Opponents of Millennium Hollywood skyscrapers sue developer, city
Opponents of the Millennium Hollywood skyscraper project filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the developer and the city, seeking to overturn the city’s approval of 39- and 35-story towers.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that the city failed to disclose important information on how close the skyscrapers are to the Hollywood fault, which has been declared active by the state and can produce an earthquake greater than magnitude 7.0.
Constructing buildings over a fault can cause them to rip in half during an earthquake, as one side of the fault moves away from the other.
In the suit, lawyer Robert Silverstein accuses the city and the developer’s attorneys of knowing “that the Hollywood fault might cross the property -– yet this information was never ultimately disclosed or discussed in the [environmental impact report].”
“City staff agreed to allow preparation of a draft [environmental impact report] that would contain materially misleading and false representations regarding the location of the Hollywood earthquake fault,” the suit said.
At a news conference, the opponents said the city should require a new review in light of the project’s proximity to the Hollywood fault.
“My clients are demanding, simply, that City Hall stop suppressing evidence,” Silverstein said. “City Hall cannot throw out inconvenient law and facts, just because those laws and facts may upset special interests.”
The suit also had other grounds for throwing out the city’s approval of the project, such as Caltrans’ concerns that the project would cause heavy traffic effects on the nearby 101 Freeway.
The developer said the lawsuit was without merit.
“We have complete confidence that the Los Angeles Superior Court system will uphold the city’s approval,” Philip Aarons, one of the developer’s founding partners, said in a statement.
In a previous interview, Aarons said he did not believe a fault was underneath the site of the towers, “but we’re going to examine and do further testing just to make sure that everybody sees it exactly the same way as we do -- most importantly, the city.”
“We want to make sure that it’s safe and that everyone sees that it’s safe,” Aarons said.
The further testing Aarons referred to was the digging of a trench to determine the existence of a fault underneath the property.
The opponents of the project include neighborhood groups who say the Millennium towers would bring too much development and traffic to Hollywood. The Millennium towers would bring 1 million square feet of office, retail, residential and hotel space near the iconic Capitol Records building.
Another opponent of the Millennium towers project also filed suit in recent days. The owner of the nearby W Hollywood Hotel & Residences asked Los Angeles County Superior Court to order the city to review the Millennium project again in light of the earthquake fault risk.
“Allowing a single building designed for human occupation to be built upon an active fault is pure folly; permitting two skyscrapers with nearly 500 homes and a busy hotel is an unspeakable tragedy waiting to happen,” that lawsuit said.
A spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti reiterated that the city has already ordered the developer to do more testing to determine if the fault is underneath the development.
“The city will not permit the construction of new buildings on top of active faults,” Jeff Millman said in an email.
Times staff writer Doug Smith contributed to this report.
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