After a unanimous City Council vote today, part of Times Mirror Square—the Downtown campus that housed the Los Angeles Times for more than eight decades—is a city landmark.
The landmark status applies to the oldest part of Times Mirror Square: a 1935 building by Hoover Dam architect Gordon Kaufmann and a 1948 addition designed by Rowland Crawford.
That will not pose threat to the site’s redevelopment.
Property owner and developer Onni plans to raze a portion of the complex to build a pair of high-rises.
Onni’s redevelopment plans calls for preserving the oldest structures, which Onni has called “the historic heart” of Times Mirror Square. The firm intends to reuse the old buildings for offices, shops, and restaurants.
The William Pereira-designed Executive Building on the western side of the block-sized site, however, was not approved as part of the landmark. It was blow to a campaign by preservationists, who had argued the entire complex was worthy of monument status.
Onni’s redevelopment plan called for demolishing the 1970s-era Pereira addition and an adjacent parking garage to make way for two residential towers reaching 37 and 53 stories, respectively.
If the Pereira structure had been named a city landmark, it still could have been torn down, but the cultural heritage commission would have been able to delay the demolition for up to one year to explore preservation options.
The denial of landmark status to the Pereira building seemed to hinge on the debate over its architectural importance.
In a statement to the planning and land use committee, a representative for Councilmember Jose Huizar, who represents the district, called the 1973 Late Moderne structure “an ordinary example” of Pereira’s vast and respected body of work.
Pereira’s portfolio includes the original 1965 Los Angeles County Museum of Art buildings, which are also set to be torn down.
Onni has said that it aims to start construction on the project in 2019.