West Hollywood Preservation Alliance

To identify, protect and preserve the historic, architectural, and cultural resources of West Hollywood

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The First West Coast LGBT Site To Be Listed on the National Register Of Historic Places Will Be Decided On July 29, 2016

Letters of support are needed now!

From West Hollywood Heritage:

The Factory building, known for its importance in filmmaking history and LGBT history, was nominated by local residents Kate Eggert and Krisy K Gosney of the West Hollywood Heritage Project (WHHP).

“Letters of support help show the community interest in the nomination,” said Kate Eggert, “so we’re asking people to send an email to the California Office of Historic Preservation expressing support for The Factory building’s nomination for its Hollywood history and/or it becoming the first West Coast LGBT site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

So please send an email to let the Office of Historic Preservation know you support The Factory’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places for Mitchell Camera Corp and/or Studio One/Backlot.

UPDATE:

Send your email by July 22 to:
julianne.polanco@parks.ca.gov
william.burg@parks.ca.gov
westhollywoodheritageproject@gmail.com
info@westhollywoodpreservationalliance.org

Subject line: The Factory nomination

Click HERE [PDF] to read The Factory building’s nomination.

The Factory was designed and built for Mitchell Camera Corporation in 1929 by the design-build firm Truscon Steel Company. Mitchell Camera Corporation made the camera that became known as “the camera that shot Hollywood” at The Factory. By 1946, 85% of all motion pictures shown in theaters worldwide were filmed with Mitchell cameras that were made at the Mitchell Camera Corporation factory building.

“At The Factory, Mitchell Camera designed and made cameras that revolutionized filmmaking and gave rise to a new film artist – the cinematographer,” said Kate Eggert, “Orson Wells’ cinematographer Gregg Toland consulted at The Factory on the camera that he would use to shoot Citizen Kane.”

In 1974, optometrist Scott Forbes opened Studio One at The Factory. The disco filled a vital community need: it celebrated sexual freedom for gay men. Most gay bars at the time were in small, unremarkable buildings. At Studio One, over a thousand people packed the dance floor every night and the line to get in trailed down Santa Monica Boulevard for blocks.

Studio One’s Backlot Theatre hosted performers like Chita Rivera, Roslyn Kind, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller and Wayland Flowers. The disco and theatre set mainstream trends and created stars while strictly adhering to Forbes’ vision – “Studio One was planned, designed and conceived for… gay male people. Any straight people here are guests of the gay community!”

In 1984, the first major AIDS fundraiser happened at Studio One for AIDS Project Los Angeles; despite having been a celebrity hang-out for a decade, no celebrity would participate in the fundraiser except for Joan Rivers. Rivers said she received death threats.

“Joan Rivers was, up until that point, the only person who ever did anything to raise money to help fight AIDS or help people with AIDS. There were no drugs, the only thing you could do is help them, comfort them during dying. It was all they could do…raise money for hospice,” said Lloyd Coleman, CEO of Rocket Entertainment, the company that produced the shows at the Backlot Theatre.

“We’re so excited that the nomination hearing is coming soon. It’s a very big deal!” said Krisy K Gosney, “We feel honored to hopefully bring the prestige of the first West Coast LGBT National Register listing to West Hollywood, and to honor this place that was pivotal to film history and to gay rights and the gay community.”

West Hollywood Heritage Project (WHHP) was founded in 2015. WHHP’s mission is to promote, honor and preserve West Hollywood history and its built environment through activism, advocacy, research, social media, education and entertainment. WHHP is newly-formed, however, founding partners Kate Eggert and Krisy K Gosney (under the name Dead History Project) have been doing historic preservation since 2012.

WHHP also manages the facebook pages Save the Factory West Hollywood, and Save the SMB Streamline Moderne.

Visit WHHP online at West Hollywood Heritage Project.

Historic Preservation Commission Will Discuss Overview of the Historic Commercial Buildings Survey

The Historic Preservation Commission will meet tomorrow night, June 27, at 7 pm in Rooms 5 and 6 at Plummer Park to discuss the latest iteration of the city’s survey of historic commercial buildings. From the staff report [PDF]:

The Historic Preservation Commission will be receiving its first overview of the draft Commercial Historic Resources Survey document and revised project schedule. The draft survey includes the Historic Context Statement and a list of designated and potential cultural resources. Pending sections include an executive summary, survey results, conclusions, and recommendations. The HPC will provide feedback on the draft survey for staff and the City’s consulting firm of GPA Consulting to incorporate into the final draft. The final draft document will be presented to the HPC at its August 22, 2016 meeting.

