeles containing more than one dwelling unit, such as duplexes, apartment buildings or more than one single family dwelling on a property.
NOTE: the website takes you to the Property Activity Report webpage even when selecting the Report a Violation site. However, once the property information is provided, the Report has a link to the Report a Property Violation site. The purpose of the Internet based Property Activity Report is to allow easy access from the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) Code and Rent Information System (CRIS).
There are 3 ways to search:
2. 10-digit Assessor Parcel Number (APN)
3. Case Number.
If the violations are public health related such as Mold, Infestationi, Rodents, Lead or Asbestos concerns, you must contact Environmental Health Services Los Angeles at 1-888-700-9995.
Our Thanks to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, Office of Historic Resouces for this useful information and to the Los Angeles Conservancy for putting together the conference and making this information available.
To reserve a seat for the free "Building a Coalition For Preservation in Hollywood " evening, click here.
Like many of you, we are saddened to hear about the proposed demolition of parts of the historic Pickford Fairbanks Studio. In recent days, there have been inconsistent reports of the scope of the demolition, ranging from the demolition of select buildings leaving only a facade remnant along Santa Monica Blvd. Unfortunately, this is a case which stretches back a number of years and received approval at that time for the scope of work then submitted. The original development plan was approved in 1993. In 2006, the City of West Hollywood issued a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a revised development plan, focusing on the project’s impacts on historic resources. Both the Los Angeles Conservancy and Hollywood Heritage testified at the Planning Commission and the City Council hearings, focusing on the Supplemental EIR’s failure to consider alternatives to demolition. In May 2007, the West Hollywood City Council approved a revised development plan that included the demolition of some, but not all of the buildings at the site. Any loss of a building which relates to community and industry leaders like Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford is a significant loss. In addition to the studio, Pickford and Fairbanks were also instrumental in the construction of the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and the formation of the Motion Picture Academy and the Motion Picture Country Home.
Click on the links below to learn more about these topics:
Hollywood's Most Endangered Sites - One more off the list and sites to Watch
CIM Group Sunset/Gordon Project - Former Peerless Automobile Showroom
Hollywood Community Housing Corporation - A Profile
Hollywood Cultural Heritage Monuments - Test your knowledge!
Also: Many members have contacted us regarding how to proceed when they see questionable activity going on at a historic, or potentially historic site - Please follow this link to obtain phone numbers to call in this situation
Historic Resources Emergency Contact information.