ADSLA Preservation Activities

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles works to preserve the architectural legacy of the early 20th Century in Southern California.

Hollywood Reporter Building (Active Campaign)

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles To Seek Landmark Status for The Hollywood Reporter Building Through the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission

The ADSLA Committee for Preservation Advocacy is pleased to announce that the Hollywood Reporter Building has passed its first step towards Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) designation. At its meeting on June 15, 2017, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted to take under consideration the ADSLA sponsored nomination. Art Deco Society of Los Angeles President Margot Gerber, Preservation Advocacy Committee Member and former board member Jeff Bissiri and board member Pauline O'Connor attended the hearing on behalf of ADSLA. Also on record in support were the LA Conservancy and Hollywood Heritage.

The building is most remembered for its association with William Wilkerson and the first daily industry trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, but for 8 years, the building also headquartered the LA Weekly. For over 80 years, this building housed important Los Angeles papers. Both of these significant Los Angeles media outlets are still in business today. The property (and our nomination) actually consists of three buildings built over a period from 1924 through 1947. The front building facing Sunset is a 1936 redesign by architect Douglas Honnold for its brief life as "The Sunset House" men's store. This design is a very distinctive (and unusual) Hollywood Regency/moderne style. While in need of restoration, it is mostly intact. We also have reason to believe that some of the original Sunset House interiors are extant.

The City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Ordinance provides for the designation of buildings and sites as individual local landmarks (called Historic Cultural Monuments). There are currently over 1000 HCM's in the city. Although it does not prevent demolition, the designation provides a level of protection for the building as well as benefits to the owner such as the Mill's Act. As part of our mission, the ADSLA Committee for Preservation Advocacy has undertaken an effort to identify and nominate unique and noteworthy buildings of the Art Deco era that we feel are worthy of this designation. We have successfully landmarked the Firestone Tire Building, the Wilshire Professional Building and the Redwine Building. There will be more to come in the near future.

The Hollywood Reporter Building has been on the watch list of the Committee for some time. It is currently under threat of demolition by the proposed Crossroads Hollywood Project. It is not clear at this point if the owner will oppose the nomination although we think it likely. The next step in the process is for a sub-committee of the Commission to visit the site probably in July or August. They will report findings to the entire Commission and vote on the HCM designation within a month or so after that. Opposition to the designation, if any, would appear at that meeting.

Stay tuned. We will keep members informed as the process plays out. We will ask for your help if more action is needed.

The Planning and Land Use Committee of the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council is holding a special meeting about the Crossroads development which impacts The Hollywood Reporter Building as well as the previously landmarked Crossroads of the World complex. If you are interested in attending to learn more, you are welcome to attend.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 22 at 6pm. It will be held at the Goldwyn Regional Library (1623 N. Ivar).
The public is encouraged to attend, and to offer their feedback on this project.

Read more about our preservation process in Los Angeles: Office of Historic Preservation.

PLUM Committee Recommends Landmark Status for Hollywood Reporter Bldg

ImageThe Art Deco Society has been engaged in a six month quest to get a Cultural Heritage Monument nomination approved for The Hollywood Reporter Building, located at 6715 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

We are pleased to announce that the result of our Tuesday, October 31st hearing with the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (comprised of 5 City Council Members), otherwise known as PLUM, was VERY positive. The building is in Council District 13 (otherwise known as CD13) and the new planning director, Craig Bullock was in attendance to speak on behalf of CD13 Council Member Mitch O'Farrell. Bullock expressed his council office's SUPPORT of our nomination! O'Farrell is not on the PLUM committee, but since the building is in his district, his endorsement of our efforts to landmark the building was very important.

In this 1930s photo from the Wilkerson Archives you can see the windows used to display hats at Sunset House, a high end store for men's furnishings that last only briefly in the building.

ADSLA gratefully acknowledges those who took time out of their day to come downtown on Halloween to speak in support of the nomination! Bill Higgins officially represented The Hollywood Reporter newspaper (which still publishes today from a mid-Wilshire location) and expressed the industry trade paper's support of the nomination. He read a statement of support from Willie Wilkerson, whose father Billy Wilkerson founded the paper and owned the building until his death in 1962 (it stayed in the family until his wife died in 2004). Scroll down to our links to media articles for a story involving F. Scott Fitzgerald's visit to this building!

