On Wednesday, we reported on the Los Angeles City Council’s approval of the Paramount Pictures Master Plan expansion project, and generally positive statements about the project from City Council Members Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu, who represent the neighborhoods closest to the studio. O’Farrell expressed satisfaction that the project allows the studio to stay and grow in the neighborhood, with minimal impacts…while Ryu said he was particularly happy about a negotiated height reduction for a new office tower that’s a major element of the project. Ryu also said he’s glad the studio and neighbors were able to find “common ground to resolve the impacts on the neighborhoods I represent.”
Since then, we’ve also heard from Charlie D’Atri, president of the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association, which represents residents in the area just to the south of the studio, across Melrose Ave. D’Atri, too, expressed satisfaction with several details of the approved plan, saying “we appreciate that some of the really outrageous proposals such as the electronic sign district, and super signage, and the additional 90 feet of the unnecessary office tower, were rejected by the city staff and council.” He said the neighbors also appreciate traffic mitigation resources that Paramount has agreed to provide.
But D’Atri said neighbors were not entirely happy with some aspects of the negotiations along the path to the project’s approval, noting that there were some “outrageously unacceptable, over-dense features” introduced “late in the planning process,” which “certainly affected our expectations of how they conduct their business.”
So while D’Atri, like the Council Members, is generally happy with the project as it was approved, “The devil’s in the details and much of the actual usage detail is TBD.”
D’Atri said he particularly hopes the studio will live up to its promises about the “look and feel” of the project. “Our hope is that Paramount will be creative in executing this plan, so the corridor is a lively contributor to the neighborhood and city, and not an even worse, over-stressed, denuded corridor than it is currently.”
As we reported earlier, a start date for the 25-year building project has not been set yet, and construction will proceed in phases over the next three decades. The specific focus of each phase will be determined by the particular needs of the studio over time.