State: Millennium Project straddles active fault


This proposed construction project has been controversial from the get-go. Some critics said the two skyscrapers were too tall. Some were upset about the increased traffic in the area.

But the real concern all along has been seismic stability. And now a state seismologist says this project could essentially straddle an active fault line.

The plan calls for a pair of massive skyscrapers that would tower over the rest of Hollywood: a million square feet of retail and residential space.

But the head of the California Geological Survey says there is enough evidence to show that the Millennium Towers would be built over an active fault line, and critics of the project say that's what they've been saying all along.

"We the public have been saying all along that this is a dangerous site, that there's an earthquake fault running through it," said attorney Robert Silverstein. Silverstein represents 40 community groups who are fighting against the Millennium Project.

"The fact that the California state geologist and the state of California has come out so strongly with that opinion as well is complete vindication of our position," said Silverstein.

The Hollywood fault line runs just north of Hollywood Boulevard, not far from the proposed skyscrapers. But Brian Lewis, a spokesman for the New York-based developer, says their latest research shows that the fault is not active.

"We're happy to do more testing, and we fully intend to do more testing," said Lewis. "We have no interest in building anything that would be unsafe."

The city of L.A. approved the project last week. But building permits will not be issued until more testing is completed.

"We approve projects all the time," said City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell. "And in this city there are fault lines everywhere."

O'Farrell represents this part of Hollywood and is a supporter of the project.

"What I want people to understand is we have the strictest standards in terms of building and safety requirements, as does the state, and the project team is working with the state and the city before any permits are ever given," said O'Farrell.

But Silverstein says he's skeptical.

"What we have here is a city council that is out in the open basically acting in complicity with a developer," said Silverstein.

O'Farrell says the next step is for the developer to wait for more tests to come back from the state. Those are due back in 2014. At that point the developer can begin the building permit application process.

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