On Thursday morning, L.A.'s Planning Commission will consider a controversial development project that could drastically change a charming, old-style neighborhood, permanently alter historic buildings and add tons of traffic to an already congested Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

L.A. Weekly wrote about the humongous project at the old CBS radio and TV studios last year: “Doomscraper? Here Comes Hollywood's First-Ever Mega-Scraper,” April 30, 2008.

The investigative news story gives an insider's look at how development projects are won and lost in L.A. — and exposes the environmental impacts of locating a monster skyscraper at that site … such as blocking views of the Hollywood sign and creating long, dark shadows that fall on nearby homes.

Already, Hollywood community activists such as Bob Blue are sounding the alarms about the proposed changes at CBS Columbia Square on Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street.

“For the first time,” writes Blue in an email, “the city Planning Department is recommending to allow a developer to demolish a significant portion of a landmark structure merely for the economic benefit for the developer thus setting a very dangerous city-wide precedent.”

In the past, if anyone wanted to tear down or alter a historic building in Hollywood, they had to deal with dedicated preservationist Robert Nudelman, who worked endless days and nights for years keeping city agencies, local politicians and deep-pocketed developers honest.

But Nudelman died last year, and now people like Bob Blue and members of Hollywood Heritage, a preservation group Nudelman belonged to, have been trying to fill the huge shoes that the community activist left behind.

To that end, Blue is calling for Hollywood stakeholders, as well as citywide supporters of historical preservation in L.A., to show up and be heard at the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, December 10, at 8:30 a.m. at room 1010 in City Hall.

“CBS Columbia Square was the birthplace of network radio and television on the West Coast,” writes Blue. “It was the site of the Jack Benny Show, I Love Lucy, and hundreds of other radio and television shows from the 1930s until just a few years ago.”

Blue continues: “A developer is seeking approval to demolish two of the three landmark studios within this complex in order to construct an almost 1 million-square-foot mixed-use project that would have the two tallest skyscapers between Century City and downtown and a 125-room hotel in a development that would reach 315 feet in height.”

Columbia Square just happens to be one of the last things Nudelman was working on before he passed away.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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