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Face-Lift May Return Glitter to Tinseltown

February 21, 1988|JULIO MORAN | Times Staff Writer

The first phase of a yearlong project to give storefronts on Hollywood Boulevard a face-lift was kicked off last week, with Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Woo saying he hopes the effort will bring a lost sparkle back to Hollywood.

"Hollywood is a magical town," Woo said last week as he stood in front of the B. Dalton Bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard and McCadden Place, one of the storefronts that will be improved.

"Over the years, buildings that once sparkled and represented the glamour and history of Hollywood have deteriorated. We are here today to bring back that sparkle, and to make a visible difference on the boulevard," he said.

The nearly $1-million project is being sponsored by the Hollywood Economic Revitalization Effort, a nonprofit group funded by the city Community Development Department.

The first phase will cost $230,000 and focus on two blocks on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas avenues. It is expected to be completed in about three months.

Completed by Mid-1989

The four blocks east of Las Palmas Avenue in Woo's 13th District are expected to be added to the project in the next two phases. The entire project is expected to be completed by mid-1989.

The project will involve removing obsolete signs and wood and metal coverings from storefronts to expose original architectural detail. New signs and awnings will be added and the exteriors of the buildings will be cleaned and painted, according to Pompea Smith, executive director of the nonprofit group.

"We will attempt to produce a cohesive look for the area," Smith said. "However, we do not intend to give the area a sanitized look. We want to preserve the integrity of each building."

The area along Hollywood Boulevard is a historical district listed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to Smith.

John C. Loomis of Thirtieth Street Architects Inc. in Newport Beach is overseeing the face-lift. He said the buildings' architectural styles include Classical Revival, Spanish Colonial and Art Deco.

Loomis said that in many cases much of the detail work on the pre-1930s buildings was covered over when they were modernized in the 1950s. He said much of the architecture was further damaged within the last three years when many of the buildings were reenforced to better withstand earthquakes.

Steel Anchors Installed

In many cases, including the B. Dalton building, steel anchors and plates were installed on the exterior of the buildings.

Loomis said an effort will be made to try to hide some of those plates.

"Our intent is to bring back the buildings to the way they looked before," he said.

The facade improvement program is part of a much larger effort by the city to revitalize Hollywood. The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency will spend $922 million in an attempt to bring development to the district.

A $150-million hotel and commercial center near Mann's Chinese Theater and a two-block Hollywood Plaza commercial development at the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue are under way.

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