Tom Gregory

Beverly Hills' Measure H Takes on the Tony Town

Friday, October 10, 2008 permalink

If you live anywhere around western Los Angeles it's inevitable you'll drive through, to, or out of Beverly Hills. To most of the world the town is a brand, symbolizing wealth, privilege and the Hollywood good-life. The hospitality industry, retail, restaurants and residents all want the cache of a Beverly Hills address.

For years a nine-acre triangle of expensive land has been home to the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Today, it's a mangled mess of a lot -- from the street it seems more like a fortress than a high-end Hotel. In 2004 Merv Griffin sold the behemoth to Benny Alagem, who now has plans for site's redevelopment. Some residents have grievances with his proposal. They say, "it's just too big" -- rebuild the property, but forget high-rise condo buildings. Supporters say it's just what the site needs -- the condo component is crucial to the project. Residents who agree with the project say it serves the city well.

Through a petition process it's up to the voters to decide the project's fate. For Beverly Hills residents Measure H will be on the November ballot. Everyone is taking sides projecting their opinion on yard signs. Neighbor is pitted against neighbor as they struggle with how to pull the lever on this high-stakes issue.