There will be three other hearings on the survey:

*HPC Hearing on Final Draft: Mon., Aug. 22, 7 pm, Plummer Park Community Center, Rooms 5-6

*Planning Commission Hearing: Thurs., Sept. 1, 6:30 pm, City Council Chambers, 625 San Vicente

*City Council Hearing: Mon. Sept. 19, 6:30 pm, City Council Chambers, 625 San Vicente

Please note that between now and the next HPC hearing on August 22 is optimal to make suggested changes/additions to the list of properties being considered as historic. Once the final list is finalized, it becomes more difficult to add buildings.

So, please review the draft report and come to the meetings and/or email your comments to the following individuals and make sure to say: PLEASE ENTER THESE COMMENTS INTO THE PUBLIC RECORD.

Send your emails to:

Rachel Dimond, rdimond@weho.org
Antonio Castillo, acastillo@weho.org
Sharita Ellies, sellies@weho.org

Historic Preservation Commission Will Discuss Overview of the Historic Commercial Buildings Survey

The Historic Preservation Commission will meet tomorrow night, June 27, at 7 pm in Rooms 5 and 6 at Plummer Park to discuss the latest iteration of the city’s survey of historic commercial buildings. From the staff report [PDF]:

The Historic Preservation Commission will be receiving its first overview of the draft Commercial Historic Resources Survey document and revised project schedule. The draft survey includes the Historic Context Statement and a list of designated and potential cultural resources. Pending sections include an executive summary, survey results, conclusions, and recommendations. The HPC will provide feedback on the draft survey for staff and the City’s consulting firm of GPA Consulting to incorporate into the final draft. The final draft document will be presented to the HPC at its August 22, 2016 meeting.

There will be three other hearings on the survey:

*HPC Hearing on Final Draft: Mon., Aug. 22, 7 pm, Plummer Park Community Center, Rooms 5-6

*Planning Commission Hearing: Thurs., Sept. 1, 6:30 pm, City Council Chambers, 625 San Vicente

*City Council Hearing: Mon. Sept. 19, 6:30 pm, City Council Chambers, 625 San Vicente

Please note that between now and the next HPC hearing on August 22 is optimal to make suggested changes/additions to the list of properties being considered as historic. Once the final list is finalized, it becomes more difficult to add buildings.

So, please review the draft report and come to the meetings and/or email your comments to the following individuals and make sure to say: PLEASE ENTER THESE COMMENTS INTO THE PUBLIC RECORD.

Send your emails to:

Rachel Dimond, rdimond@weho.org
Antonio Castillo, acastillo@weho.org
Sharita Ellies, sellies@weho.org

Expanded Incentives for Historic Apartment Buildings Recommended by HPC at May 23 Meeting

In a 6/0 vote at its May 23 meeting, the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) not only moved to support four relatively minor recommendations for incentives related to the city’s 38 historically-designated apartment buildings, but also included several broader incentives which the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) had urged the commission to support.

Foremost among these are: establishing a much more robust “Historic Apartment Preservation Program” as outlined in consultant firm Page & Turnbull’s report on Page 30; hiring a full-time city staffer devoted to historic preservation issues; and using grants under the Community Development Block Grant Program to assist owners of historic buildings. WHPA members Cynthia Blatt, George Credle, Stephanie Harker, and Victor Omelczenko testified before the commission. The WHPA statement submitted to the HPC appears below.

The HPC’s hearing and recommendations are just the first step in a process that includes a May 26 Rent Stabilization Committee hearing and a June 2 Planning Commission hearing. A final city staff report will then be developed for City Council consideration at its August 15 meeting. The WHPA will continue to monitor the process and comment on proposed incentives – which, if enacted, would do much to bolster the city’s contention that it puts a high priority on historic preservation.

WHPA Comments on Historic Resource Incentives for June 2 Planning Commission Meeting

Villa Italia

RE: AGENDA ITEM 10.A. PUBLIC HEARING ON “MULTIFAMILY HISTORIC RESOURCES INCENTIVE PROGRAM”

Dear Chair Altschul, Vice Chair Aghaei, and Commissioners Buckner, DeLuccio, Huebner, Jones, and Lightfoot:

The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) has reviewed the city staff reports prepared on this topic for the meetings of the Historic Preservation Commission and the Rent Stabilization Division, and understands that the Planning Commission will be conducting a public hearing on the same topic at its meeting of June 2, 2016.

