Hollywood: The Next Manhattan?

New community plan focuses on high-rise buildings in Hollywood

By Olga Spilewsky and Conan Nolan
|  Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011  |  Updated 9:09 AM PDT
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Mayor Villaraigosa today backed the first of six new community plans that would focus on building high-rises near the city's subway's corridors. But, some people aren't thrilled about the potential changes to our city's landscape. NBC4's Conan Nolan reports.

Conan Nolan

Mayor Villaraigosa today backed the first of six new community plans that would focus on building high-rises near the city's subway's corridors. But, some people aren't thrilled about the potential changes to our city's landscape. NBC4's Conan Nolan reports.

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Hollywood could end up looking like a mini-Manhattan pretty soon.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa backed the first of six new community plans Monday that would focus on building high-rise buildings right in the heart of the city and near the subway corridors. But, not everyone is thrilled about the potential changes to the city's landscape.

Looking at the heart of Hollywood, new hotels and nightclubs are evidence that the Hollywood renaissance is in full bloom.

"There were many tough motel," said LA City Councilman Tom Labonge, reminiscing about the days when Hollywood had a "rougher" feel. "I was not in them, but there were tough motels that used to exist along Hollywood Boulevard"

He's also comparing those days to the "new" Hollywood, where transit-oriented development is focusing on growth along the Red Line's most famous neighborhood.

"The real choice is not between growth and no growth," said Council President Eric Garcetti. "The choice is between planning and no planning."

The so-called Hollywood Community Plan opens the gate for high-rise and high-density development along Hollywood Boulevard, such as the recently introduced Millennium Hollywood Project. It's a billion dollars worth of office, retail and residential towers next to the Capitol Records building.

Backers of the plan say it focuses on growth along mass transit lines and saves the historic nature of the surrounding neighborhoods. But opponents call it "skyscraper hell."

"It is the Manhattan-isation" of Hollywood," said Lucille Saunders with the La Brea Coalition. "The projections they are using for the population are totally flawed."

"They take it as an article of faith that if they build a couple of subway stations, that people will get out of their cars," said George Abrahams, president of the Argyle Civic Association. "What am I going to do? Am I going to go to Home Depot and carry my 4' by 8" sheet of plywood home on the subway? It's ridiculous."

The blueprint still needs City Council approval, but Garcetti implied Monday that it was a done deal.

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