Hollywood Specacular plan unveiled

Planners on Thursday unveiled details for the for the Hollywood Spectacular entertainment complex, including a 550-seat Hollywood Experience theater that will show a pair of 70 mm non-fiction films.

The Hollywood Spectacular complex is projected to cost $20 million. The theater itself is estimated at $5 million to $8 million, depending on whether the large-screen format is 2-D or 3-D. The entertainment complex is a development of Hollywood Orangeland, led by principals Steve Ullman and Larry Worchell.

The development, designed by the John Ash Group, is fronted on Hollywood Boulevard by a 45-foot, 140-foot long high sculpture of the word “Hollywood.” It will include retail shops and a restaurant. The lobby will be dubbed Media World, outfitted with banks of high definition television monitors displaying promotional clips for upcoming movies. Also planned are interactive games and kiosks showing digital imaging, on-line and special effects. Outside will be a giant video screen, where planners envision some sort of New Year’s Eve celebration that could link Hollywood with Times Square.

The project, to be built to the west of Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard at Orange Street, was announced last spring, though few details were given at that time.

The centerpiece of the site will be the two films — one on moviemaking and the glamour of Hollywood, and the other promoting, according to press material, “the vitality and diversity of the city of Los Angeles.” The theater is being built by a group led by Louis Schwartzberg, executive creative director of Energy Entertainment in Studio City.

It’s one of several developments along the boulevard that city officials and business owners hope will mark a turning point in longtime efforts to revive the area. The goal is to keep visitors in the area longer than a quick stop to see footprints at the Chinese.

Ash said in a statement that their aim is to create a place that is “the new icon of Hollywood.”

The project is currently securing entitlements, such as design approval, and could break ground this summer.

As previously announced, TrizecHahn Centers is developing a 12-screen theater, retail and restaurant complex on the east side of the Chinese. Mann Theatres will anchor the new complex as well, and the chain plans to renovate the three-screen Chinese as part of the project. The Egyptian Theater is being renovated to house the American Cinematheque, playing film classics.

“Everyone is looking for that Hollywood connection, and this is a signature destination that will be at the core” of the revitalization efforts, said Schwartzberg, director and cinematographer whose works include “Oceans of Air,” filmed in 70 mm and 35 mm for the Discovery Channel.

“I always felt it would be a slam dunk to have a large-format theater in Hollywood to celebrate filmmaking,” he added.

TrizecHahn officials, meanwhile, are in continued negotiations with officials from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.The hope is that as deals are finalized, other developers and businesses will take interest in the street, as happened in Times Square. “As the key players start to make their projects real, you will see others come in,” said David Malmuth, senior vice president of development for TrizecHahn.

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