Please join the City of West Hollywood and its Historic Preservation Commission to celebrate the restoration of the recently landmarked Formosa Cafe.
The Formosa Cafe was established in 1940 and features the last of the Pacific Electric 800-series streetcars and has a legendary Hollywood history. The building and trolley became a designated cultural resource in March, and after an extensive renovation, will reopen its storied doors this summer.
Date: July 8, 2019 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: The Formosa Cafe
7156 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90046
R.S.V.P. by July 3, 2019
Mike Peterson, Historic Preservation Intern
8743 Sunset Boulevard, via WEHOville.com
Prior to the Feb. 25, 2019, meeting of the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission PDF, the WHPA submitted the following statement:
The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) supports having the city’s Historic Preservation Commission recommend to the City Council that the property located at 8743 Sunset Boulevard be designated as a local cultural resource. Already deemed potentially eligible for local designation in the city’s survey of commercial buildings, this distinctive two-story property built in the Georgian Revival Style certainly meets municipal code criteria established for designation. Ample justification for designation is provided in the application prepared by Architectural Resources Group.
“The iconic Formosa Cafe on Historic Route 66 played an important role in West Hollywood’s commercial development, especially in the growing film industry,” WHPA board president Victor Omelczenko told the Beverly Press after the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission voted to recommend that the nearly century-old cafe be designated a cultural resource..
“We’re happy to have the preservation year start off on such a fine note. Now, it’s up to the City Council to give its official approval,” Omelczenko said.
“The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance finds it very exciting to have the HPC finish what the Cultural Heritage Advisory Board recommended decades ago in designating the Formosa Café a local cultural resource,” WHPA board member Roy Rogers Oldenkamp said to WEHOville in late January. “WHPA would like to give a shout out to historian Stacy Failing, who befriended the owners and persuaded them to save former owner Jimmy Bernstein’s and subsequent owners’ many headshots of celebrities who dined there over the years.
“Because of Stacy, we have the original menus ,many intact furnishings, even the Chinese lanterns over the banquettes, all save one that virtually disintegrated when taken down.”
With 88 properties now designated as historic resources and with six designated historic districts and thematic groupings, the City of West Hollywood exhibits a fine record in historic preservation. Following are observations/suggestions regarding future possible efforts as they relate to the four key elements described in the staff report.
Show support for formal designation of the famous Formosa Café as a local cultural resource/landmark in West Hollywood by attending tomorrow’s meeting of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. This designation is a rare Commission-Initiated request — usually property owners and/or the preservation community have been the impetus for such actions — and is something to be commended and encouraged.
On Dec. 30, West Hollywood Preservation Alliance Pres. Victor Victor Omelczenko sent the following message to WHPA members:
After a nearly four-year process, a contract expenditure of $122,000 and myriad meetings of community members and city commissioners, city staff has recommended several relatively minor recommendations to provide incentives for multi-family historic resources. The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) supports the four recommendations but believes that a much more robust program could be initiated to bolster the city’s commitment to historic preservation while maintaining its supply of affordable housing.
1. West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission Meeting
Date: Monday, July 23, 2018, 7:00 PM
Location: Plummer Park Community Center, Rooms 5&6
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
The HPC is recommending that a nomination be prepared for local cultural resource designation for the historic Formosa Café and is considering the approval of a Mills Act (tax credit) contract for the Patio del Moro apartment building.
The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance is in concurrence with staff recommendation to initiate cultural resource designation proceedings by adopting the following resolution:
DRAFT RESOLUTION NO. HPC 18-130: A RESOLUTION OF THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD, INITIATING DESIGNATION PROCEEDINGS FOR THE BUILDING AND TROLLEY KNOWN AS FORMOSA CAFÉ LOCATED AT 7156 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD, WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA AS A LOCAL CULTURAL RESOURCE
The Formosa Cafe is a landmark cultural iconic resource intertwined with the legendary Hollywood history of both Elmore Leonard and authentic gangland lore. A unique resource, the cache of historic documents and photographs also remain as an interior feature. We hope West Hollywood would honor this location with a cultural resource designation.
The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance agrees with the staff recommendation to the Historic Preservation Commission that it recommend approval of the Mills Act Contract for the rehabilitation of 8225-8237 Fountain Avenue (Patio Del Moro) to the West Hollywood City Council.
We are extremely pleased that the applicant — new owner Brian Friedman — has shown a true interest in the importance of this spectacular cultural resource, so long well-maintained and restored by the McConnell family across generations.
This Arthur and Nina Zwebell masterwork is filled with charm and beauty.
We hope Mr. Friedman will continue the stewardship so important to this Southern California landmark.