Yesterday, the LA Conservancy posted an alert on their website that a demolition permit had been approved for the iconic, Googie-style Norms restaurant on La Cienega at Rosewood Avenue. The Norms chain sold late last year. The eye-catching 1957 building was designed by Googie gods Louis Armet and Eldon Davis, and is both a textbook example of the endangered and whimsical Googie style—the Jetsony look emblematic of Southern California in the Jet Age—and the quintessential California coffee shop. Los Angeles's Cultural Heritage Commission will consider today whether to begin the process to name the building a city Historic-Cultural Monument; the building should be safe from the wrecking ball while its under consideration, but what happens after that?
While the building is under consideration by the CHC, it will receive temporary protections against demolition until the City Council makes a final decision on its status. If it's named a monument, it receives "more robust protection" and can't be demolished without approval from the City Council; protection generally means that a building's facade cannot be altered.
Curbed visited the La Cienega Norms yesterday and found that not only was it was still in operation, but it was also pretty busy for a late weekday afternoon. One employee knew nothing about the demolition beyond rumors; his supervisor declined to say much at all. The Norms chain was founded by Norman Roybark in 1949, and the family operated the chain until it sold in late 2014 to Jim Balis, an Idahoan with a history of turning around businesses like Dunkin' Donuts. Reporting on the sale, Los Angeles magazine quoted a statement from the founding family that assured customers and fans that "The new owners were carefully selected to protect the legacy of Norms," but what could be more representative of that legacy than this building?