Hollywood is the new Gold Coast
Million-dollar condos want to be stars on the Walk of Fame
By alison manheim - Thurs., Sept. 8, 2005
Developers are betting that young Hollywood will jump at the chance to buy real estate within stumbling distance of their favored hot spots. The odds would appear to be in their favor. With the ever-growing nightlife, restaurants like the Hungry Cat, Rokbar and Dakota and amenities like the ArcLight cinemas and a Metro Red Line that takes you downtown in minutes, Hollywood Blvd. has much more to offer than schlocky T-shirt shops and confused European tourists. "We believe in Hollywood, always have," says Kate Bartolo, senior VP development at the Kor Group, which also engineered Santa Monica and Palm Springs' Viceroy hotels and the Eastern Columbia building in downtown L.A. Kor is now refashioning the 1927 Broadway Department Store building at Hollywood and Vine into 96 loft units that range in size from 931 to 1,999 square feet. "Hollywood and Vine is literally a globally recognized intersection." While the Broadway Hollywood will release its first phase next month, HEI Hospitality and Gatehouse Capital recently announced plans to develop a mixed-use development consisting of a 296-room W Hotel and 150 residences, plus retail, on another corner. Groundbreaking is expected next spring. Los Angeles-based Metro Modern Developers chose Yucca Street as the site of their 54-unit condo development the Hollywood, which broke ground last month and is expected to be completed by the end of 2006. Designed by Kenner Architects, the two- and three-bedroom units range in size from 1,200 square feet to 2,500-square feet. Mel Kimman, a partner in Metro Modern, likens what's happening in Hollywood now to what happened to Venice Beach and Ocean Park in the early 90's. "We figured, if we build something really cool that we ourselves would like to live in, other people would want to live there, too." Despite Yucca's past incarnation as an open-air drug corridor, Kimman isn't fazed by the prospect of marketing a high-end property in a still-gentrifying area. "When people who work in the film or record business hear about it, they say 'sign me up,' " he says. Live, Work, Play Even with a whiff of grit, you're not getting a discount for living in Hollywood anymore. The 90028 area code has seen condominium prices leap 55% since 2001. New development is more likely to feature swanky poolside lounges modeled after hotel bars than rooms by the week. That's the way the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency wanted it. "They were very clear on quality issues," says Phil Simmons, president of Laing Urban, which is seeking final approval for a mixed-use project of 180 condos at La Brea and Hawthorne. "They expected a certain level of quality finishes to attract the kind of homeowner that will further burnish the Hollywood area's image." Further proof that Hollywood can't live by cosmos and saketinis alone.
I'll make no subscription to your paradise.