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Hollywood Arts Collective’s Cicely Tyson Residential Building Hosts Ribbon Cutting

Hollywood Arts Collective’s Cicely Tyson Residential Building Hosts Ribbon Cutting

Artists are now, officially, in residence in Hollywood.

Officials from developer Thomas Safran & Associates, the and the City of Los Angeles gathered for a ribbon cutting and open house celebration at Hollywood Arts Collective’s Cicely Tyson Residential Building on Wednesday to launch the 151-unit tax credit property in the heart of Hollywood.

The seven-story property — named after the late icon and located at 1630 Schrader Blvd., near the Hollywood Walk of Fame — houses apartments, all of which are occupied exclusively by artists (defined as someone who has regularly engaged in an artistic, creative or cultural practice and who pursues such practice on a professional basis) and their families. Residents were selected first by lottery, then based on income requirements and other factors.

Speakers and attendees at Wednesday’s event included Safran, Keith McNutt, ECF’s executive director of the Western region, Garrett Gin, senior vp of global marketing at Bank of America, Tim Elliott, general manager at the Los Angeles Housing Department, Emma Howard, community development and planning director for Council District 13 in L.A., Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, Davis Han, district representative for California senator Ben Allen, Armeen Neshat, deputy director of affordable housing for Mayor Karen Bass, and property resident Irene Lim.

In his comments, Safran praised key partners on the project and pointed out that the building is complemented by lush courtyards so that residents can “look out and see green. That is a passion of mine. I love landscaping,” he said. The building is comprised of studios, one, two and three bedroom units with modern amenities. With secured access, on-site management and maintenance staff, residents also have access to a community room, computer lab, library, TV room, fitness room and laundry facilities. (Last year, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed ECF board chair Annette Bening in one of the building’s units for a cover story.)

The celebration was 14 years in the making, dating back to 2010, and the ride to completion was a rollercoaster, detailed McNutt from the podium as he praised the various officials who got the project across the finish line. He saved praise for Safran and his “amazing team,” part of a group he dubbed angels.

“This is now a community of storytellers, and the story of this Hollywood Arts Collective — which at the end of next year will include both this beautiful Cicely Tyson Residential Community and the Rita Moreno Arts Building next year — is one of partnerships, perseverance and a lot of gratitude,” said McNutt. “We first started talking to people in 2006 about a novel idea: building affordable housing for artists in L.A., and got our official start in 2010 with the city of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs under the leadership of Olga Garay-English, and then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.”

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Five years later, they lost their initial partners when a proposal was rejected, McNutt continued. Shortly after, Thomas Safran & Associates entered the picture as a partner on the project, which was fueled by former Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, city officials, donors and other sponsors. From Safran & Associates, McNutt noted the efforts of Safran, Jordan Pynes, Tyler Monroe, Courtney DeBeikes and Sara Dabbs. Other key sources of support came from the NEA, MusiCares, ArtPlace and Glorya Kaufman, McNutt added.

Various speakers shouted out the artists who make the Cicely Tyson Resident Building a community, so it was only fitting that one of those with a mailbox there had time at the podium to share their experience of what it’s like to live there and be a part of the one-of-a-kind development.

“Living in Hollywood Arts Collective has granted me access to a world of culture, creativity and endless possibility. From strolling along the Walk of Fame to catching a movie premiere at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, every moment spent in the bustling metropolis is a reminder of the boundless opportunity that abound,” Lim said. “As I stand here today, I’m filled with gratitude to Thomas Safran and sponsors for the opportunity to allow growing artists to live and network in such a vibrant city.”

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