While the WHPA supports the four (4) recommendations identified in the previous staff reports, we believe that much more could be done to bolster the city’s contention that it puts a high priority on historic preservation while ensuring its supply of affordable housing and support of rent-stabilized tenants.

The WHPA strongly supports the establishment of a “Historic Apartment Preservation Program” as outlined on Page 30 of the Page & Turnbull/Place Economics report. We urge the Planning Commission to make a motion to include this program as a recommendation, and we would like to see it take an affirmative public vote on this matter as did the Historic Preservation Commission on May 23, 2016.

The potential costs of such a program could have been better clarified in the reports. Even so, the WHPA points out that the City made a recent $7.0 million purchase of the one-acre of vacant land at Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevard (ultimate usage still to be determined), and a $2.5 million purchase of the former Coast Playhouse across from City Hall.

The City of West Hollywood has the financial resources — it’s time it started to truly respect its historic buildings and the owners who provide 593 rent-stabilized units of housing for citizens of West Hollywood, and to allocate more money into maintaining our city’s historic infrastructure. It’s all about good planning here – planning that respects the cultural memory of the city as well as the residents who depend on safe, affordable, and well-maintained housing.

After a nearly three-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 which the WHPA does support. Along with the waiving of city fees, the adjusting of repainting time schedules, and utilizing an already extant Transfer of Development Rights Program, the staff reports recommended hiring an on-call historic preservation consultant costing $25,000 annually who will assist owners of historic properties in maintaining their buildings.

The WHPA still continues to question why the City does not hire a full-time staff member assigned to historic preservation. So much more could be done with such a designated full-time position. In addition, the WHPA has recently learned that funds received under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program can be used for historic preservation projects. We ask that the contractor Page & Turnbull and the city staff explore this and other funding opportunities further, and provide an update to relevant commissions and the public before the City Council’s August 15 scheduled hearing on historic resource incentives.

Thank you for your consideration.

West Hollywood Preservation Alliance Board of Directors

Join Us for the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance Annual Meeting

Please mark your calendars for the 2016 Annual Meeting of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA):

Saturday, June 25, 2016, 4pm to 6pm
Room 4, Plummer Park Community Center
7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

At the meeting, we will discuss exciting plans for the upcoming year. We will also hold elections for two seats on the board. Voting is open to WHPA members who are in good standing on or before Saturday, June 11.

Recent efforts have included:

Successfully encouraging the city to initiate a survey of century-old Craftsman homes threatened by development pressures on the city’s east side

Exploring incentives for owners to keep up their historically-designated apartment buildings

Providing input into a city survey of commercial buildings that could be designated as cultural resources

Please visit our membership page to join the WHPA online. You can make a payment at the website via PayPal or by sending a check to: WHPA, P.O. Box 46073, West Hollywood, CA 90046-0073. Checks must be postmarked no later than June 11.

Your contribution will play a critical role in continuing our preservation efforts during the next year.

*

Charitable contributions to West Hollywood Preservation Alliance are tax deductible to the extent allowed by Federal and State tax laws – Federal Non-Profit 501(c) (3) Tax I.D. # 46-1587457

WHPA Comments on Multi-Family Incentives Project

The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) has reviewed the city staff report on the “Multi-Family Incentives Project” that the Historic Preservation Commission is considering at its May 23, 2016, meeting. While the WHPA supports the four (4) recommendations identified in the staff report, we believe that much more could be done to bolster the city’s contention that it puts a high priority on historic preservation.

The WHPA strongly supports the establishment of a “Historic Apartment Preservation Program” as outlined on Page 30 of the Page & Turnbull/Place Economics report. We urge the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to make a motion to include this program as a recommendation, and we would like to see the HPC take a public vote on this matter.

The potential costs of such a program could be better clarified in the report. Even so, the WHPA points out that the City made a recent $7.0 million purchase of the one-acre of vacant land at Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevard and a $2.5 million purchase of the former Coast Playhouse across from City Hall.

The City of West Hollywood has the resources — it’s time it started to truly respect its historic buildings and the owners who provide 593 rent-stabilized units of housing for citizens of West Hollywood, and allocate more money into maintaining our city’s historic infrastructure.

