Future of Hollywood Target still uncertain after latest court ruling

A judge invalidated the city’s latest approval of the project

The sad, half-built shell of a Target sticking out of the ground at Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue has lost yet another legal matchup.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin Jr. has sided with neighborhood groups in their lawsuit accusing the city of not fully considering the impacts of new zoning rules approved last year. Those rules would have allowed taller buildings, including the 74-foot-tall Hollywood Target, to be built.

Fruin’s ruling puts construction on the Target on indefinite hold, the Beverly Press reports. Fruin has yet to rule on what has to be done before the Target project can be complete, the Press says.

The Times called the ruling a “humiliating new legal defeat” for both Target and city officials who keep trying—and failing— to get the building completed.

The Target’s trouble centers on its height. Zoning rules in the area where it was built put the maximum height allowed for the project at 35 feet tall, but in 2012, the big-box store reached a height of 74 feet.

The La Mirada Neighborhood Association sued the city, saying the new building dodged the rules. A judge agreed, freezing construction on the partially-finished building.

So last year, the City Council decide to change the allowable height in a part of the neighborhood that would include the Target project site, theoretically making the building’s height OK. For a short time, it looked like work might begin again on the project, but the La Mirada group and its lawyer, Robert Silverstein, sued again. This latest ruling just returned the project to the limbo it knows so well.

The project’s opponents insist all these lawsuits and construction delays could have been avoided if the city had just followed the law to begin with. “It is the city that has kept the project in limbo by continually ignoring the public and the law,” Silverstein told the Beverly Press.