Hollywood project 'to be constructed on earthquake fault'

The one million square foot Millenium Hollywood project, which aims to build the film industry capital’s tallest buildings, will be put on hold while the area undergoes “essential further seismic testing”.

State geologist John Parrish voiced his concerns following the project’s approval by local government last month. “There is enough evidence to suggest that the fault is active and capable of producing a devastating earthquake”, he publicly stated yesterday.

Mr Parrish’s concern is over the Hollywood Fault, a nine-mile rupture which runs through the neighbourhoods of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Steep slopes on either side of the project location have been caused by previous ruptures, and local geologists fear that the proposed skyscrapers could pose a threat to public safety.

While the fault’s existence is recognised, its exact location is not known, nor is it listed on the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act. This act is a piece of California legislation which prohibits the construction of new buildings within 50 feet of an earthquake fault. A building constructed over a seismic fault can be ripped in half during a tremor.

A spokesman for Lewis & Lewis, the New York-based property developer in charge of the project, told the Los Angeles Times “there is no evidence of a fault at the site, but we fully intend to do more testing. We have no interest in building something that is not safe”.

The fault’s inclusion on the Earthquake Zoning Act would have major implications for Hollywood, which is undergoing major developments.

John Silverstein, a land-use lawyer representing a number of high-storey projects in the area said “if this earthquake fault is verified it will throw a major spanner in the works of many future developments, not just the Millennium project”.

The Millennium project is a pair of 35 and 39-storey buildings, planned hotel, office and retail space, which if built will be the tallest in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Fault is part of a network of earthquake faults throughout the area. The last time the fault was known to have ruptured was 7,000 years ago. Any fault which has ruptured within the past 11,000 years is considered ‘active’ by the state of California.

Read original story on The Telegraph