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Los Angeles Flashback: No Guardian Angel for the 101*

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Rendering by Brett-Livingstone Strong

Curbed commenters pointed out last week that "Steel Clouds" over the 101 plan was hardly the last of LA's monumental fails. In 1999, Brett-Livingstone Strong -- who has been called a modern day Michelangelo...by himself -- designed a 350 ft angel sculpture to sit on a 750 ft. tower-of-babel-esque platform that would "house galleries, shops, several small nondenominational chapels, a 5,000-seat concert hall and a revolving theme restaurant."

That's 1100 ft total, taller than the Library Tower, which would have made it the new tallest structure west of the Mississippi.

The potential site for the project was 3rd & Bixel in Central City West, at what is now the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, among other buildings.

Apparently, LAUSD used eminent domain to acquire a large portion of the preferred site in 2001, which officially ended the project. However, the project was already faltering in early 2000 when the development group "lost a major financial supporter and [had] yet to purchase any property nearly 18 months after the bold project was unveiled."--Danny Ahkiam

UPDATE*: Jon Regardie, executive editor of the Downtown News, points out coverage his paper did in 2002 of the monument. The article was essentially a list of some of the worst development ideas proposed for Downtown:

"City of Angels Monument: In early 1999 Angelenos started hearing about Brett-Livingstone Strong, an Australian artist whose claim to fame was carving a likeness of John Wayne's head out of a rock. Strong hoped to buy acres of property on the west side of the 110 freeway so he could build what many would dismiss as the ugliest thing ever conceived for Los Angeles. His City of Angels Monument would rise 1,100 feet, with the top 350 feet being a bronze statue of an angel holding a sword (since when do angels carry swords? Unless it's the angel of death). The project, with renderings by the architectural firm Gensler, would also have contained hotels, restaurants and theaters. The price was an amazing $1.65 billion. The only thing more spectacular was that while most people laughed, then-First District City Councilman Mike Hernandez actually entertained the plan for the area he represented. "Mike is excited about the idea," one of his representatives told the L.A. Downtown News. Of course, Hernandez was the elected official who was really excited about cocaine for a few years. Suddenly, things seem a lot clearer."

· City of Angels' 1,100-Foot Flight of Fancy [LA Times]
· Faith in Angel Monument Teeters [LA Times]