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Developers have faith in church site on Hollywood Boulevard

Two prominent developers plan to team up to build a $150-million high-rise apartment complex in Hollywood
The Hollywood Horizon apartment complex would be built on a corner that has had a church since 1959
“This is a community going through a major rejuvenation,” Hollywood Horizon developer Richard LeFr

Two of the country's largest developers plan to build a $150-million high-rise apartment complex at Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue in Hollywood.

Reinforcing the area's residential building boom, the project called Hollywood Horizon would be built on a corner that has had a church since 1959. The intersection on the western edge of Hollywood Boulevard's commercial district is near some of L.A.'s top attractions, including the famed TCL Chinese Theatre.

"This is a very important property in the sense that it is the gateway to Hollywood," said William McMorrow, chief executive of Beverly Hills real estate investment firm Kennedy Wilson, one of the two developers of the apartment complex.

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FOR THE RECORD:

Property Report: In the Aug. 21 Business section, the map accompanying an article about a planned high-rise apartment complex in Hollywood mislabeled the TCL Chinese Theatre as the TLC Chinese Theatre.
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Indeed, a shiny public sculpture called Hollywood La Brea Gateway stands on the southeast side of the intersection. The stainless-steel gazebo popular with picture-taking tourists is held up by statues representing actresses Dorothy Dandridge, Mae West, Anna May Wong and Dolores del Rio.

Its less glamorous neighbors across the street, however, include liquor stores, a massage parlor and a pawn shop, remnants of Hollywood's rougher-edged past. Some recent real estate projects failed, but there are signs of a turnaround.

Just south of the intersection on La Brea is a $120-million apartment complex called the Avenue, which was reborn in 2011 as a rental property after the original developer went bankrupt trying to build condominiums on the site.

To the east, at 7060 Hollywood Blvd., is a once-shabby 1970s office building that Kennedy Wilson and its developer partner LeFrak Organization gutted and renovated in 2008 after a previous owner unsuccessfully tried to convert it to condos. Today the tower houses offices of concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc.

Now LeFrak and Kennedy Wilson are turning their sights on the northwest corner of Hollywood and La Brea, where they plan to build Horizon Hollywood, a trio of apartment towers with shops and restaurants.

"This is a community going through a major rejuvenation," said Richard LeFrak, chief executive of the LeFrak Organization, a prominent New York real estate firm.

Since 2003, there have been 3,326 residential units completed in Hollywood, and 1,145 more are under construction, according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. An additional 3,675 residences — not including Hollywood Horizon — are in planning stages.

As designed by Santa Monica firm GMPA Architects, Hollywood Horizon would have 410 apartments in three buildings of six, eight and 24 stories. They would be white like many historic Hollywood buildings and aligned to permit views through the complex north to the Hollywood Hills.

Other Hollywood references would be palm trees and circles on a wide public plaza intended to evoke spotlights on a stage.

"The plaza is the beginning, or the termination, of Hollywood," architect Monika Moses said. "This will be a place where people can gather."

Residents would have access to a rooftop swimming pool, gardens and gym.

Moses and her husband, architect J. Kobi Moses, have designed other large-scale residential buildings in the region, including the luxury Regatta, Cove and Azzurra towers in Marina del Rey.

Horizon Hollywood would replace the former Fifth Church of Christ Scientist, which was completed in 1959 and sold by church officials to the LeFrak Organization in 2008, LeFrak said. The building at 7101 Hollywood Blvd. is now leased to a Christian church called Mosaic.

Horizon Hollywood must be approved by city officials before construction can begin. The developers hope to get underway by 2016 and complete the project two years later.

Hollywood's development spree is being impelled by numerous forces, including the growth of entertainment-oriented schools such as Emerson College Los Angeles, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and Musicians Institute, real estate broker John Tronson of Avison Young said.

The private schools attract young people with financial means, he said. Rents are less expensive than in Beverly Hills or the Westside, and Hollywood has some of the region's best public transportation options.

"Hollywood not only continues to be strong but is much better than it has ever been," Tronson said. "There is no let-up in sight."

roger.vincent@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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