The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission continued Thursday to oppose the issuance of a demolition permit for the Lytton Savings building, but its members indicated the developer could soon be cleared to begin planning to raze the structure.
The building is on the corner of a mixed-use project site being developed by famed Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry, but the City Council deemed the structure at 8150 Sunset Blvd. a historic-cultural monument in 2016.
In March 2018, an appeals court ruling cleared the way for the building to be demolished, but in September, the Cultural Heritage Commission used its power to block the demolition for 180 days while a relocation feasibility study was conducted.
Edgar Khalatian, representing the developer, Townscape Partners, told the commission no realistic proposal to move the building has come to fruition.
“There is no plan, there is no donor site, and there is no money to relocate the building,” he said.
The commission’s 180-day objection is set to expire April 30. The commission’s staff advised that another 180-day objection could be issued, but the commission would have to provide reasons for the continued delay along with the progress to date of the steps taken. The City Council would also have to approve the commission’s request for an extension.
Commission President Richard Barron indicated another 180-day objection was not likely, before he said he wanted to continue the current objection until it expired.
“We don’t demolish monuments every day. So I think, my feeling is, unless I can be convinced otherwise, that we should keep rolling until we have 180 days,” he said. “It doesn’t appear that we are going to be able to request another 180 days because we have no reason to request it.”
The commission voted 4-0 to continue its objection through April 30. Commissioner Barry Milofsky abstained from voting.
The building was designed in 1960 by Southern California architect Kurt Meyer. A Department of City Planning report said the bank “was constructed in a distinctive mid-century modern style that melds Googie and New Formalism stylistic influences, reflected in its glass walls, travertine cladding, concrete columns, and zigzag, folded plate roof.”
The Lytton Savings building has been in continuous operation as a bank since its construction. It is currently a branch of Chase Bank.
Gehry’s architecture firm objected to the historic preservation of the Lytton Savings building, dismissing it as following an “outdated commercial real estate model” and being incompatible with goals to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
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