New seismic testing underway at Millennium Hollywood site

Hollywood fault map
The estimated path of the Hollywood fault runs under the property that holds the Capitol Records building, according to a preliminary map issued by the California Geological Survey.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Developers of the proposed Millennium Hollywood project have begun to dig a trench to determine whether an earthquake fault crosses the property.

A trench study, considered by experts as the gold standard for fault-finding, began Tuesday on the Millennium site in response to requests from the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department.

Millennium’s geologists have previously taken soil samples on the site and said their studies found no evidence of an earthquake fault.

The project site has fallen under seismic scrutiny in recent months. A preliminary map released in January by the California Geological Survey raised questions about whether the Hollywood earthquake fault crosses underneath the property. State officials are in the process of reviewing appeals before finalizing the map later this year.


State geologist John Parrish last year accelerated the mapping of the Hollywood fault after the Los Angeles City Council approved the project despite his warnings that it may fall within a fault zone.

Millennium Partners, which co-owns the Capitol Records tower and is seeking to build two skyscrapers next to it, has said the state’s fault map is wrong but agreed to do more seismic testing at the request of city building officials.

In a statement Tuesday, Millennium said that although they are not required to trench until they request building permits, it has hired geologists to do the additional investigation now “so as to assist the city and state agencies in producing more accurate maps concerning the location of earthquake faults in the Hollywood area.”

Millennium’s study begins after developers of another project just east of the site completed a trench study and said they found no signs of active faulting under their property, the former home of KFWB’s radio studio at 6230 Yucca St.


“Our previous studies, as well as this more recent investigation in the area, have indicated that the Hollywood fault does not lie below our site,” said Philip Aarons, founding partner of Millennium Partners. "We are eager to prove that fact and are bolstered by the information received from the adjacent property.”

City building officials last week reviewed the 6230 Yucca St. fault investigation report and called for more seismic testing on the property before allowing any construction.

“Our geologist talked to their geologist and asked them to do more trenching and resubmit,” said building and safety spokesman Luke Zamperini.

Group Delta — the geotechnical engineering firm hired by both the 6230 Yucca St. developer and Millennium Partners — has agreed to the additional seismic investigation ordered for the Yucca site, which includes digging another trench on the east side of the property.

Group Delta began trenching Tuesday on the Millennium property, and the study is expected to take about a month, said Brian Lewis, a spokesman for Millennium.

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