Developer Gets Tax Breaks To Preserve Historic Hollywood Building, Public Gets Visual Blight

The city’s office of Historic Resources has given a major developer 30 days to remove a large supergraphic sign from the wall of a Hollywood building listed as an Historic-Cultural monument.

The building, at 7046 Hollywood Blvd., is owned by the CIM Group, which two years ago agreed in a contract with the city to preserve and maintain it in exchange for substantial property tax breaks. Now converted to apartments, the building known as the Hollywood Professional Building once housed the offices of the Screen Actors Guild, including one used by Ronald Reagan when he served as guild president from 1947-1952.

In a Jan. 22 letter to CIM Group, the city alleges that the giant image of the statue of liberty was installed without a permit and that bolts and screws used to attach it have potentially damaged the terra-cotta wall finish.  If the violations are not corrected in 30 days, the letter states, the city will proceed to cancel its contract, which could invoke a penalty of 12.5 per cent of the current market value of the property.

Such contracts are allowed by the Mills Act, a 1972 state law intended to encourage the preservation and maintenance of historic properties.  An owner of a building with a Mills Act contract receives a property tax reduction between 40 and 60 per cent, depending upon how the property is assessed.  Other properties in Hollywood owned and developed by the CIM group include the Sunset & Vine Tower, the Kodak Theatre, and the TV Guide building.

The supergraphic image of the statute of liberty was put up by Michael McNeilly of SkyTag, Inc. , who last month asked a federal court judge to bar the city from enforcing its sign regulations against his company at 118 locations, claiming that the signs are artistic expressions protected by the first amendment.  The sign originally erected was draped across the side of the building, covering the windows, but was later removed after reported complaints from building tenants that it blocked views and interfered with the opening of windows.  The image currently on the building is composed of a vinyl-like material adhered directly to the wall surface.

CIM Group website here.

For more about the Hollywood Professional Building, read: Reader Report: Inside Hollywood’s Seventy 46

Dennis Hathaway

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