The Capitol Records Tower

Capitol Records Tower

Capitol Records Tower

The CapitolRecordsTower is a Hollywood landmark.  It is totally unique, and helped set the stage for the era of space age design.  But it’s not just the look of the structure that makes it significant.  It’s one of a number of buildings designed by Welton Becket and Associates within the city of LA.  Becket was involved in creating some of the city’s most distinctive buildings, including the Pan-Pacific Auditorium [destroyed by fire] and the MusicCenter.  His work helped to define the look of mid-century LA.

Capitol Records is one of two Becket buildings that have become Hollywood icons.  The other is the Cinerama Dome, located just a few blocks away.  In light of the threat that the Millennium Hollywood project poses to the status of the former, it might be useful to review the recent history of the latter.

Cinerama Dome

Cinerama Dome

In the late nineties, Pacific Theaters presented a plan for redeveloping the Dome.  There was a huge public outcry, because in its initial form the plan would have meant ruining the Dome and building a nondescript mall around it.  To Pacific’s credit, they listened to the community, went back to the drawing board and came up with a far better design.  Not only did they refurbish the Dome and restore it to its place as a Hollywood landmark, they also added a beautiful state-of-the-art multiplex which includes a restaurant, bar and patio.  The completed complex was a welcome addition to the community, and it offers the best experience you can have in a commercial movie theatre.

It’s doubtful that the developers behind the Millennium Hollywood project will reconsider their plans, which would erase Capitol Records’ presence on the Hollywood skyline.  I like to think that the LA City Council might actually listen to the community and reconsider their support for the project.  But maybe that’s too much to hope for.

Millennium Hollywood Project

One of the things that motivated me to start this blog is the proposed Millennium Hollywood Project.  As a resident of Hollywood, I’m really concerned about this for a number of reasons.  While I support responsible, sustainable development, neither one of those adjectives can be applied to the project in its current form.  My main gripe is that two huge, high-rise towers will be erected next to the Capitol Records building.  My objections are based in part on aesthetics, since if the project is built these towers would completely overwhelm this Hollywood icon.  But the biggest problem with this project is that it will make traffic much worse.

The City of LA has been pursuing a policy of building high-density residential projects near transit centers.  In theory this sounds like good planning, and I used to support the idea.  But there have been a number of large residential projects built in Hollywood over the past several years, most of them less than a block away from subway stations, and traffic has only gotten worse.  The concept of having people live next to a subway so they won’t need to use their car sounds good, but the reality is that most Angelenos still take their cars most of the time.  The Millennium Hollywood Project will only make traffic worse, and the proposed mitigations are not sufficient.

I’ll write more later, but if you’re interested in finding out more about the project, here’s a link to an article that includes renderings of the finished development.

http://www.archdaily.com/290508/las-millennium-hollywood-project/