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HOLLYWOOD, CA-A partnership of Toluca Lake-based developer Jeffrey Rouze and a Wisconsin company has set out to restore one of this town’s faded stars–the Hillview Apartments–to its former glory.

Rouze and the Great Lakes Cos. Inc. of Madison, WI, are partners in a just-started $10.7-million reconstruction of the 54-unit Hillview, which two movie industry movie moguls built in 1917 as housing for their actors. Rouze, who also spearheaded the redevelopment of the El Capitan office building in Hollywood, tells GlobeSt.com that moguls Sam Goldwyn and Jesse Lasky financed the construction of the apartment building at 6531 Hollywood Blvd. in 1917. They needed housing for their actors, Rouze says, because film folk were unwelcome in many buildings then, with apartments and rooming houses of the time sporting signs that said, “No Dogs or Actors.” Beginning in the silent film era, scores of stars made their home there, including comedian Oliver Hardy.

The Hillview has been vacant since 1994 when city officials declared it unsafe after it was damaged in the Northridge Earthquake. It sustained further damage from a sinkhole during subway construction through Hollywood, Rouze tells GlobeSt.com. And then last year, an arson fire destroyed most of the roof.

Rouze and Great Lakes bought the property last year for $3.8 million from a Los Angeles-based private investor. The reconstruction and rehabilitation project will restore some of the touches of yesteryear to the project, according to Rouze. For example, he says, many of the apartments in the original Hillview featured Murphy Beds that swung out on revolving doors.

The newly renovated building will add modern features too, including state-of-the-art kitchens, washers and dryers in each unit, high-speed Internet access, a rooftop deck and Jacuzzi and a 24-hour business center. The rehab project will retain the shell of the building and the floors, but much of the inside is too damaged to be saved, Rouze says. The plan is to complete the makeover in the first half of next year.

The Hillview owners are financing the project with federal tax credits designed for historic building rehabilitations and will restore the property to its original 54 units. The completed building will include 28 studio apartments, 16 one-bedrooms and 10 two-bedrooms, ranging from 413 sf to 1,174 sf.

Monthly rents will range from $900 to $2,500. The project architect is Roschen van Cleve Architects of Hollywood. The historic architect is John Ash Group of Los Angeles. The general contractor is Cartera/Trillium Construction Managers Inc. a Windsor, Ontario Canada-based contractor with a US office in Phoenix.

Great Lakes, which has a background in apartment development and management, currently owns and has developed and renovated 12 apartment and senior housing complexes comprising 885 units. Eric Lund, a Great Lakes senior vice president, notes the Hillview project will join a number of other revitalization efforts in Hollywood, where private and public redevelopment efforts have increased substantially in recent years. The Great Lakes Cos. Inc. is a privately owned, diversified real estate company that was established in 1992 and best known for its year-round indoor water park resorts.

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