Thursday, February 11, 2010

Revised Development Plan Preserves Century Plaza Hotel

News from the Los Angeles Conservancy...

Revised Development Plan Preserves Century Plaza Hotel

Century Plaza Hotel, Andrew Hara, 400xThe Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Next Century Associates (owners of the Century Plaza Hotel) have announced plans for a revised development project that would preserve the 1966 Century Plaza Hotel in Century City.

All three parties worked together at the urging of Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, in whose district the hotel resides. The Conservancy is extremely grateful to Councilmember Koretz for his leadership in bringing us all to the table, and to his staff for their dedication to finding a preservation solution.

The revised project will preserve the existing hotel building as the centerpiece of a mixed-use development with hotel, residential, and office space; retail and restaurants; and public plazas and open space.

The project will undergo the normal City review and approval process, including a full environmental impact report (EIR) estimated for release and public comment later this year. Next Century's architectural team has begun a concept design that will be available for review in the coming months.

The project allows for the reuse of the hotel building and development of the property in a way that maintains the building's eligibility as both a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) and for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources. To this end, architecture and preservation firm Architectural Resources Group, Inc. will conduct an independent historic evaluation of the project.

The Conservancy and the National Trust will continue our involvement through a Preservation Advisory Group that will review the preservation project as it develops. Significant documentation has been done to identify the building's historic features, and the preparation of a detailed Historic Structure Report is underway.

Architecture firm Marmol Radziner and Associates has created detailed protocols for the treatment of the building's historic features. This groundbreaking research--particularly into the treatment of aluminum, which came into widespread use in the 1960s and was used extensively in the Century Plaza Hotel--will benefit not only the hotel building but many other historic resources from the sixties and beyond.

The progress we've made to date is very encouraging and could serve as a model for collaboration between preservationists and developers going forward. It is particularly meaningful on the heels of the demolition of the 1965 Columbia Savings Building, which underscores the fragility of Greater L.A's 1960s heritage. For more information, visit their website, The Sixties Turn 50.

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