Hollywood Palladium skyscraper project approved by LA City Council

- A project that includes a pair of residential skyscrapers in the parking lot behind the Hollywood Palladium was approved today by the Los Angeles City Council, but opponents were quick to announce plans to sue to block the development.

The project's developer, Crescent Heights, is planning to build 731 residential units, which could range from studios to three-bedroom apartments spread out between two towers of up to 30 stories each, with some commercial and retail space on the ground floor.

The project, at 6215 Sunset Blvd., would be built on a 3.6-acre site that takes up a block bounded by Selma, Argyle and El Centro avenues, minus an area taken up by an existing business on the northwest corner.

Crescent Heights' $320 million construction plan includes preservation of the existing Hollywood Palladium concert venue.

The council approved the project on a 12-0 consent vote, in the process denying an appeal by the project's neighbor, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sought to delay the project.

Opponents have objected to the size and density of the project, saying it is inappropriate for the area.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a leading proponent of a proposed ballot measure -- targeted for the March 2017 ballot -- aimed at halting similarly large projects that require amendments to zoning and planning rules
for the area.

AHF President Michael Weinstein said the nonprofit plans to sue "to block the Palladium Residences project from going forward.'' He characterized the project as "yet another flagrant example of the `pay to play' culture infecting Los Angeles involving developers, the City Council, the planning department and City Hall.''

"If Mayor (Eric) Garcetti is really serious about cracking down on spot zone variances and exemptions, he should override the council and veto this project,'' Weinstein said.

Aaron Green, a spokesman for Crescent Heights and vice president of a lobbyist firm, called any threats of a lawsuit "simply frivolous.''

"The Palladium Residences was unanimously approved by the city Planning Commission and City Council, and Councilmember Gil Cedillo has called it a 'model project,''' Green said. "The Palladium Residences has more than 3,500 supporters and provides desperately needed housing at rates regular people can afford.''

Numerous supporters from nearby schools and business groups, as well as some residents, urged a City Council committee last week to approve the project, saying it would help with a shortage of housing in Los Angeles.

Some also refuted worries of increased traffic, noting that the residential units will be built near public transit, including a Red Line station.

Planning officials also said in a report that the height and density of the towers would be "similar in scale to the existing office building to the west and the under-construction Columbia Square residential tower to the
east.''

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