So what are we to make of the state geological report released last week by State Geologist John Parrish on the location of the Hollywood earthquake hazard zone as related to the proposed Millennium Hollywood project? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
For those of you who may not be up on the details, let me provide a few. Last January, the State Geologist issued a preliminary report that had the Hollywood earthquake fault trace running right through the middle of the Capitol Records Tower (seemed a bit of grandstanding to me). At that time Dr. Parrish said the following: “We feel very confident about where we drew that line, within maybe a 50-ft. accuracy back and forth. But we’re very confident it’s there.”
Since that time, four property owners teamed up and spent more than $1-million on trenching and one of the most extensive private sector earthquake studies ever done that proved it wasn’t there.
Last week, Dr. Parrish issued his final map and moved the earthquake fault trace to the south, still on Millennium property but beyond the area where the study had occurred. This time he said: “We have placed, I think with a great deal of accuracy and information, where we thoroughly believe that the trace of an active fault exists throughout this whole area.”
Whether the fault is at this new location remains to be seen. Millennium Hollywood issued a statement that they are also confident that further testing will corroborate their previous conclusion that the fault is not there and are prepared to conduct additional testing in the area the State has now identified. Eventually, we should have a definitive answer.
In the interim, there is actually some good news that comes from the State Geologist’s report. It appears that he has accepted as accurate the conclusions of the trenching study on where the fault is not. That should clear the way for the project on the former KFWB site and the proposed Argyle hotel to move forward. It also lifts the “cloud” that hung over the Boulevard 6200 project, when the State Geologist said in January that the fault went through the middle of their building.
Making decisions on where buildings can and cannot be placed to avoid earthquake faults is serious business. It is important to ensure the public safety. The drama may continue for a while, but in the end this thorough analysis will result in a project designed to give the public confidence in its safety. And that is something we should all welcome!
Leron Gubler has been serving as the President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years. His tenure since 1992 continues to oversee the great comeback story of Hollywood.