Work has finally begun on 5550 Hollywood Boulevard, a long-awaited mixed-use complex from developer Sonny Astani.  Designs from Los Angeles-based PSL Architects call for a six-story structure containing 280 apartments and slightly over 12,600 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  The project will preserve and incorporate Falcon Studios, a two-story brick structure built in the 1920s which once served as a rehearsal studio for performers in Hollywood's golden age.

The $100 million development had previously faced opposition from two clients of attorney Robert Silverstein, both of whom sought to overturn 5550 Hollywood's approvals from the City Planning Commission.  The two appeals, which have since been dropped, argued that the project did not provide proper deference to historic structures such as Falcon Studios and the adjacent Mayer Building.

Astani's new residential-retail complex is the latest in a series of developments planned near the once-ignored Hollywood/Western subway station.  During the past two years, a shopping center and a new senior housing facility have opened up within walking distance of the busy intersection.  Further developments are also planned further west along Hollywood Boulevard, including a boutique hotel and a mixed-use development near the 101 Freeway.