The Old Spaghetti Factory was demolished this week, which raised some preservation questions, considering the developer had an agreement in place to incorporate parts of the original, be-columned structure into its new 22-story tower. Turns out the building was too far gone to save, according to Julie Wong, a spokesperson for Councilmember Eric Garcetti's office--in December, developer CIM Group amended its preservation deal with Hollywood Heritage and they mutually agreed on the total demolition of the building. As reported Wednesday, CIM will hold onto the four wood trusses and the fireplace mantel (all that was left from its original car dealership days) and reinstall them in the new building; according to the agreement, they'll also recreate the building's Sunset, Gordon, and eastern facades "using new materials." The building was thoroughly documented and samples were taken before its destruction.
Hollywood Heritage president Richard Adkins also wrote to the Paradise Leased blog to let them know the demolition was necessary: "Investigation on the site revealed that the unreinforced masonry would not allow restoration of the walls as subsequent owners had applied a thick layer of gunnite onto the original facade, which is why KNX had square pillars rather than original Doric columns (The Spaghetti Factory removed both the square encapsulated columns and the originals and replaced them with taller Corinthian columns without the appropriate height lintel above them). CIM proposed to rebuild the facade using original window frames and return it to the Peerless showroom appearance under the supervision of a preservation architect and Hollywood Heritage."
As Paradise Leased so often does, it also dishes the historical dirt on the building--it was built in 1923 for luxury car company Peerless and designed by McNeal Swasey. According to PL, "Visitors to the Spanish-style Peerless Showroom would arrive by way of a patio entrance framed by six massive columns. Passing through the heavily carved Spanish doors visitors would then enter a soaring two-story space anchored by a handsome fireplace." When Peerless switched from cars to beer in the early 1930s, the building briefly became a "Tango Game" parlor (we don't know what that is, but it was "shut down by the authorities," so must've been good), then an events venue called the Hollywood Auditorium. In 1934, it was remodeled by architect Earl Heitschmidt and became home to the KNX studios and offices. In 1938, the Max Reinhardt Studio Workshop moved in, then KMPC studios in 1944. They stayed until 1968; the building stayed vacant until 1976, when the Old Spaghetti Factory opened.
· Hollywood's Old Spaghetti Factory Razed, But Tower Groundbreaking Remains a Mystery [Curbed LA]
· R.I.P. Old Old Spaghetti Factory Building 1924-2012 [Paradise Leased]