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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:23 AM   #1
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Hollywood is Back!

Western Business: After years of decline, Hollywood beckons as LA's hot new ZIP code
30 May 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hollywood's best days were behind her.

The glamour of the '20s had long ago been replaced by crime and grime. Teenage runaways mingled with prostitutes at the city's most storied intersection, Hollywood and Vine.

Yet something curious happened. Hollywood refused to fade away.

The first signs of life surfaced a decade ago with new nightclubs and restaurants. Now, people are flocking to Hollywood to live in thousands of luxury condos and apartments.

More than $1 billion in residential development is slated for a few blocks surrounding Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street -- an unprecedented buildup designed to bring the "It" factor back to a place that once was the epicenter of cool.

"Five years ago we were desperate for any development. Now we can pick and choose," said City Council President Eric Garcetti, whose district includes Hollywood.

The turnaround began in the mid-1980s when the city created a redevelopment area in Hollywood. Subway stops were later added, and a group of merchants banded together a decade ago to form a business improvement district and step up security patrols.

All this prompted developers to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to revitalize the area's entertainment core, anchored by the Hollywood & Highland Center, home of the Kodak Theatre and the Academy Awards.

Now Hollywood is a place to be rather than flee, with more than 3,500 residential units in the works.

"Everywhere we looked we saw an opportunity," said Shaul Kuba, principal and founder of CIM Group, owner of Hollywood & Highland and developer of several pending residential-retail projects.

The renaissance is reshaping Hollywood and Vine, where two major developments are leading the residential makeover.

The KOR Group is renovating the old Broadway department store for a project that includes 96 luxury lofts and cinematic views of the Hollywood sign and the landmark Capitol Records building.

The Broadway Hollywood is nearly sold out after just two weekend sales events, with prices from the high $500,000 range to $3 million.

"What you have is people that maybe two years ago would never have thought about buying in Hollywood are now literally fighting amongst themselves for units," said Kate Bartolo, vice president of development for The KOR Group.

For Peter Varano, a 48-year-old New York transplant, it was an easy decision to buy a loft.

"I like the city feel and the city vibe," said Varano, a voice-over agent who recently sold his Hollywood Hills home. "It's kind of like now I'm creating my own little New York, because of the revitalization that's happening in Hollywood."

Celebrities are also taking another look at Hollywood. Actress Charlize Theron has reportedly purchased a penthouse, and starlet Lindsay Lohan is looking. Bartolo declined to comment, citing buyer privacy.

Hollywood's hip factor will also be boosted by the arrival of a W Hotel at Hollywood and Vine as part of a $500 million retail-residential project with more than 300 apartments and 150 condos.

Not everyone is happy with the plan. About 30 local businesses are being forced to vacate after the city invoked eminent domain.

Bob Blue, who owns a luggage shop opened by his father in 1946, has twice sued to stop the project. He lost the first lawsuit but feels confident he can win on the eminent domain issue.

"Hollywood is reviving without any government help or eminent domain," Blue said. "It does seem wrong that things are going good, and you're getting kicked out."

Other critics had feared the famed Capitol Records building might be bought and converted to condos. But city leaders said the landmark is off-limits.

Developers are seeing astonishing returns on their investment in Hollywood, spending about $150 a square foot to convert office space into residential units, then selling 1,000-square-foot condos for somewhere between $400,000 and $1 million-plus, according to Steven Tronson, vice president of Ramsey-Shilling Commercial Real Estate Services Inc.

Rents now run as much as $2,400 a month for an 800-square-foot apartment, compared to about $800 a decade ago.

Despite concerns about residential saturation and lost office space, the pending projects will bring lasting changes.

"There is no going back," Tronson said. "There is too much political will, too many serious investors and too much money being spent for this not to succeed."

Challenges remain, however. Crime has dropped, but teenage runaways and prostitutes can still be seen off Hollywood Boulevard.

"It's really still a work in progress," said Kerry Morrison, executive director of the Hollywood Entertainment District, the merchant group. "Hollywood took many decades to fall into a state of decline so it's not going to be rebuilt in a decade's time."


On the Net:

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, http://www.hollywoodchamber.net/

Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, http://www.crala.org/

The KOR Group, http://www.thekorgroup.com/

CIM Group, http://www.cimgroup.com/
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Old May 31st, 2006, 05:20 AM   #2
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Hollywood had been on the upswing for a couple of years, and its really taking off right now. At night, its unbelievable with bars and nighclubs and restaurants next to each other for blocks and its packed with people. Now with the residential and hotel projects underway, its really becoming something. the Heart of LA, which would be Downtown LA down Wilshire and the Hollywood area is BOOMING and its totally chaning the city for the better. The biggest reason, the Subway. the Booming areas of LA are all connected by the metro, from Downtown LA, to Hollywood to Wilshire to Pasadena to Long Beach and for us LA urbanists, its a case of i told you so to the nimbys and all the naysayers. Concentrating on the Hollywood area, the major reasons for change have been the Simultanious effects of the Subway, the major reduction in crime, the BID which employs security guards and others to sweep the streets and other cleaning jobs, and major investments such as the Archlight theater complex, the Ameoba Music store, the Massive Hollywood and Highland complex along with the Kodak theater and the Renessaince hotel, Disneys revitilization of the El Capitan theater (Jimmy Kimmel Live is filmed there), the Magic Johnson funded Mixed use project on sunset and Selma that included retaurants and condos, and now the W hotel and the Plethora of projects at the Hollywood and Vine intersection. Below are some pics. The area that im talking about is bordered by Sunset, Western, Hollywood and La Brea. Also, not noted are the Numerous and i mean 15 - 20 5 - 8 story Condo and Mixed story projects scattered all over the place and the other major projects in the pipeline. Pics will be posted in a different reply.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 05:28 AM   #3
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here is a link to a Hollywood Projects thread at SSp.


And here are some pics of the numerous major Projects...

Vine and Sunset, Whole Foods and Condos...

Hollywood and Vine, W Hotel and Condos...

Vine from hollywood to Sunset, including both previous Projects...

Corner of Hollywood and Vine, residential Portion of W Project...

Hollywood and Vine, different corner, Equitable Building, Rehab to Condos, sucessful and very good restuarant on the bottom floor...

Hollywood and Vine, other corner, Hollywood Building, Penthouse bought by Charlize Theron, Lindsey Lohan will also be a neighbor...
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:02 PM   #4
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I was in Hollywood last weekend and it's much different than it was years back. It reminds me alot of Times Square. Yes Hollywood is so much better. I'll be posting pics that I took when I get back to HK
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Old June 1st, 2006, 08:32 AM   #5
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Hollywood is back. It never really left..just matured a bit.
Far from basic.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 10:03 PM   #6
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From what I'vee seen on TV (never been there), the place looked horrible for being where the rich and famous hang out.

Really hope to turn glamorous as it should be.
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