Trashing a Treasure

Norton Entrance a

Well, for a while it looked as though the preservation community might manage to save the two lovely apartment buildings on Norton Avenue that were slated for demolition.  But the developers have some sharp lawyers on their side, and now it appears that Norton Court (424-430 N. Norton Avenue) and Norton Flats (412-420 N. Norton Avenue) will soon be gone.

Members of the community have been working for months to save these beautiful examples of courtyard apartments.  Both buildings were constructed in the 20s, and according to Survey LA, they are among the “few remaining examples in the area that [retain their] original site plan, landscape and hardscape elements, and architectural features.”

Councilmember David Ryu came to the rescue recently with an emergency nomination of the buildings as Historical-Cultural Monuments (HCMs).  But the developers’ lawyers found a way to block the nomination on a technicality.  It seems they’re determined to destroy these buildings at all costs.

Norton Stairs b

This is not the first time the Cohanzads have knocked down a building that could have been protected as an HCM.  Whether they’re operating as Wiseman Residential, or one of the numerous LLCs they’ve created to protect themselves from liability, the Cohanzads have made a practice of knocking down older buildings to put up new ones.  They don’t seem to care how much of LA’s history they’re destroying, or how their projects affect LA’s communities.  They argue that by levelling small buildings and putting up big ones they’re doing us a favor by increasing the supply of housing.  But many of the units they’ve demolished were rent controlled, and the new units they’re creating are way too expensive for someone earning LA’s median income.  Doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me.

And then there’s the loss of treasures like the Norton courtyard apartments.  The number of structures like this is shrinking, and there are few left that are still substantially intact.  But the Cohanzads don’t seem to care.  I guess it’s all about profit for them.

It may be too late to save the Norton apartments, but we can try.  Please e-mail Councilmember David Ryu to thank him for his efforts so far, and to encourage him to maintain his support for preservation of these buildings.

David E. Ryu  

Use the subject line, “Demolition of Norton Apartments”.

While you’re at it, copy your own Councilmember on the message.  Or better yet, copy them all.  And don’t forget the Mayor.

Gilbert Cedillo 

Paul Krekorian

Bob Blumenfield

Paul Koretz

Nury Martinez 

Felipe Fuentes

Marqueece Harris-Dawson  

Curren D. Price, Jr.

Herb J. Wesson, Jr.   

Mike Bonin

Mitchell Englander

Mitch O’Farrell

Jose Huizar

Joe Buscaino 

Eric Garcetti

We may not win this fight, but we can go down swinging.

Norton Lamp c

Church Clears Another Hurdle

Mosaic Front

A quick update on the status of the Mosaic Church at Hollywood and La Brea. Earlier this week, the Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the structure be designated a cultural-historic monument. Click on the link below to get all the details.

Hollywood Church Closer to Becoming Historical Monument from Park La Brea News

This is good news, but as Helen Berman of Save Residential Hollywood points out, the fight is far from over. Developers LeFrak and Kennedy Wilson want to demolish the church so they can build a large mixed-use complex. They claim the building isn’t worthy of historic status, and they have very deep pockets. No doubt, they’ll be pushing hard to scuttle the designation.

So even though the groups hoping to preserve the church have won an important victory, they still have a long way to go. The CHC’s recommendation will go to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee next, and eventually the City Council will vote on the issue.

Thanks to Save Residential Hollywood for all their efforts so far. Here’s a link, in case you’d like to get involved.

Save Residential Hollywood

Thanks also to Councilmember David Ryu, who has come down firmly in support of granting the church historic-cultural monument status. If you’d like to thank him yourself, here’s his e-mail address.