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Mid-City residential project gets a Googie-style redesign

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It’s part of a plan to preserve elements of a 1960s-era hamburger stand

View of building from across the street,
The project will incorporate a small restaurant building with LA Burger’s signature roofline and attention-grabbing signage.
Courtesy Councilmember Paul Koretz

The developer of a residential project planned for Mid-City told the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee yesterday that the new development would integrate key parts of a 1960s-era hamburger stand at the project site.

An updated rendering of the building shows the restaurant’s Googie-style architecture has influenced the design of the whole project, with wavy lines and a festive color scheme adorning the entire structure.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz led an effort to landmark the Pico Boulevard burger stand—once an Orange Julius and now home to LA Burger—in order to save it from demolition.

However, on Tuesday, Faisal Alserri, senior planning deputy for Koretz, told the PLUM Committee that the councilmember had reached a compromise with developer Matt Nelson to preserve some of the stand’s most recognizable features. Those include its zigzagging roof and eye-catching sign, which will both be incorporated into a reconstructed restaurant space at the ground level of the new building.

In an emailed statement, Alserri tells Curbed that Koretz also asked Nelson to incorporate some of the building’s Googie flair into the wider project.

Nelson told the committee Tuesday that he had consulted with Armet Davis Newlove, the architecture firm that designed the hamburger stand, on the new building’s design.

LA Burger
The project’s original design was far less attention-grabbing than the updated look.
city planning department

Aesthetic features of the proposed structure now include sloping overhangs, folding fan-style balconies, and unusual shapes distributed throughout the facade.

Alserri says the new design “will highlight the Orange Julius style and hopefully raise awareness of this type of colorful geometric architecture in LA's history.”

The new six-story building will bring 48 units of housing to the area. It was approved by the planning department in September.

The PLUM Committee, meanwhile, rejected a nomination to landmark the former Orange Julius Tuesday—with the developer’s assurance that elements would be included in the new project. Nelson told the committee that LA Burger would continue to operate the restaurant in the new development.