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Issue: Issue Fall 2008

Hollywood Rising


 
 

 

With several multi-million-dollar projects being launched, Hollywood promises newly renovated office space, an increase in jobs, impressive hotels, high-end restaurants, luxury apartments and condominiums.

Over 20 huge projects are planned for Hollywood – including 3,300 proposed rental apartments under construction and
another 2,700 condos, close to a half a million square feet of retail space and commercial office space. “It’s no wonder
Hollywood has experienced a successful economic boom,” says Marty Sheldon, Co-Chair of Economic Development for
Hollywood’s Chamber of Commerce. “There have to be a number of elements that make a city grow and survive,” notes
Sheldon. “Commercial businesses want to expand here. There’s great tourism which drives the retail and entertainment
business here. Hollywood truly has ‘the bones’ of good development.”

“The Metro offers three train stops in Hollywood, strengthens foot traffic as well,” adds Sheldon. “Plus our easily accessible
bus stops, the Hollywood mass transit constantly makes it convenient for people to move around. Once we got the subway,
it really identified the area for the ability to grow. All these factors have driven people and businesses to capitalize on
the strength of the Hollywood market.” Activity resurgence in the area is also due to very positive real estate, lifestyle
and economic conditions, points out Jack Holland, Vice President, Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood Inc.

“With the economy in its current state, we have better low interest rates, so more projects have been green-lit as a result.
Plus, there is increased security in the area, which continues to inspire the development of additional restaurants and
nightclubs.”

Madame Tussaud’s is opening a new three-story, Hollywood location at Hollywood and Orange. “There will be two levels
of parking underground and it’s scheduled to open a year from now,” Holland adds. “We’re excited about being able to get
that site—next to the Chinese Theatre, which we believe is the premiere site in all of Hollywood. It’s the perfect spot for our
wax museum,”

Holland explains. “It has taken us a long time to find an appropriate location, but we always believed in Hollywood. It
is the single most important anchor of tourism in Los Angeles. And given the nature of our very interactive experimental
entertainment, there’s no better place for our museum.” “Hollywood has always been a desirable real estate location,”
says Chris Barton, Vice President of Hudson Capital, whose company has been working on the six-story, Technicolor
building (formerly in Universal City) on the Sunset & Gower “Hollywood has always been a desirable real estate location.”
With nearly four billion in development, Hollywood is getting even more larger than life.

Apollo Real Estate Advisors and Molasky Pacific's Columbia Square development has plans to incorporates historic CBS
Studio and proposed 40-story tower at 6121 Sunset Blvd. Newly acquired by Hudson Capital, Sunset & Gower Studios
includes soon to open Technicolor building at 6040 Sunset Blvd. Famed Madame Tussauds is currently under construction
just west of Grauman'sChinese Theatre at 6931 Hollywood Blvd. Studios lot. “There never was any room for the company to
grow. There were few large areas of contiguous office space. As a result, many companies who wanted to expand left for
Burbank and the mid-Wilshire area.” However, now that Hollywood is experiencing a renaissance on every level,
Barton has noticed real estate developers wanting to come back to the area. “Many commercial real estate companies
and studios are committed to working and growing their businesses back here again, which is why we are
seeing projects like Technicolor. It’s definitely an exciting time to invest in Hollywood.”

Kip Rudd, Senior Planner, Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), points out, “I
think investors began to see the development potential in Hollywood once our catalytic projects were underway, particularly
the Hollywood & Highland project and Sunset & Vine. Plus, I think the Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing
programs showcasing Hollywood as a place to invest, and the Hollywood Entertainment District BID’s clean and safe
programs make Hollywood a nicer place to live, work, play.”

While the greatest challenge from Hollywood development is traffic, Rudd believes that “a significant number of vehicular
trips pass through Hollywood regardless of the amount of development occurring in the community.” “Hollywood has really
been such an under-served market for such a long time,” says Dave Gadja, President of the Hollywood Media Center.
“And since the area is so centrally located, between the Valley and Downtown, it’s really got so much going for it.” Gadja
owns several Hollywood hot spots, including the new Spanish fusion steakhouse, Beso, (where “Desperate Housewives” star,
Eva Longoria is a partner), the 24 hour Hollywood diner Kitchen 24, the urban bistro Citizen Smith and the supper
lounge Cinespace.

“While the Westside of Los Angeles is in a downwardeconomic spiral, tourists still come to Hollywood, which is
really helpful to store owners, restaurants and night clubs,” says Gadja. “So the Hollywood is great during the good
times and the bad times economically as well. Pretty remarkable!” High end hotels like The W want to make their
mark in Hollywood as well.

“The W Hollywood Hotel & Residences will bring a visible, luxury lifestyle element to anchor the complete renewal of the
historic Hollywood and Vine intersection,” says Jeff Cohen, Executive Vice President and COO of Gatehouse Capital, the
developer of the W Hollywood Hotel & Residences.“We expect the W Hollywood to elevate the renaissance on
Hollywood Boulevard and act as the landmark for the eastern gateway to the Hollywood Entertainment District.
It’s a placemaking, iconic development, done in true Hollywood style,” says Cohen.

“Hollywood has global brand equity. Its nightlife has always been a key attraction,” Cohen notes. “ Our biggest challenge,
and it’s a good challenge to have, is bringing the world’s top nightlife, restaurant, spa, luxury hotel and residential experience
together all in one place, at the epicenter of A-list culture. We have to make sure to live up to everyone’s expectations.”
Susan L. Hornik is a freelance entertainment journalist based in Los Angeles. She contributes celebrity content to
numerous magazines,including Match.com's Happenmag.com, First for Women and Cosmogirl.