HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND COMPLEX
Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, California

Tinseltown's post modern urban mall, originally known as the HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND COMPLEX, was developed by Toronto's TrizecHahn and designed (primarily) by New York City's Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn. The shopping and entertainment hub was situated on an 8.5 acre site, lying 5.7 miles northwest of center city Los Angeles.

The HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND COMPLEX was officially dedicated November 9, 2001. Encompassing 4 retail levels atop a 6-level, subterranean parking garage, the complex housed 640,000 leasable square feet and over seventy-five store spaces. There were no large department store anchors, but the center did include the three thousand four hundred seat Kodak Theatre; a venue for the annual Academy Awards presentation ceremony since March 2002.

The area now known as Hollywood has a short but event-filled history. By the 1870s, an agricultural community referred to as Cahuenga ["kuh-wang-uh"] Valley had been established. Its main thoroughfare, Prospect Avenue (later Hollywood Boulevard), was an unpaved gravel road for several years.

The name Hollywood was in place by 1887 and residential development was underway. The area was incorporated as a city in 1903. In 1910, it was annexed into the City of Los Angeles.

The locality's first major establishment for visitor accommodation, Hotel Hollywood, had opened in December 1902. It was located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, in a plat called Ocean View. 

Hotel Hollywood was expanded between 1905 and 1908 and became the home of many players in the fledgling motion picture industry. In the 1920s, its name was changed to Hollywood Hotel. By the early 1940s, its glory days had passed. The run down building was demolished between May and August 1956.

A groundbreaking was held in January 1957 for the 13-floor First Federal Savings & Loan Association Building, a Mid-Century Modern high rise sitting at the east end of the old hotel site. It was officially  dedicated in February 1959. The remainder of land previously occupied by the hotel became a parking lot with five small retail buildings.

On the adjacent block to the west, between Orchid Avenue and Orange Drive, sat Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Dedicated May 18, 1927, its oval Forecourt became famous for its collection of movie star autographs written in wet cement. 

By the late 1950s, the Hollywood area was in a pronounced state of decline. Cheesy souvenir shops lined Hollywood Boulevard and the high-caliber nightclubs of yore, such as Brown Derby, Mocambo and Ciro's, were either closed or well past their prime.

A plan was devised to reinvigorate the community via a star-studded Walk of Fame. The sidewalks along a 1.7 mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street would be rebuilt. A series of terrazzo and brass stars would be installed honoring icons of motion pictures, television, recording and radio (a fifth category, for live performance, was added in 1984).

In September 1958, a sample -eight-star- Hollywood Walk of Fame section was unveiled along the sidewalks at the northwest corner of the Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue intersection (in front of the future First Federal Building). The project met with controversy and courtroom drama. Work was halted...resuming, after all legal challenges were overcome, in October 1959. 

Sample stars were relocated along a final version of the Walk of Fame. It was dedicated March 28, 1960, with director Stanley Kramer being the first Tinseltown luminary commemorated. Unfortunately, the decline of Hollywood was not reversed by the project. Interest waned, with no new stars installed between 1960 and 1968. Things picked up in the 1970s and '80s. Eventually there would be over two thousand five hundred stars.

Several retail-based mega projects were proposed in the 1980s to help revitalize America's decaying movie mecca; HOLLYWOOD PROMENADE, HOLLYWOOD URBAN VILLAGE and HOLLYWOOD GALAXY. Of these, only HOLLYWOOD GALAXY (1991) ever came to fruition. It was less than successful.

In the mid-1990s, TrizecHahn's David Malmuth, who had been instrumental in the successful reinvention of Manhattan's Times Square, brought forth a proposal for the HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND COMPLEX, a mixed-use retail and entertainment project. 

It would be the largest development in Los Angeles since the mid-1980s, with its construction being accompanied by renovation of the adjacent Grauman's Chinese Theatre and 22-floor Holiday Inn. The hotel was to be expanded and rebranded as the Renaissance Hollywood.

Moreover, the Los Angeles County Metro Red Line subway's 6.3 route mile Hollywood / Vine-to-North Hollywood Extension would service a new Hollywood / Highland Station. This would connect into the HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND COMPLEX and open, along with the new subway route, June 24, 2000.

Ground had been broken for the H & H COMPLEX in October 1998. Demolition of existing structures was completed by January 1999 and an eighty foot deep excavation made. Ninety million dollars in public funding, provided by the local Community Redevelopment Agency, would be used for the building, whose cost had been estimated at four hundred and thirty million dollars. 

The project would be plagued by cost overruns. 2 years and some months later, a six hundred and fifteen million dollar structure was completed. In addition to its Kodak Theatre, the H & H COMPLEX housed tenants such as Banana Republic, 4 You, Versace Classic, Planet Funk, Attack of the Killer B's and Aveda. 

There were also restaurants, such as Trastevere Ristorante Italiano, Fresh-Fire Kabob, Mongolian Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, Monkees Seafood and Burger King. Night spots included Club One Seven, The Highlands and Elixir.

At the epicenter of the center was the opulent outdoor Babylon Court, with its gigantic replica of an arch used as a set for the 1916 silent-era epic "Intolerance". A 6-screen multiplex, the Chinese 6, operated on Level 2. On Level 5 was the Grand Ballroom, with cuisine provided by Wolfgang Puck. 

Shopping malls in the vicinity included WESTFIELD FASHION SQUARE (1962) {6.6 miles northwest, in Los Angeles}, WESTFIELD CENTURY CITY (1964) {5.3 miles southwest, in Los Angeles} and BEVERLY CENTER (1982) {2.8 miles southwest, also in Los Angeles}.

Promoted as "The new epicenter of popular culture", the H & H COMPLEX initially failed to live up to previous expectations. In January 2004, the Los Angeles-based CIM Group acquired the property at a rock bottom price...less than half of its construction cost. They performed a small renovation, brought in some toney tenants, and renamed it HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND CENTER. 

The Curbed LA website presented the shopping and entertainment extravaganza with the dubious distinction of "Ugliest Building In Los Angeles" in April 2007. Nonetheless, H & H CENTER endured a less than stellar beginning and emerged as a catalyst for a successful revitalization of Hollywood Boulevard. 

In February 2012, the bankruptcy of the Eastman Kodak Company resulted in that corporate name being removed from the center's Kodak Theatre. In May 2012, it was announced that Dolby Laboratories would assume sponsorship of the venue. It officially became the Dolby Theatre on June 11.


Recent additions to H & H CENTER include the OHM Nightclub, which held its grand opening February 22, 2014. A new Dave & Buster's restaurant, bar & video arcade complex served its first patrons August 21, 2014.

Sources:

"Hollywood & Highland Center", "Hollywood", "Hollywood Hotel"  and "Hollywood Walk of Fame" articles on Wikipedia
http://www.laweekly.com
http://www.marketingwithstyl.com/McCarthynews
http://la.curbed.com
http://www.hollywoodandhighland.com
http://web.archive.org/web/20020803150509/www.hollywoodandhighland.com/infopoints.html (Circa-2002 website on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)


Fair Use of "The Oscar" image: 

 
The image illustrates a key moment in the history of HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND COMPLEX-HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND CENTER that is described in the article. The image is of low resolution. It is not replaceable with a free-use or public-domain image. The image does not limit the copyright owners' rights in any way. The image is being used for informational purposes only and its use is not believed to detract from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in any way.