Mole Richardson - Demolished June 10 2014

We lost an Art Deco building yesterday on La Brea at Willoughby. You may know it as the Mole-Richardson Studio Depot, but in this photo from the 1920s this gorgeous Morgan, Walls and Clement building was ModernCraft Laundry. Note the fountain in front!

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles Preservation Committee will have an explanation of how developers use a loophole in the law to avoid review of their intentions. For now, please be sure to report any suspicious activity immediately surrounding historic buildings in your travels around Los Angeles. You can report your findings to the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, Hollywood Heritage Museum and the Los Angeles Conservancy. Suspicious activity would be a building that is suddenly vacated or boarded up.

Statement from the ADSLA Regarding the Demolition of the Mole-Richardson Building

From the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

After learning of the demolition of the Mole-Richardson building located at 900 N. La Brea, our president John Thomas reached out to city officials to determine how this wonderful Art Deco building could be demolished without any public notification or internal review by the Office of Historic preservation.

What we have learned is that unless a building is listed as a Historic Cultural Monument (landmarked) building demolition permits can be issued on any building, a "by right" opportunity for the property owner. The key point is that buildings may be demolished or altered if the proposed scope of work does not trigger review using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or thresholds are reached to require an Environmental Impact Report.

ADSLA has been successful in achieving landmark status for the Firestone building located at 8th Street and La Brea. We are about to submit a nomination for another Art Deco masterpiece on Wilshire Boulevard.

While we understand these preservation topics are complex and deal with protection the rights of property owners, we must work to explore options to avoid future incidents and losses of our significant architectural building inventory.

This "hole" in the system requires preservation organizations to join forces and meet with city officials to evaluate potential opportunities and address this issue.

John Thomas, president of ADSLA, will be reaching out to local preservation organizations to develop a working coalition that will present our mutual concerns to the City and better understand what role preservation organizations can play to seek solutions toward this issue.