Beverly Hills residents rejected ballot Measure HH in Tuesday's election, scuttling plans to construct a 26-story, 345-foot tall condominium building that was proposed for a plot of land adjacent to the Beverly Hilton.
The campaign surrounding Measure HH proved to be one of the most fiercely fought - and expensive - campaigns in Beverly Hills' history. As of Wednesday morning, with all 24 precincts reporting, 4,373 (44.25 percent) voted in favor of the measure, while 5,510 (55.8 percent) were against it, according to a county tally.
The proposal would have allowed Beverly Hilton owner Beny Alagem (who also is building the Waldorf Astoria next door) to combine two previously approved towers into a single 26-story tower directly adjacent to the Hilton; the proposal also included the creation of a 1.7-acre public park. More than $7 million was spent by proponents of the ballot measure. Those funds were spent on collecting signatures, advertising and lawyer's fees that were required when the campaign became mired in litigation.
According to spokesperson Marie Garvey, Alagem plans to move forward with the original plan that was approved by voters back in 2008 that will create two buildings, one eight stories and the other 18 stories.
"We stated from the beginning that we wanted residents to decide what would be built in the future. Right now they want the 2008 plan built and if that result holds that is exactly what we will do. We are tremendously grateful for all the hard work and support of thousands of residents and we are proud of our effort," Garvey told The Hollywood Reporter.
Opponents of the plan, which included the Wanda Group and Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch, accused Alagem of misrepresenting the plan and said the ballot measure was an end run around the city's land-use approval process. For the last year, the two sides have clashed in a battle that resulted in numerous lawsuits and several complaints filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission and the Federal Election Commission. The campaign pitted Alagem against Wanda, which is owned by Wang Jianlin, the world's 19th-richest person.
Wanda is currently seeking approval from the Beverly Hills City Council for its own 15-story project on the site where a Robinsons-May department store once stood, just across Merv Griffin Way from Alagem's site. Wanda got the city's planning commission to approve a change to its original plan; the new proposal would allow for 193 condominiums and 134 hotel rooms. The Beverly Hills City Council has several meetings scheduled this week to consider the plan and will likely vote on it in the coming weeks.