Neighbors, councilwoman ask Hackman to reduce TVC size

| February 29, 2024 | 0 Comments

PUBLIC HEARINGS may start this month on the proposed expansion of CBS TV City. Above is an aerial rendering of the conceptual site plan with a view looking northeast. In the foreground is the Original Farmers Market “North Market,” including The Container Store and other shops. Rios

The developer of a proposed expansion and modernization of CBS Television City, at Beverly and Fairfax, received requests last month to reduce the density and mass of the TVC 2050 project prior to public hearings which are expected to start this month.

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, CD5, asked the property owner and developer Michael Hackman and Hackman Capital Partners Television City LLC, in a Feb. 14 letter, to reduce the total maximum square footage and the height along the perimeter of the property at Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard and to provide greater setbacks and “building stepbacks” to better separate the project from neighboring properties. A transportation program to reduce single-occupant vehicles was also requested.

“It is my hope that you will incorporate these revisions to the project proposal ahead of the public hearings, which I have asked the Department of City Planning to initiate in March,” Yaroslavsky wrote.

“I remain optimistic that implementing these adjustments will enhance the project’s alignment and acceptance within the community and lead to City Council action by this summer,” she added.

Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development

Meanwhile, Neighbors for Responsible TVC Development also wrote a letter asking that the size of the project be reduced by 700,000 square feet.

“We support a modern, 21st-century studio at TVC.  Along with our neighbors, we have supported CBS Television City for decades and we wish to continue to do so.  But we do not support an office park at the site,” Neighbors co-chairs Shelley Wagers and Danielle Peters wrote in the Feb. 14 comment letter to the City Planning Dept. on the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed development.

“The Applicant has told us that the offices will be related to uses that support studios, such as human resources and marketing offices for studios.  But the evidence of current tenants at the applicant’s other studio properties says otherwise. For example, at Manhattan Studios, tenants include realtors, law firms and carpet cleaners.

“The neighborhood surrounding TVC is already highly impacted by a number of dense, urban uses.  An office park component in addition to an operational studio is just too much,” the Neighbors’ letter continues.

The developer had not responded to emails by press time but has expressed in the past that the project will bring the historic studio into the 21st century and create new jobs and infuse new energy to the area.
Frustrated with the density and height of the proposed redevelopment, and several “unproductive” meetings with the developer, the Neighbors community group asked the City Council Office and the City Planning Dept. to “refocus the project and emphasize what we think is the most important issue here — modernizing a production studio,” Neighbors co-chair Wagers told us in a phone interview last month.

The community group, comprised of neighbors and nearby businesses, wants developer Hackman Capital Partners to trim 700,000 square feet from the proposed 1.9 million-square-foot modernization plan proposed at the 24-acre site.

The disputed square footage is listed under “general office” use with no requirement that it be related to studio use, said Wagers. “You can achieve two goals at the same time if you require Hackman to pull that out of the project. You reduce the square footage by 700,000 square feet and what remains is what they have been focusing on for the past two years, building a studio,” she added.

Concerns about the office space, which the Neighbors say will be rented out to non-studio tenants, will bring in more “people, density and traffic.”

“It’s not the community’s burden to make sure this [development] pencils out for the developer,” said Neighbors co-chair Danielle Peters.

“Our perception of the tone of the final negotiations [with the developer] was that we don’t feel our concerns were received. It was more about our inability to understand how a studio works was the posture of Hackman.

“They made the most trivial possible concession of 70,000 square feet, but that doesn’t really address the community’s concerns,” Peters added.

A.F. Gilmore echoes Neighbors for Responsible Developmment concerns

Echoing their concerns is the A.F Gilmore Company, which owns the Original Farmers Market next door to the proposed developmment.

“We are disappointed that Television City Studios, LLC (TVC), is not considering revisiting its proposal to address the community’s legitimate concerns and criticisms, lessen project impacts and develop a studio project that would be compatible with the character of the Beverly-Fairfax community,” A.F. Gilmore Company said in a statement released Feb. 21.

“The A.F. Gilmore Company takes our role as an 140-year member of the neighborhood very seriously, and we think reasonable development of a first-class studio next door at TVC has the promise of being a great enhancement for our businesses and neighbors. The problem is that the TVC 2050 plan is not just a studio — as proposed, it looks more like an office project with a studio component. The current TVC plan only calls for 454,000 square feet of production and sound stage space, yet a whopping 1,400,000 square feet of office space.

“It is our hope that, under the guidance of Councilmember Yaroslavsky, TVC will do the right thing, take a step back and consider a scaled-back near-term project that will not overwhelm the Beverly-Fairfax community, most importantly its residents and small businesses. If TVC is unwilling to do that, we ask that Councilmember Yaroslavsky send the TVC project back to the drawing board as she promised the public during her campaign for office.”

HISTORIC façade of CBS TV will remain under the developer’s proposal for the 24-acre site. Adrian S. Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Another issue is the proposed height of the proposed project.

The Neighbors group asks for a maximum of 130 feet; the developer is asking for a maximum of 241 feet. In comparison, Park La Brea Towers stand at 125 feet.

CBS Television City’s historic entrance area, a city Historic Cultural Monument, will remain under the proposal.

Built in 1952 and home to “All in the Family” and “The Price is Right,” the Pereira & Luckman-designed building was one of the first and largest complexes built expressly for television production and broadcasting, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy.

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Category: Real Estate

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