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Panel backs TrizecHahn’s Chinese plan

Plans to remake the area next to Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood cleared its first major test Thursday, as city redevelopment officials agreed to select a developer with a proposal to create a new entertainment destina-tion at the site.

Commissioners of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency voted 4-0 to select real estate giant TrizecHahn Centers for the project, which would be built in conjunction with the opening of a new Red Line sta-tion at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.

TrizecHahn’s plans are for a $145 million entertainment and retail complex, including a 12-screen cineplex with 4,000 seats, a 1,000-screen Babylon Premiere Theater, 285,000 square feet of retail space, 60,000 square feet of restaurants and a 2,200-space parking structure. Mann Theatres, co-owned by Par and Warner Bros., would oper-ate the new cineplex.

The project also includes the preservation of the Chinese Theater, although the newer annex theaters would be torn down.

The selection of TrizecHahn is still subject to the approval of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the City Council. After that, the redevelopment agency, along with officials from the MTA, will go into exclusive ne-gotiations with TrizecHahn over the next 180 days. Among the issues to be worked out: public expenditures for the project, although funds would have to be recovered by future taxes or parking revenue.

Although the Chinese Theatre will be a major part of the project, TrizecHahn also is negotiating with other land-owners, according to city officials. They also will negotiate a ground lease with the MTA for a parcel that it owns.

City officials see the Hollywood and Highland project, coupled with Disney’s renovation of the El Capitan, as the sort of shot in the arm that will lead to other major development along the street, akin to the revitalization of 42nd Street in New York. (Leading the project for TrizecHahn is David Malmuth, a former Disney executive who played a major role in the studio’s development on 42nd Street.)

According to TrizecHahn, the city will get $3.6 million annually in new revenue from sales and other taxes from the project. They also estimate it will generate 700 construction jobs and 1,300 permanent jobs.

The project includes a dramatic grand staircase that will lead to upper levels, as well as a view of the Hollywood sign. The developers’ plans also include new street lighting, palms trees, banners and signs along the Walk of Fame, which would be widened in the area.

TrizecHahn was one of three developers to submit proposals for the site. Other proposals came from Gangi Land Development and Hollywood Orange Land LLC.

Two commissioners had to recuse themselves from voting on Thursday because of conflicts of interest: Chris Essel, who works at Paramount, and Mee Hae Lee, an employee of Warner Bros.

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