Stop the presses, and the bulldozer: The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission Thursday recommended historic-cultural monument status to the downtown Times Mirror Square complex in a move that could alter a developer’s plans to demolish a 1970s addition.

The complex was vacated by Los Angeles Times staff over the summer as the newspaper moved its operations to El Segundo.

The Times had been located at the complex since 1935, although the paper had been renting its space there since 2016 when its former owner, Tribune Media Co., sold it to Canadian developer Omni Group.

Omni’s development plan would preserve the older buildings and bulldoze the 1970s addition, but the commission sided with preservationists and others who have argued the entire complex is worthy of preservation. The commission even added its own recommendation that the ’70s portion be preserved for its architectural contributions even though staff had recommended it was only noteworthy for historical reasons.

“This is a family enterprise. There are a lot of architects, there are a lot of people involved in it,” historic preservation consultant Christy McAvoy told the commission. “It does not deserve to be reduced to parts. Holistically speaking, this is probably one of the most important sites in the history of Los Angeles and one of the most important families, and I would urge you to consider it today as a whole and give both the family, the architects and the people — the newspaper family, the people who worked there — their due in presenting Los Angeles’ history.”

The developers cannot tear down any buildings while the complex’s application for monument status is being considered, and a monument recommendation from the commission would have to be approved by a vote of the City Council.

The commission also has the power to delay the demolition of a designated property for up to one year while other preservation options are considered.

The Times Mirror application was submitted by a preservationist organization called Esotouric.

The complex consists of five buildings constructed between 1935 and 1973, according to a report by the Department of City Planning:

— the 1935 eight-story Los Angeles Times Building designed in the art deco/moderne architectural style by Los Angeles architect Gordon B. Kaufmann;

— the four-story Plant Building completed in 1935 that is an original two-story art deco/moderne-style building by Kaufmann, with two one-story additions designed by Los Angeles architect Rowland H. Crawford in 1946 and 1955;

— the 12-story Mirror Building designed in the late moderne architectural style by Crawford in 1948;

— and the six-story Times-Mirror Headquarters Building and six-story parking structure designed by architect William L. Pereira in the corporate international architectural style in 1973.

The commission voted in July to consider the application. With Omni already having pledged to preserve much of the complex except for the 1970s addition, many of the public speakers at the meeting and in July focused their comments on it, with fans of the addition outnumbering its critics.

Teresa Grimes of GPA Consulting, which was representing Omni, said its research could not conclude that Pereira actually designed the addition, only that his firm did, and said that it “is just an average example of the style and doesn’t contribute to the history of modern architecture in Los Angeles.”

Leo Wolinsky, a former managing editor for The Times, in July gave a detailed history of the Chandler family, who owned and ran the paper for seven decades until the family-controlled Times Mirror Co. was sold to Tribune in 2000.

“Each of the buildings in Times Mirror Square reflects a different chapter in that history. Today they are all that remain to tell this powerful story of how Los Angeles came to be, and the family that put their unmistakable stamp on the region,” Wolinsky said.

Josh Albrektson, an activist who has spoken out against preserving the 1970s addition on the Facebook page DTLA Development, argued it was not worthy of monument status.

“This Pereira building would have never been allowed to have been built today. It absolutely destroys the look of the 1935 art deco L.A. Times building that everybody loves,” Albrektson said in July.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who has dedicated most of his fortune to fighting cancer, in June finalized his $500 million-plus purchase of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and some community newspapers.

The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has recommended preserving the entire complex for both architectural and historical reasons.

In a report, department staff said the complex is associated with the lives of historic personages important to national, state, city, or local history, including for its direct association with the prominent Chandler family, in particular Harry Chandler, Norman Chandler, Dorothy Buffum Chandler, and Otis Chandler, each of whom the report said played a significant role in the evolution of the Los Angeles Times from a local publication to a newspaper of national stature, and were influential in real estate development in Los Angeles.

The report also said the complex is as an excellent example of the Art Deco/Moderne and Late Moderne architectural styles, and is a significant work of master architects Gordon Kaufmann and Rowland Crawford. The commission made an addition to the recommendation that the Pereira addition also be recognized for its architectural contributions and as a significant work of master architect Pereira.

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