Why the Star of a Big Hollywood Development Is the Sun

ImageThe Epic, a giant new building in Hollywood that will be occupied by Netflix, is outfitted with solar panels.
Credit…Hudson Pacific

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Today, we’re starting off a new week and a new month with this dispatch from Brooks Barnes, who covers Hollywood for The Times, about a big new building:

At last count, there were 34 major construction projects in Hollywood, which Los Angeles officials are determined to turn into a high-density area.

But one new building stands out amid the glut, and not just because of its name — the Epic — or the company that will soon occupy all of its 13 floors: Netflix.

[Read more about how Netflix’s lobby has become “the town hall of Hollywood.”]

The just-completed Epic is the first office tower in L.A. to embed solar energy-generating panels (“building integrated photovoltaics”) into its facade, according to Hudson Pacific, which owns the property. Put simply, the structure will use its walls to capture and convert sunlight into electricity.

“Vertical panels are extremely uncommon, and part of the reason is just physics — they’re less efficient than if you have them on the roof,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association, a trade group. “So I’m not sure how much energy they will generate. But it’s still interesting.

Ms. Del Chiaro described Los Angeles as “almost a clean-energy desert,” saying, “it’s the place with the most amount of energy need and the most sun and the least amount of this type of experimentation.”

The 310 panels, manufactured by Walters & Wolf and installed on the building’s east and west sides (the two with the greatest exposure), will supply 1.5 percent of the power that Netflix needs, according to Natalie Teear, Hudson Pacific’s vice president for sustainability and social impact.

[Read more about the possibility of virtual solar power plants.]

“It’s just a cool example of what’s possible,” Ms. Teear said.

Chris Barton, Hudson Pacific’s executive vice president for development and capital investments, declined to say how much the solar panels added to the cost of construction. “There’s a premium to pay for them, certainly,” he said. “But we want to do what we can to establish a market for this technology.”

Netflix had no comment. A Hudson Pacific spokeswoman said the streaming giant would move into the building in the coming months.

The Epic has other unusual features — colossal outdoor work spaces with trees, fire pits and sofas, for instance — but Netflix’s primary Hollywood headquarters will remain across the street in a building (also owned by Hudson Pacific) that is known for its eye-popping lobby.

Read more of Brooks’s work here.


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  • “For her to lose California would be really hard and it’s not looking good.” Senator Kamala Harris was once a top-tier presidential candidate. Now, dozens of interviews have painted a picture of a campaign troubled by infighting and a lack of direction. Part of the problem, some said, is that she has thrived in the Golden State, which requires a different kind of politicking. [The New York Times]

Also, if you missed it, here’s a dive into how Oakland feels about Ms. Harris now. [The New York Times]

And look back at the challenges candidates, including Ms. Harris, faced in California this cycle. [The New York Times]

  • President Trump’s intervention in the case of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL whose colleagues said he stabbed a sedated teenage captive, is testing the Pentagon’s tolerance. [The New York Times]

  • Much of Northern California was under a winter storm warning as snow continued to pummel the Sierra and snarl roads. [The Sacramento Bee]

  • Southern California, too, braced for more cold, rain and snow. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • Decades ago, black farmworkers were attracted to the fields of California with promises of bounty. They were met with the same Jim Crow racism they left behind. Now, decades later, community members say reparations could be made in the form of water access. [The New York Times]

  • The OC Weekly’s Twitter account said the alternative news outlet was shutting down after 25 years of no-holds-barred coverage of a diverse county that is too often pegged as simply white and wealthy. But Duncan McIntosh, the paper’s current publisher, said he was in talks to sell the publication. [The Orange County Register]

  • “Of the 9,304 units under construction in Oakland, fewer than 7 percent — a total of 628 — are subsidized affordable projects.” Oakland’s new housing development is outpacing San Francisco’s. It’s complicated. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • If the founders of Big Tech were a family, Roger McNamee might be its eccentric uncle. Now, he’s one of its biggest critics. [The New Yorker]

  • A few months ago, Ali Awow opened a small clothing and tailoring shop in a Somali market in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood. It’s a new life after a long, difficult journey from Mogadishu, Somalia, where his father taught him to sew as a boy. Mr. Awow was helped by an organization that was a beneficiary of The Times’s Neediest Cases Fund. [The New York Times]

  • A journalist set out to square his father’s account of the disappearance of a horse who had never won a race from the stables at Hollywood Park with that of the horse’s trainer, who said she rescued the horse, Urgent Envoy, from villainous owners — including his father. [NPR]

  • Here’s how the Bay Area marked World AlDS Day. [KTVU]

Also, here are intimate snapshots from the first decade of the crisis from The Times’s archives. [The New York Times]


In November 2011, when I worked for The Bakersfield Californian, I wrote about the big debate roiling the retail industry at the time: whether it was smart or humane to start Black Friday sales at midnight after a family holiday, as opposed to, say, 5 a.m.

I distinctly recall this minor controversy because — intern that I was — I was also the reporter tasked with interviewing the eager shoppers of Kern County, lined up outside Target, ready to lightly jog through the doors when the clock struck 12.

There are many things about the world today that might have seemed unfathomable in 2011, but what my colleague Vanessa Friedman described in this column as the dilution of “Black Friday” to the point of utter meaninglessness is not one of them.

Now, she reported, every day and no day is Black Friday; it’s just another way for retailers to say “sale” in an age when paying full price for items online almost makes you feel like a chump.

But in the process of this shift, we’ve also had our sense of value permanently altered.

On that note, here’s an exploration of how Amazon has changed daily existence in America.


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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