Warner Bros. has decided not to pursue a $100 million plan to build an aerial tramway from its Burbank studio lot to the iconic Hollywood sign atop Mount Lee.
The studio confirmed Thursday that the Hollywood Skyway project would no longer be pursued, primarily due to safety concerns as well as a number of logistical challenges.
“Warner Bros. has decided not to move forward with the Hollywood Skyway project. After exploring the challenging construction issues, required zoning changes and protocols necessary to protect guests during emergencies, we determined that our focus would be better placed on our core business interests. We know there are other solutions being explored to provide access to the iconic Hollywood sign and address neighborhood congestion. We look forward to seeing those come to fruition for the citizens of Los Angeles and the millions of tourists eager to visit the sign each year,” the studio said in a statement.
For years, residents of the area below the sign in the Hollywood Hills have complained that their small residential streets were overwhelmed with tourists trying to get close to the sign.
The Warner Bros. plan was first proposed in 2018, and the studio’s facilities head, Jon Gilbert, who retired last year, was one of its chief proponents. However, construction would have required building into the mountain as well as obtaining permission from adjacent landholders such as Forest Lawn cemetery.
Another gondola plan was proposed by Barry Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg, in late 2017. The $25-30 million gondola was to ferry tourists to the Hollywood sign starting from the Los Angeles Zoo, four miles east of the Warner lot.
The Hollywood Hills area is vulnerable to wildfires and earthquakes, and the project would have required feasibility studies and would have to pass an environmental impact report.
Los Angeles city councilman David Ryu also supported the project at the time, but he lost re-election to Nithya Raman. “I don’t believe an aerial tram in Griffith Park is an effective, environmentally-friendly, or cost-effective solution to issues with Hollywood sign access,” Raman told the Friends of Griffith Park group before her election. She supported a number of less costly measures to deal with traffic, such as electric shuttles and rideshare drop-off zones.