BEVERLY HILLS—Crescent Drive is closed due to construction of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The revamping of the historic post-office is causing traffic delays and concern as the project nears completion.

The accompanying parking lot, which will be located across the street from City Hall, is now under construction as well. The parking structure is being constructed underneath Crescent Drive and the excavation of this lot is causing the most concern to traffic as the traffic to Crescent Drive is projected to be closed to the public until Fall 2011. The closed area is between N. Santa Monica Boulevard and S. Santa Monica Boulevard. The three-story parking structure will have accommodations for 470 car spaces and will be city owned to benefit all members of the Beverly Hills community.

The city is showing great concern for the confusion and frustration a construction project like this entails. Traffic is being directed down the adjacent parallel street and is being monitored by the city so adjustments can be made in order to better suit the public’s needs. Fences have been set up in an effort to reduce the noise level and there are also dust mitigation procedures in place.

Regardless of these efforts, the public is still frustrated with the construction and local businesses are complaining of a loss of patrons as the construction is causing inconsistent parking options for customers. Jeff Tilem, owner ofPioneer Hardware, told Canyon News the street closure is “negatively affecting business.” Traffic patterns are causing confusion and a recent effort to repave the street is adding to local business owner’s frustration. The city has put in place numerous signs reminding shoppers that local stores are still open for business, but this effort was only made after business owners lobbied the city for these signs.

The Annenberg Performing Arts Center will open in 2012 after approximately 10 years of planning and development. The Annenberg Foundation made a $15 million grant towards the project of revamping the Depression era post-office. Zoltan Pali is the award winning architect whose contemporary design of the 500-seat Goldsmith Theater will compliment the historic features of the original building. The Annenberg Performing Arts Center will not only be a theater for world class entertainment, but will also provide benefits for the local community. The center will house a theater school with multi-use classroom space, flexible studio theater, sculpture garden, cafe and gift shop.

In a press release, Chairman of the Annenberg’s Board of Directors, Bram Goldsmith, stated, “We’ve been extremely fortunate to have a group of true visionaries on board as well as a supportive City Council who recognizes the importance that this project will bring to both Beverly Hills and the Greater Los Angeles. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts promises to be a vital destination for both residents and visitors to Beverly Hills.”

For any questions regarding the street closures and construction, the City of Beverly Hills has set up a 24-hour Hotline at 800-658-4002.