Other speakers included: ADSLA Preservation Committee & Past Board Member, Jeff Bissiri; Preservationist Eric Evavold; The LA Conservancy's Adrian Scott Fine; Preservationist Charles Fisher, ADSLA President Margot Gerber; ADSLA VP Celeste Hong; Susan Hunter of the LA Tenant's Union; Hollywood Heritage Board Member Kevin Jordan; Preservationist Steve Luftman, Historian Nathan Marsak, ADSLA Board Member Nicole Marsak and ADSLA Board member Pauline O'Connor.

Hollywood Redwine Building - Landmarked 2016

The ADSLA Committee for Preservation Advocacy is pleased to announce that the Judge Redwine Building was declared a Historic Cultural Monument (LA HCM#1114) by the Los Angeles City Council on May 18, 2016. The ADSLA also wishes to thank our preservation partners the LA Conservancy and Hollywood Heritage who sent letters of support and spoke at the initial hearing in December of 2015.

As part of our mission, the ADSLA Committee for Preservation Advocacy has undertaken an effort to identify and nominate unique and noteworthy buildings of the Art Deco era that we feel are worthy of this designation. We have successfully landmarked the Firestone Tire Building, the Wilshire Professional Building and now the Redwine Building.

The Hollywood area is uniquely threatened with major development that is either under construction or in the planning stages. The Redwine Building though not directly threatened, will be impacted by the Crossroads of the World project. Our next monument candidate is the Hollywood Reporter Building on Sunset. This building is slated to be demolished as part of the Crossroads project. Our plan for 2017 is to nominate at least two new HCM’s. Because of the ongoing development in the area, one of these will likely be in Hollywood.

Stay tuned. We will keep members informed as this and other new nominations move forward. We will ask for your help if action is needed.


Golden State Mutual Building

The letter below was sent by Rory Cunningham, of the ADSLA Preservation Committee, on July 9 2014, opposing proposed alterations to the historic Golden State Mutual building. Click on the letter for a larger view.

Gramercy Place Preservation


        Preservation has prevailed again for an Art Deco Icon!
T-Mobile has lost its final appeal to place four cell phone antennae on top of the 1930-31 La Marquise Apartment Tower (LACHM # 853) located at 535 S. Gramercy Place in Los Angeles.  The ADSLA had teamed with numerous neighborhood groups and City Council District 4 in opposing the placement of towers on the roof of this elegant structure designed by architect Paul Kingsbury.  In a hearing late last year the cell service provider was denied the permit to build atop this residential building in a densely populated neighborhood, but T-Mobile appealed the ruling and put substantial financial weight in the form of lobbying efforts behind it.  Despite this property having the additional protection of the Mill's Act, the Cultural Heritage Commission of Los Angeles had endorsed the revised plan to enclose the unsightly cell transmitters in boxes that would be clearly visible from the street.  
After the final hearing in which one of the Central Area Planning Commissioners insinuated that the mobile telecommunications behemoth should look at ways to improve their technology in commercial areas rather than penetrate their commercial business into residential areas, ADSLA member Patricia Carroll stated, "Incredibly the appeal was denied!  We Won!!!!!!"

Photo by Charles Rosenberg

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.

The Firestone Building - Landmarked 2012

Firestone Tire Company Building is LA’s newest Landmark.
The ADSLA Preservation Committee is proud to announce that the Los Angeles City Council has voted to approve the ADSLA sponsored nomination of the Firestone Building as Historic Cultural Monument #1020. 
Located at 800 S. La Brea Ave, this 1937 building exhibits Streamline Moderne character defining features such as low horizontal lines and rounded edges. Often associated with motion and the machine, the streamline features are enhanced by the use of porcelain enamel steel panels as the main exterior finish material. The use of this ultra modern material in automotive buildings dates back at least a decade appearing first in service stations, usually in prefabricated designs. This use in a custom designed building is rare and rarer still that it survives today almost completely intact. 
Like many companies in this era, Firestone used state-of-the-art architecture and materials to make their building a working billboard, calling attention to itself and the products that were sold there. This design is unique and appears just as fresh today as it was in 1937. The building is still owned and operated by the parent company of Firestone Tire and stands as a visible reminder of what was once the cutting edge of commercial design.