A Los Angeles City Council committee has advanced a project that would erect two high-rise residential towers near City Hall on property that formerly housed the Los Angeles Times.
The Planning and Land Use Management Committee, chaired by Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, voted 3-0 Thursday to approve the project’s environmental impact report and reject an appeal by the nonprofit Supporters Alliance for Environmental Responsibility, which claimed birds could hit the towers and that the construction equipment would worsen air quality.
The votes in favor of the project were cast by Harris-Dawson, along with Councilmen Mark Ridley-Thomas and Bob Blumenfield. The project will now move to the full council for consideration.
In 2018, the council approved a historic designation for the Times Mirror Square complex but excluded a 1970s addition.
The building’s owner, Onni Group, plans to preserve the older structures but demolish the 1970s addition, which was designed by architect William L. Pereira, to make way for two high-rise residential towers. The project is located at 121-147 S. Spring St., 100-142 S. Broadway, 202-234 W. First St., and 205-221 W. Second St.
The Los Angeles Times has been located at the complex since 1935, although the paper had been renting its space there since 2016 when former owner Tribune Media Co. sold it to Canadian developer Onni Group.
The Cultural Heritage Commission sided with preservationists in September and others who have argued the entire complex is worthy of preservation. The commission even added its own recommendation that the 1970s portion be preserved for its architectural contributions, even though staff had recommended it was only noteworthy for historical reasons.
The commission said the 1970s addition was a significant work of master architect Pereira, who also designed San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and many other well-known California structures.
The Chandler family owned and ran the paper for seven decades until the family-controlled Times Mirror Co. was sold to Tribune in 2000. Harry Chandler, son of former Times publisher Otis Chandler, asked the Planning and Land Use Management committee to consider the entire complex’s history.
The Times Mirror Square 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 Pereira in the corporate international architectural style in 1973.