And now ends the tale of billionaire Charles Munger's plans to tear down the mid-century Barry Building in Brentwood, known as the former home of Dutton's bookstore. Munger has been pushing his Green Hollow Square development--tons of retail, restaurant, and office space with an underground garage and a house, in its most recent form--since 2007, but has now officially withdrawn the project's application, reports Brentwood Patch. The developer had already *submitted the project's final environmental impact report, which is one of the last steps before building can begin. The rich NIMBYs of Brentwood disliked Green Hollow from the start (it was originally a condo plan); they fretted elaborately over traffic, but it appears to be the preservation issue that ultimately killed the project off--one potential version of the project incorporated the Barry, which was landmarked not coincidentally in 2007, but it was well-known that Munger wasn't very interested in that option. Councilmember Mike Bonin, who reps the area, said he wouldn't support a project that didn't preserve the building.
The Barry was built in 1951 and designed by Milton Caughey; it's considered a high point in mid-century retail design. While Munger promised to keep the beloved Dutton's around, financial troubles close the bookstore in 2008 and many of its neighbors have also left or closed. The LA Times says the Barry "now appears forlorn. The staircases are corroding, and a rusted drinking fountain dates from another era." The head of the Brentwood Community Council tells Patch "I don't know what the future of the property will be … In the past [Munger] has said he would let his children deal with it or sell it. I don't know that he has any immediate plans for either option."
· Charlie Munger Withdraws Application for Green Hollow Square Project in Brentwood [Brentwood Patch]