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Hollywood Reporter building nears preservation status

LOS ANGELES — The Hollywood Reporter building on Sunset Boulevard was added to Los Angeles’ list of historic-cultural monuments Nov. 7 in a move that will delay and could prevent its destruction.

The owners of the building want to tear it down to make way for a new development, but the City Council’s 11-0 vote should delay its demolition at least for a year while preservation options are considered.

In June, the Cultural Heritage Commission agreed to accept the application and consider the site a local monument, which meant the property could not be destroyed as long as the city has the application under review.

The building at 6713 Sunset Blvd. was home to the Hollywood Reporter entertainment trade news publication from 1931 into the 1990s. It is slated for demolition as part of a plan by the Harridge Development Group to build a hotel and two residential towers at the site.

The building, also home to the L.A. Weekly for about a decade until 2008, is historically significant for its Regency Moderne architecture, its association with publisher and businessman William Wilkerson and its connection to the Hollywood Reporter, according to the application for its landmark status, which was filed by the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles.

The Department of City Planning recommended the building be preserved because it “reflects the broad cultural, economic or social history of the nation, state or community as the headquarters for Hollywood’s first daily entertainment trade newspaper,” but it did not find the building architecturally significant.

“Our city is known the world over for this period of architecture, as well as for the film industry, and the building merges these two key concepts. It should stand as an icon of our city in all times,” Margot Gerber, president of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, told the Planning and Land Use Committee last week before it voted in approval of the historic-cultural monument designation.

Although at about 10 people spoke before the committee in favor of preserving the building, no one spoke in support of tearing it down.

“It’s great to see that this was nominated. It’s a great piece of history and thank you all for coming out today,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, who chairs the committee. “It’s interesting, usually at this time there are two sides, but it was all one side, so that’s a good thing.”

Attorney Jerry Neuman, representing Harridge Development Group, argued before the Planning Commission previously that the building was not significant and “little is left” after decades of alterations.

“There is no special sense of this structure. It was in effect a warehouse structure that would lend itself to look as though it was part of a printing facility. It is merely a large box,” he said.

 

 

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