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Hollywood’s Screenplay is Still Being Written

By Joseph Mariani

May 21, 2014

Perhaps you were able to check out the Los Angeles Business Journal’s recent article entitled ‘Staging Comeback.’  In the article, author Bethany Firnhaber does a tremendous job of describing all the latest, greatest, and “coming soon” real estate developments occurring in our ever expanding Hollywood community.  In reading the article I couldn’t help but become a little nostalgic thinking of how far Hollywood has come in the last 14 years.  For those of us who have been here for some time it’s been amazing to see the transformation that has occurred.  Thinking back to the year 2000 walking down the Boulevard probably wasn’t an option for many…unless of course you were feeling rather adventurous.  The Hollywood and Highland complex was still under construction, Hollywood and Vine’s metro stop was one year removed from its opening, and the Equitable and Broadway buildings were far from being places where you would live.  Fast forward to today and Hollywood has seen a 150% increase in the amount of residential units in the District, with another 4,000 units in the pipeline.  Hollywood the global city known for its legendary terrazzo sidewalks, classic tourist attractions, and of course movie folklore is quickly shifting from a destination on a Los Angeles’ map to a place many are beginning to call “home.”

As this conversion occurs it merits some thought as to what our community should become, and I’m not saying we should neglect our visitors completely.  Actually, what I’m trying to say is that every great destination is almost always a great neighborhood before it is anything else.  With thousands of residents soon moving to the district and new retail spaces being built the question that begs to be answered is “what does the Hollywood community and its residents envision for their neighborhood?”  My experience in meeting with other BIDs throughout the country has taught me that we are not alone in this quest.  Newly arriving residents (customers) in places across the globe have begun to change the look and feel of cities far and wide.  As “stakeholders” become more strategic as to what the retail needs are the questions arise if another liquor store?, t-shirt shop?, or even a nightclub?, may be the best tenant for these evolving communities.  Often times it’s the art store, neighborhood grocer, or even pet shop that is the more popular choice. To settle for anything less than what we are capable of becoming as a neighborhood would be, to put it in Hollywood terms, a box office failure.  The good news is that there is still time to finish this screenplay and the last time I checked casting calls for businesses are still open.

Joseph Mariani, a member of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance staff since 2007, has enjoyed seeing the continued positive growth in Hollywood. Serving as the BID’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development Mariani works closely with property owners, the retail and investment community, commercial real estate brokers and the city’s economic development team to implement the BID’s strategic marketing and communications blueprint.  He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of California, Riverside and recently completed his MBA at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.  Mariani is an avid sports fan, loves his beautiful wife, and enjoys volunteering at the Oasis of Hollywood. Check out the latest Hollywood happenings @GoodNewsJoe


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