$200-Million Development : ‘Urban Village’ Project Planned for Hollywood

Times Staff Writer

Robert M. Bass, the billionaire Texan who recently took over California’s American Savings & Loan Assn., is part of a group planning to build a 1.7-million-square-foot urban village in Hollywood.

The development, expected to cost up to $200 million, is under study by the Community Redevelopment Agency. The residential and business complex would include apartment buildings, a health club, child-care center, grocery store and other businesses.

Hollywood/Highland Partners wants to build up to 900 apartments, an estimated 600,000 square feet of office space and up to 400,000 square feet of commercial space.

According to the proposal, the developer would rehabilitate some older structures and build new apartment buildings ranging in height from 2 to 20 stories.


‘Old Hollywood’ Theme

The project would be built in an area bounded by Hollywood Boulevard, Yucca Street, and Highland and Las Palmas avenues.

Hollywood/Highland owns between 60% and 70% of the property and is negotiating with property owners for the rest.

“Hollywood Partners proposes to develop an urban village atmosphere that will attract people to work, live and recreate in the project and the surrounding Hollywood area,” according to the proposal submitted to the redevelopment agency on June 27.


An “old Hollywood” theme with upscale restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops will “play a large part in the atmosphere of the project and in the revitalization of Hollywood,” according to the proposal.

“That’s what I think (the developers are) looking for--the blending of old and new, and trying to recapture the spirit of Hollywood,” said Hope Boonshaft-Lewis, a spokeswoman for Hollywood/Highland Partners. “They are building a new Hollywood based on the traditional ideas of the wonderful old glamour that Hollywood had.”

Principal Investor

One of the principal investors in the partnership is RMB Realty Investments, Bass’ real estate investment group. A Bass business associate, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., is one of the project’s major developers.

Tenants and property owners indicated that they were not opposed to redevelopment, said H. Cooke Sunoo, project manager for the Hollywood Redevelopment Project.

“The proposal would accomplish a number of objectives of the redevelopment plan, including such things as additional housing, rehabilitation of historic buildings, creation of new jobs and adding to the economic revitalization of the area generally,” Sunoo said.

At the meeting, businessmen with frontage on Hollywood Boulevard said they would like to remain at the same location but did not oppose the project, Sunoo said.

Many of the property owners who approve the project are in buildings that will be rehabilitated, he said.


The CRA will probably require that low- and moderate-income housing be included in the project, and that priority occupancy be given to displaced tenants, Sunoo said.

Responses to a questionnaire distributed by the agency to 180 tenants and property owners are due Oct. 28.