Over the past year, I have heard from numerous Hollywood residents and business owners who are excited about the new Hollywood Target, under construction at the intersection of Sunset and Western. I did not hear them complaining about the height of the project. They were looking forward to being able to shop close to home.
Now, thanks to the efforts of a handful of naysayers, construction may stop on this important community center, that was scheduled for opening March 2015. If the opponents get their way, 75 construction workers will be laid off and another 200 permanent jobs will be on hold.
And what is their objection? – Target’s 74-ft. height. Never mind that the Walgreen’s center on the opposite corner is almost as high. The opponents were able to prevail with a judge because of an antiquated zoning code known as the Station Neighborhood Area Plan (SNAP) that was adopted in 2001. This ill-conceived specific plan, which was adopted with very little community input, was supposed to improve the neighborhood adjacent to the new subway stations. Its objective was to stimulate development, but in actuality has prevented almost anything from happening. That is why, across the street from the Hollywood & Western subway station, a single-story retail center is being built rather than a more intensive use – because the developer did not wish to deal with SNAP. I have heard the same story over and over again from numerous property owners.
Because SNAP only allows the extra height for mixed-use projects (residential and retail), the Walgreen’s center was allowed. However, because it was strictly a retail center, Target’s height is limited to 35 ft. Now that people can actually see how the Target impacts the skyline, I think most people’s reaction is going to be “what is the big deal?” It fits fine at that intersection, and is a significant improvement from the run-down retail center that previously occupied the site. It is surrounded by commercial buildings. None of the neighboring businesses objected to the height.
Perhaps the best we can hope to salvage from this sad situation is if it provides the impetus for the City Council to finally amend SNAP to remove the provisions that have harmed that neighborhood. I say: Let’s get on with it, so that construction can be completed on the Target!
If you agree, please send our Hollywood-area council representatives an email at: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]. In this situation, it is all about jobs, and shopping opportunities, and an improved quality of life for Hollywood.
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.