Julia Morgan’s magnificent but dilapidated Herald-Examiner Building, located on the long-neglected south end of Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, is about to get the attention it has deserved for decades. The Hearst Companies have awarded Los Angeles firm Omgivning the commission for its renovation and redevelopment. Meanwhile, Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) will design two adjacent mixed-use buildings, tentatively called 11 x 12, for Forest City.
The opulent, Spanish Revival style Herald-Examiner (1914) was designed for William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper of the same name. The publication closed in 1989 and the edifice, with its terra cotta rooftops, tiled domes, and elegant archways, has been suffering from serious neglect since. The architects will install retail and restaurants on the ground floor and creative office and commercial spaces above. The building’s ornate lobby remains in tact, said Omgivning principal Karin Liljegren, but the remaining interior consists mostly of a raw concrete shell. The developer for the renovation is the Hearst Companies. Completion dates have not been finalized, said Liljegren.
Courtesy Forest City
HED’s nearby buildings include “11,” a red-colored linear building behind the Herald Examiner near 11th Street, and “12,” a blue-colored cube-shaped building one block south near 12th Street. 11 contains 178 residential units and about 6,000 square feet of retail, while 12 houses 214 units and 8,000 square feet of retail. Both designs have large podiums and are “ragingly contemporary,” said HED principal Daniel Gehman. Still, 11, its red color inspired by the Herald-Examiner’s auburn tiles, is slightly more muted when facing the historic building, so as to “be a good, poetic neighbor,” said Gehman.
HED is designing a narrow, heavily landscaped paseo behind the Herald-Examiner, giving the buildings breathing room and providing outdoor dining and congregation space. The buildings and the paseo are expected to break ground by the end of this year and be completed by late 2016 or early 2017.
Hearst almost redeveloped the Herald-Examiner in 2007, commissioning Morphosis to design two jagged residential high rises behind the Julia Morgan building. The recession killed that scheme.
Omgivning is also designing a boutique hotel across the street from the Herald Examiner in a historic 13-story high rise that once contained the Case Hotel.
“It’s such an important thing for Broadway to get that bookend,” said Liljegren, referring to filling out the south side of a street that is finally emerging from years of slumber. Liljegren has been involved with reforming the area’s sign ordinance to allow for a much wider variety of signs on Broadway, from open panel roof marquees to long, narrow blade signs, rising up the side of the street. “This is long overdue, what’s happening here,” agreed Gehman. “It’s all coming together.”