The Report: Hollywood Gets a Showbiz Makeover

Sean Marc Lee
TODAY: The burger stand on Vine Street dates to 1929, but its owner has agreed to sell for $1.1 million.

City, developers lure entertainment firms with new digs.

Showbiz companies are returning to the birthplace of the industry — good news for a long-neglected neighborhood but bad news for Molly’s Burgers fans.

In a sign of the times, developer Pacifica Ventures and the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency reached an agreement last month to pay Kwok Yi, owner of the shabby hamburger shack on Vine Street, $1.1 million to vacate Molly’s so that Pacifica can raze it and build the first new speculative office building in Hollywood in more than a quarter-century. The prospective eight-story structure at 1601 N. Vine would be a catalytic project for an area that has long tried to attract entertainment office tenants.  

Early this year, Live Nation moved offices from Beverly Hills and West Hollywood into a newly renovated building at 7060 Hollywood Blvd. And entertainment public relations company ID, which had offices in West Hollywood, moved into the same development Nov. 15. Those are big names for a community that, despite its worldwide image as the center of the biz, long had a dearth of buzz-generating entertainment tenants.

“We were really drawn in by the recent revitalization that’s happened in Hollywood,” says Kelly Bush, chief executive of ID. “My first office was at Melrose and Formosa, so I am glad to be coming back.”

It isn’t just Santa Monica-based Pacifica that’s trying to revitalize the market. Real estate investment firm Hudson Pacific Properties is designing an office tower it plans to build at its Sunset Bronson Studios property at 5800 W. Sunset Blvd. And LeFrak Organization, a New York real estate investment firm that owns 7060 Hollywood Blvd., has fully leased the property.
Building state-of-the-art facilities will be key to attracting A-level businesses. Top developers, long put off by the area’s traffic and grunge, have been emboldened by the neighborhood’s nightlife and tourism renaissance during the past decade.

The City Council was set to discuss the Vine Street project Nov. 23, when a vote on authorizing the development agreement was expected. If all goes as planned, construction would begin by the summer, and the development would open in 2013.