Is a new Hollywood sign hotel really a way of preserving the original icon?
Danish architect Christian Bay-Jorgensen announced during his Los Angeles visit Monday that the Hollywood sign could generate revenue for the city as a new hotel.
Eerily, an examiner reader recently commented on another Hollywood Insider article that the historic sign should become condos; then, that reader could proudly tell his mother "I live in the Hollywood sign".
The recent Save the Peak campaign brought attention to the possible demise of the hillside, when Chicago land owners planned to erect mansions around Cahuenga Peak, home of the sign.
Over the years, many ideas for transformation of the classic icon have sprung up, and board members for the preservation of the Hollywood sign say that Denmark's Bay-Jorgensen is, at age 28, a novice architect looking to make a name for himself in America.
His plan would completely rebuild the historic sign into larger, three-dimensional letters as the front of a white glass structure with an observation deck and a pool in back. Bay-Jorgensen proposes his hotel design could become a venue for events centered around The Oscars, and will bring in much-needed revenue for the city.
As reported in the LA Daily News, "That three-dimensional hotel makes a good story, though it's not going to happen," said Chris Baumgart, Chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust. "Each time the sign is threatened or in the news, someone just happens to come up with a sure-fire way to save it while bringing themselves quick fame."
Bay-Jorgensen's rendering of the hotel's rear pool and decks.
If there's one thing Hollywood can't get enough of, it's visitors with no experience and no first-hand knowledge of the city telling everyone how they are going to make a difference here. Starting by tearing down the best-known sign in the world and ruining the landscape, wildlife, and traffic in the area for yet another hotel is not an attractive plan; nor is it a new one.
The outcome of Trust for Public Land's fund raising is expected to be announced Wednesday, when the Trust and LA City Council hope the $12.5 million sum needed to purchase the area from the Chicago investors has been achieved.
At least Bay-Jorgensen's hotel idea is giving the land trust some media attention at a critical time in the Hollywood sign's fate.