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Wilshire Blvd's Ambassador Hotel--Not Everything Is Lost

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LA Mag editor and mid-century modernism junkie Chris Nichols paid a recent visit to the former site of the Ambassador Hotel, now the massive construction site for the future Central Los Angeles New Learning Center #1 (just rolls off the tongue, don't it?). While (almost) all is lost of the former hotel, Nichols was contacted to help with the few elements being recreated, including the Paul Williams-designed coffee shop now being rebuilt as a teacher's lounge. Nichols, as "a collector of vintage Los Angeles ephemera," possesses the only color photograph of the shop, and South Pasadena-based restoration architect Mark Stankard plans to match the colors and finishes from the original.

Nichols toured the last remaining pieces of the original hotel, including the west wall of the Cocoanut Grove, the entrance canopy, and the original driveway pylons. Thanks, LAUSD for preserving those pylons! New replicas include the "classical nude sculpture that welcomed visitors. This time she’ll be draped in a 'negligee' added by the Denver-area sculptor." We wouldn't want to scar the kiddies with a classical nude.

And the main auditorium will sit on the same site as the original, modeled after the Cocoanut Grove. And here's the creepiest part: "Much of the Wilshire frontage, including the driveway, will become a pocket park complete with art installations of tile and benches inspired by the hotel that feature a repeating soundtrack of music from the Grove and ghostly, disembodied memorials from long ago visitors." (Assuming this is the Robert F. Kennedy memorial park that is taking forever to finish?) No wait, we take that back. The part about Sharon Stone writhing on the floor at the spot where RFK was assassinated is. [Photo via Flickr user Conductor Mike]
· The Spyglass Blog [LA Magazine]
· Former Ambassador Hotel Site In Rendered Glory [Curbed LA]