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Inside the Hollywood Development Boom

Hollywood's come a long way since Frederick's of Hollywood's corporate HQ was the most creative office building on the Boulevard. (Remember the purple and pink art deco palace?) After years of limited development, the city is booming, and that's why we're thrilled to host Bisnow's Future of Hollywood, April 29 at the W Hollywood, starting at 8am.

Among our all-star panelists is JH Snyder SVP Kacy Keys (right, on a weekend getaway in Carpinteria last month with daughters Alexis and Sydney, and friends). Kacy, who's also the firm's general counsel, tells us this summer the company expects to complete a 250k SF office complex in Hollywood. The campus, located at Seward and Romaine streets, is one of two spec projects the developer has under construction in Hollywood. She reports both projects are seeing significant interest from entertainment- and media-related tenants looking for large spaces.

We used the Bisnow gyrocopter to snap this aerial of the project, located south of Santa Monica Boulevard at 959 Seward. In December, JH Snyder broke ground on a 110k SF office building at 1601 Vine St, with completion expected at the end of next year. But the company's not done. It just completed entitlements for a 250k SF office building at Museum Square in the Miracle Mile district. Kacy anticipates this building also will get its fair share of entertainment tenants, noting SAG-AFTRA is the property's biggest tenant and Ryan Seacrest's also in the building. (As an idle American, we want to know: Does Ryan do lunch at Callender's?)

Another panelist is urban-infill developer Bob Champion, who is working on five projects in Hollywood with a sixth in escrow. He started investing in Hollywood in 2011 with the purchase of two projects at the corners of Selma and Highland and Selma and McCadden. Both are mid-rise projects containing 125 units each with ground-floor retail, boasting a high-design concept. They'll definitely be at the upper end of the market, he says, but some units will be available for students at the nearby Musicians Institute. The projects will likely break ground by year-end.

Bob completed the EIR and expects to start construction early next year on a 230-unit project across from Musso & Frank. Units will be a bit smaller, with more studios and lofts, he says, but all three projects will offer elaborate rooftop amenities. Others in the pipeline include a high-rise planned for a luxury boutique hotel and high-end condos at Yucca and Argyle streets.

Our keynoter is Hollywood Property Owners Alliance exec director Kerry Morrison (with husband Mike during a tennis match at UCLA). The nonprofit manages two business improvement districts that comprise Hollywood's core: the Hollywood Entertainment District BID and the Sunset & Vine BID. Where Hollywood used to be narrowly defined as just a tourist destination, over the past decade a big change has occurred in rethinking the area as a live-work neighborhood. There's a vast territory of Hollywood that's transforming into a center of commerce and a residential neighborhood, she says.

Kerry (at the Capitol Records building) credits much of this to the city's adaptive reuse ordinance, which facilitated the conversion of vacant '20s office buildings into an explosion of apartments. Before 2000, there were 2,500 people living in this core part of Hollywood; they're expecting close to 13,000 residents by 2020, which forces changes in retail demand (think coffee shops instead of tattoo parlors). Kerry's often asked about the secret formula to Hollywood's comeback. While there's no one recipe, she notes a BID can make a huge difference, creating a community of stakeholders who are focused on problem-solving, and unified in carrying an area forward.

Another panelist is Hudson Pacific Properties EVP Chris Barton (snapped with his family recently), who says the firm is working on 420k SF of development at the Sunset Bronson Studios. ICON, a 14-story, 323k SF creative office tower, broke ground in January. And with a significant number of tours being taken, he hopes to have some leases signed this year. In addition, HPP has a five-story, 90k SF building called the Hub, currently in design and planned to break ground by year-end. The company also is doing a $12M reno for KTLA, which just renewed for another 15 years.

Gensler designed both the striking ICON tower (above) and the Hub. Meanwhile, HPP is renovating buildings at its Sunset Gower property into creative office space for media companies like Spafax, Believe Media and ShondaLand (Scandal; Grey's Anatomy), and recently completed projects for Rickey Minor Productions. Additionally, HPP hopes to get approval by Q3 for a 300k SF creative office high-rise on Sunset at Bronson.

Another panelist is JLL managing director Carl Muhlstein, who heads up a JLL team that's leasing one of Hollywood's buzziest projects: Kilroy Realty's Columbia Square. Carl says the tenant that really started it off there was private membership workspace collective NeueHouse, which took 92k SF to open a location that's three times the size of its NYC facility. The last office building constructed in Hollywood was 7038 Hollywood Blvd in the mid-'80s, he notes, and Hollywood was a small market back then.

According to Carl, NeueHouse's Columbia Square location will provide a tremendous amenity to the Sunset-Vine Corridor. He tells us tenants now are jumping long distances to relocate or consolidate (think Viacom moving a number of its networks from Santa Monica to Columbia Square). Come hear from Carl and the rest of our panelists at Bisnow's Future of Hollywood, April 29 at the W Hollywood, starting at 8am. Sign up here.