This weekend the world famous Hollywood sign went a different way and tried some activism on for size.
The event was to publicize efforts to raise money to acquire Cahuenga Peak, the 138-acre parcel just to the west of the sign, and add the land to Griffith Park. The parcel of land has been sold to the San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land for $11.7 million. And if this sale goes through, the land is rumored to be developed into (still more) luxury homes.
If the community decides to stop the sale and purchase the land and leave it as designated “open space” they will need to come up with $12.5 million to cover costs.
Many locals and city officials assumed that the sign was part of the city’s Griffith Park. At the time it was sold, its history came to light:
Billionaire Howard Hughes bought the land in 1940 with the idea to build a romantic hilltop home for his love, actress Ginger Rogers. “We’ll live up here by ourselves with the world far below,” he told her. The gesture, however, didn’t sit too well with Rogers who feared he would lock her up and never let her see anyone. The two broke up and the land was put in Hughes’ trust for 62 years until it was sold.
As the market began to crash, so did the new owner’s bloated $22-million asking price. Last year, the San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land entered into a one-year due diligence period with Fox River Financial Resources for a total of $12.5 million. The goal is to purchase the land and deed it over to the city’s Griffith Park, but to date, only $6.3 million has been secured. By April 14th, the rest of the money is due or the property risks being sold to other buyers.
This is not the first time this LA landmark, which originally read “HOLLYWOODLAND” has been altered or gone political. It has also been altered to read “CALTECH,” “HOLLYWeeD” and a few other phrases through the years.
You can show your support and donate at The Trust for Public Land – we have until April 14th to save the hill.