After a nearly three-year process, a contract expenditure of $122,000, and myriad meetings of community members and city commissioners, city staff recommends several relatively minor recommendations which the WHPA does support. Along with the waiving of city fees, the adjusting of repainting time schedules, and utilizing an already extant Transfer of Development Rights Program, the staff report recommends hiring an on-call historic preservation consultant costing $25,000 annually who will assist owners of historic properties.

In the past, the HPC has questioned and the WHPA still continues to question why the City does not hire a full-time staff member assigned to historic preservation. So much more could be done with such a designated full-time position. In addition, the WHPA has recently learned that funds received under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program can be used for historic preservation projects. We ask that the contractor Page & Turnbull and the city staff explore this opportunity further, and provide an update to relevant commissions and the public before the City Council’s August 15 planned hearing on incentives.

Thank you for your consideration.

West Hollywood Preservation Alliance Board of Directors

Historic Preservation Commission to Consider Plan to Incentivize Preservation of Multi-Family Buildings

At its meeting Monday night, May 23, 2016, the West Hollywood’Historic Preservation Commission will consider a proposal to create incentives for encouraging the preservation of multi-family buildings.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Room 5 at the Pllummer Park Community Building, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd.

The proposal is available online. Click HERE to download the 286-page PDF.

WHPA Sends Letter Supporting City Purchase of Coast Playhouse Building

The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance board of directors sent this letter to the city in support of its purchase of the Coast Playhouse building at 8323-8325 Santa Monica Blvd.:

RE: SUPPORT AGENDA ITEM 5.A. – PURCHASE OF REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 8323-8325 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD IN THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD

Dear Mayor Meister, Mayor Pro-Tem Heilman, and Councilmembers D’Amico, Duran and Horvath:

The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) supports the “Purchase of Real Property Located at 8323-8325 Santa Monica Boulevard” being discussed under Agenda Item 5.A. at the April 18thCouncil Meeting. Most recently the home of the “Coast Playhouse,” the building dates from 1925 and has a storied history in West Hollywood as both a live performance and a motion picture theater.

As the staff report lays out, purchasing this property and rehabilitating it for use as a city-owned cultural facility meets the city’s primary strategic goals of promoting economic development, enhancing the creative life of the community, and maintaining West Hollywood’s status as a regional hub and innovator in the fashion, arts and design sector.

The WHPA would like to go further and point out that purchasing this property will also address the General Plan’s Human Services element in “Arts and Culture” by addressing Goal HS-2.1 that “The City should support and/or establish cultural facilities to meet community needs for theater, art, intellectual exchange, and other cultural activities.”

Preserving and rehabilitating this nearly century-old building will also help meet General Plan Historic Preservation Goal HP-3 to “Protect cultural resources from demolition and inappropriate alterations.” The City is currently conducting a survey of potentially significant and historic commercial properties. Although we may be putting the cart before the horse, the WHPA believes that this building certainly meets the criteria for historical significance as well as future designation as a local cultural resource.

Sincerely,

West Hollywood Preservation Alliance Board of Directors Laura Boccaletti, Judson Feder, Roy Rogers Oldenkamp, Victor Omelczenko, and Jon Ponder

Cc:

City Officials Andrew Campbell, Steve Campbell, Helen Collins, Oscar Delgado, Stephanie DeWolfe, Rachel Dimond, Maribel Louie, David Wilson

West Hollywood City Clerk Yvonne Quarker

RUMBLINGS: Is the Site of One-Time Sinatra Hangout Dominick’s in Jeopardy?

There are rumors on the Intertubes that the building that once housed Sinatra hangout Dominick’s Restaurant at 8715 Beverly Blvd. is going to be demolished to make way for an apartment building.

It appears certain that the two buildings to the east of it, including the old Jerry’s Deli site at 8701 Beverly, are slated for demolition as part of a mixed-use development that will encompass the corner lot at Beverly and North Sherbourne Drive.

Last fall, LA.Eater.com reported that operators of a new restaurant called Verlaine had applied for a liquor license in preparation for opening in the old Dominick’s space.

If you know anything about the fate of the Dominick’s site, please let us know: info@westhollywoodpreservationalliance.org.

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West Hollywood Preservation Alliance
PO BOX 46073 West Hollywood, CA 90046
Email: info@westhollywoodpreservationalliance.org
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