The Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) has voted to landmark only the most historic elements of the Los Angeles Times complex, paving the way for the demolition of a William L. Pereira–designed addition from 1970.
The decision to deny Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) status for the entire complex comes as developer Onni Group and architects AC Martin push forward on a transformative project that aims to bring two high-rise apartment towers containing over 1,200 units to the portion of the LA Times complex site currently occupied by the Pereira-designed structure.
Preservationists Kim Cooper, Alan Hess, and Richard Schave had been fighting to designate the entirety of the complex in an effort that predated the 2016 announcement of the AC Martin–designed project. The approach was geared toward positioning the Late Modern addition as an integral portion of the complex and as a pivotal structure built during a time of growth and expansion in the city of Los Angeles.
The council members on the PLUM committee disagreed, however, and instead voted to grant HCM status only to the older portions of the complex, including the flagship Art Deco LA Times building from the 1930s designed by Gordon Kaufman, and a later addition from the 1940s designed by Rowland Crawford.
The decision will allow Onni’s project to move forward at a time of increasing change for the Civic Center, which recently saw the completion of SOM’s United States Courthouse, the Rios Clementi Hale Studios–designed Grand Park, and other notable projects. The district is undergoing a forward-looking master planning process that aims to convert the sleepy, single-use administrative enclave into a mixed-use neighborhood complete with apartment towers, office spaces, and new parks, including the forthcoming First and Broadway Park designed by OMA and Studio-MLA.
Just around the corner from the proposed AC Martin project, Gehry Partners’s long-awaited Grand Avenue complex recently broke ground.
The battle over the future Times Mirror Square complex also comes following a bruising preservation battle aimed at saving the much-derided Parker Center complex, a former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters designed by Welton Beckett. Parker Center is currently being demolished.
No word yet on whether an appeal will be filed in support of the Pereira structure or, if further efforts to save the complex fail, when demolition might commence.