The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has decided there is no active earthquake fault running under the site of two proposed skyscrapers in Hollywood, regardless of what California’s state geologist says, so developer Millennium Partners can build away (not quite yet, though). The Millennium Hollywood project would flank the Capitol Records Building with a 35- and a 39-story building holding a combination of hotel rooms, residences, and retail space, and surrounded by public open space. Plans were approved in 2013, but in early 2014, the California Geological Survey released a long-delayed draft map of active faults in the Hollywood area that showed the Hollywood Fault running right under a corner of the project. A final map later in the year confirmed that path. (It’s illegal to build on top of a fault in California.)
Millennium Partners hired its own geological consultant to study the property last year; they found no active fault and the LADBS agreed. Now that firm has done new studies for the city and found that “an earthquake fault was probably located deep beneath the property. But city officials agreed with the developer that the fault was too old to be considered active,” according to the LA Times (they believe it’s at least 150,000 years old). And the city has the authority there—they, not the state geologist, decides what can be built where. LADBS has restricted building on two corners of the MillHoll site, although those will be lifted if more study finds they’re seismically safe.
Crazily enough, it’s not a potentially active earthquake fault that’s been MillHoll’s biggest obstacle. It’s NIMBYs, of course. Residents from the Hills above Hollywood and other surrounding areas, with the help of prolific anti-development lawyer Robert Silverstein, recently got a judge to put a stop to the project on the basis of bad traffic studies. LADBS can’t hand out any building permits until the project gets another environmental impact report (in a long, expensive process). Millennium Partners says they still intend to build the damn thing.