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Historic Core building might be razed for a parking lot

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Its neighbor, The Smell, is safe

Most developers these days are targeting parking lots as sites for new buildings, but not L&R Group of Companies. An executive tells Curbed that L&R is considering plans to knock down a building at Third and Main streets, in Downtown's Historic Core neighborhood, to build a new public parking lot.

The building, which houses Shish Kabob restaurant and Five Star Bar, among other businesses, "is just kind of there," Kevin Litwin, chief operating officer of Joe’s Auto Parks, which is part of L&R, said. He says the businesses are not bringing a whole lot to the neighborhood, unlike their neighbors The Smell and New Jalisco bar, the buildings that house those two businesses are also owned by L&R.

The land beneath the corner building could be valuable and useful as a public parking lot, Litwin said. Because a fair number of parking lots in Downtown are disappearing as they're transformed into hotels or residential towers, there’s a demand for parking. (There are already two other parking lots on the half of that block that faces Main Street.)

Litwin says the Smell won't be razed, even though demolition notices were posted on the popular live music venue in May. He said that was a misunderstanding. The permits, he said, were only meant to be pulled for the corner building.

Still, The Smell probably won't stick around. Proceeds from multiple concerts are helping finance its relocation. The venue’s founder, Jim Smith, told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that The Smell had been given a year extension on its lease, but he didn’t expect to stay beyond that. "We now have enough time to decide what we want to do," he said.

As for where the venue might go, Smith told the newspaper he wants to stick around, "stay central in L.A. and at least skateboardable distance from public transit."