Hollywood Sign Threatened?

Hollywood Sign

AP reports that a giant parcel of land around the Hollywood Sign is up for sale, and that a wave of protest is building to preserve it. Residents, politicians and pundits worry that the land’s sale would pave the way for unwelcome development, but the city apparently can’t just buy it. The asking price of $22 million is a smidge above the legal cap of $6 million the city can pay. Should we start a collection?

It’s hard to imagine a world that would let this happen, but the cynic in me worries that it will one day become the AT&T Hollywood Sign. I suppose we could just let Heidi Montag pay for it, which would be fine as long as we don’t mind changing it to “Heidiwood.”.

Maybe they’ll put in a Pinkberry.

6 Replies to “Hollywood Sign Threatened?”

  1. I hate to say this, because generally I’m against eminent domain sort of stuff, but…
    If anyone tries to develop the property such that it would alter the view of the Hollywood sign, won’t the city just tie up any such development with zoning, permitting, etc.?

    Why isn’t the Hollywood sign listed as a historical landmark? I mean, if the Pomona Water Powerplant can get designated…

  2. Yeah, that’s a shame. You know I don’t think the sign’s in danger of going away. But the open space up there is pretty remarkable. it would be a bummer to see a bunch of mansions sharing the hillside.

  3. This isn’t the land the Hollywood sign itself sits on, it’s the empty peak to its left (Cahuenga Peak). (One bit of the parcel is fairly close to the sign’s left edge, but it’s unlikely that particular bit would be built on – other locations further from the sign have better views and more flat land not subject to hillside-building restrictions.)

    The only “threat” to the sign is that the peak to its left, instead of being entirely empty, could end up with somewhere between one and five houses (the maximum permitted by the zoning) sitting on the ridgeline, which actually has a surprising amount of flattish land.

    The current owners bought the property for $1.7 million back in 2002. The city apparently ignored it as a preservation target because they thought it was effectively “land-locked” – surrounded by other parcels in such a way that there was no access, no way to build a roadway.

    But it turns out that back in 1949 when Howard Hughes still owned it, he obtained an easement allowing him to build an access road across DWP property adjacent to it, as the result of a lawsuit settlement.

    Frankly, I think the idea that the Hollywood would somehow be “spoiled” or “ruined” by one to five mansions scattered across the ridgeline of the peak to its left is faintly ludicrous, particularly when you consider that the sign itself began as an advertisement for a real-estate development.

    It’s a shame the city didn’t acquire the parcel back in 2002, when it could have been had for pocket change. I think the current owner’s asking price is something approaching extortionate, but as the potential site for up to five palatial homes with extraordinary 360-degree views, it’s certainly worth a good deal more than what they paid for it.

    Personally, I’d regret the loss of the untouched open space far more than any effect it might have on the “pristine view” of the Hollywood sign.

    (And personally, I think the owners aren’t really any more interested in building oil-sheik mansions on that ridgeline than anyone else is – I think they just want to see how large an offer they can get for it, since a legitimate purchase offer will help establish a base price for any attempt to take the property via eminent domain.)

  4. (For “the Hollywood” in the fifth para above, please read “the Hollywood Sign”. Sheesh. And me a former professional poorfeader.)

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