Not So Fast, Onni

William Pereira’s LA Times complex one step closer to being landmarked

Architecture Preservation West
Developer Onni Group is seeking to demolish a William Pereira-designed portion of the historic Times Mirror Square complex and replace it with a new development, pictured. A historic nomination for the existing complex is making its way through city agencies. (Courtesy Onni Group)
Developer Onni Group is seeking to demolish a William Pereira-designed portion of the historic Times Mirror Square complex and replace it with a new development, pictured. A historic nomination for the existing complex is making its way through city agencies. (Courtesy Onni Group)

The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission (LACHC) has recommended historic-cultural monument status for the entirety of the Los Angeles Times Mirror Square complex, a decision that could potentially nix developer Onni Group’s plans to demolish a 1970s-era addition to the complex by William Pereira.

The bid to landmark the complex was launched in July by a group of preservationists led by Richard Schave of the historic tour group Esotouric just as the LA Times was finalizing plans to leave the complex in exchange for new facilities in the city of El Segundo south of Los Angeles.

The LA Times had owned and occupied the complex at 1st and Spring Streets since 1935 but it was sold in 2016 to Onni Group. The Times remained at the facilities under a rental agreement, but the threat of a drastic rent increase in 2018 forced The Times’s new owner, billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, to decamp to El Segundo.

With their recommendation, LACHC follows the advice of the Office of Historic Resources, which also supported the historic nomination earlier this summer. The issue now heads to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) before heading to the Los Angeles City Council for a final vote. If the historic nomination is approved, demolishing the Pereira-designed structures will prove more difficult for Onni, which is pushing a 1,127-unit mixed-use development designed by AC Martin for the portions of the site containing the Pereira-designed structures.

The LACHC found that the entire complex is both architecturally significant and meaningful for its associations with important historical personages, including Pereira, one of L.A.’s iconic Late Modern designers.

The PLUM meeting that will further decide the complex’s fate has not yet been scheduled.

Related Stories