Historic preservation in Los Angeles is always a rollercoaster--one minute some rich guy is threatening to tear down a lovely old Wallace Neff house and the next minute some conservancy has wrangled a rich donor to pay for a major rehab and open up an 1800s adobe to the public (ok, that's maybe a fantasy--but still, there's lots of good preservation news!). Here we've rounded up 18 historic sites that are either under threat or recently saved. Pop a Xanax, it's going to be a bumpy read.Read More
Preservation Heatmap: LA's 18 Most and Least Threatened Sites
1. Terminal Island
Long Beach, California 90813
The Port of LA's Terminal Island was named to the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places this year--there are major plans underway to overhaul the Port, and preservationists are concerned about the threat to the island that was a pre-World War II Japanese-American community and one of the birthplaces of the tuna canning industry.
2. Lincoln Heights Jail
Los Angeles, CA 90031
The creepy old site is now mostly used for filming, but the LA River Revitalization Corporation and the city are working with architects to turn the property into a green zone and river gateway (they hope to start with an "urban agricultural space" on the roof).
3. Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
Los Angeles, CA 90077
UCLA has been trying to sell off the lovely Japanese garden, saying it can't afford to keep the gift it originally received in 1964 (they've already started taking some objects off the site). Members of the Carter family are suing to stop the sale, and over the summer a judge granted a preliminary injunction halting any action for now.
4. Kronish House
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
This Richard Neutra house off of Sunset Boulevard sparked a huge preservation battle last year that eventually ended in smiles and hugs when the house sold to Paris Hilton ex/Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos and Beverly Hills finally decided to get a preservation ordinance. However, word on the preservation street now is that Niarchos is working on a not-so-sensitive renovation of the decrepit house.
5. Village Trailer Park
Santa Monica, CA 90404
The quirky old trailer park in Santa Monica will be swept away to make room for the fancy mixed-use East Village project, leaving just 10 trailer spots and a lot of displaced residents.
6. Barry Building
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Billionaire Charles Munger has been working for years on Green Hollow Square, a retail project on the site of the the landmark International-style retail building. The environmental impact report out this year includes a project alternative that would adaptively reuse the old building, but it's unclear which version will go forward.
7. Chocolate Shoppe
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Who even knew there was a Dutch-themed shop near Broadway completely decked out in tiles from the famous Ernest Batchelder. Once a soda parlor (and most recently a Metro PCS store), it's now on its way to restoration.
8. California Science Center's Air and Space Gallery
Los Angeles, CA 90037
The Frank Gehry-designed building was shuttered last year and the CSC will be getting a new building to house the space shuttle Endeavour, so preservationists are concerned that the old Air and Space Gallery is on its way out. They've just managed to get it listed on the California Register.
9. Santa Monica shotgun house
Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Santa Monica Conservancy is working on rehabilitating and moving this 1890s shotgun house (they're renting it from the city).
10. Old Atomic Cafe
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The former home of the punk hangout Atomic Cafe (now more well known as Señor Fish) has got to go to make way for the Downtown Regional Connector rail line. Rather than tearing it down, they're selling it for a buck.
11. Pasadena YWCA
Pasadena, CA 91101
After years of wrangling, Pasadena finally wrested control of the Julia Morgan-designed YWCA from its neglectful owner. Now it just needs the money/partner for a full rehab.
12. Home of Waldo Waterman's flying car
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Last summer, Santa Monica's Landmark Commission declined to recognize the old home of Waldo Waterman's flying car experiment (now a Midas). It'll become a Courtyard by Marriott.
13. Sixth Street Viaduct
Los Angeles, CA 90021
The 1932 bridge that spans the LA River from the Arts District to Boyle Heights has had concrete cancer for a long time now and the city voted last year to replace it. Architecture firm HNTB will be designing a swoopy replacement that references the original.
14. Lankershim Train Depot
Los Angeles, CA 91601
Work finally started this year on reviving this 1892 train depot in NoHo (which once served Red Cars and the Southern Pacific Railroad). Metro owns the building and still isn't sure what it's going to do with it, but the Museum of the San Fernando Valley is backing a plan to turn it into a museum.
15. Capitol Records Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90028
No one's trying to tear down the iconic Capitol Records building, but someone is trying to put two very tall mixed-use towers up around it. Its original architect says he always expected it'd be surrounded by taller buildings, but preservationists (and NIMBY homeowners in the Hollywood Hills) say the project will obscure the building.
Los Angeles, CA 90023
Developers are planning an enormous overhaul of the 69-acre garden apartments, which originally opened in 1939. The redevelopment would take out about 1,000 historic (and rent controlled) apartments, but add 4,400 residential units (condos and apartments) as well as retail, public space, and parks.
17. Hall of Justice
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The rehabilitation of the long-neglected but always lovely county Hall of Justice finally got underway last year. Lots of original details will be preserved (like the vintage wood and brass elevator cars) and the building will house crimefighting county employees (the DA's office, the sheriff's office).
18. Barlow Respiratory Hospital
The owners have major overhaul plans for the 1902 hospital, which originally served a tuberculosis sanitarium--they want to demolish 21 buildings on the site and put up nearly 900 residential units (plus a new hospital). Meanwhile, the property's been put up for sale.