Thursday, February 11, 2010
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles hotel that hosted a welcome-home party for the Apollo 11 astronauts and other historic events will remain standing under a deal reached between the mid-century landmark's owners and preservation groups that sought to stave off the structure's demolition.
Michael Rosenfeld, who leads the partnership that owns the glass and aluminum Century Plaza Hotel, said his group has agreed to preserve the crescent-shaped building, which it previously planned to replace with two soaring towers. The deal allows building on other parts of the nearly six-acre property.
''I think we found an opportunity to do something unique and special on this site,'' he said.
Rosenfeld's group, Next Century Associates, along with the Los Angeles Conservancy and the National Trust for Historic Preservation planned to publicly announce the agreement Thursday.
Next Century bought the 19-story hotel in 2008 and announced a $2 billion plan the following year to replace it with new towers containing condos and shops. But preservation groups argued that the hotel's history and architecture made it worth saving.
The Century Plaza Hotel was built at the core of Century City -- a district of high-rises on the former site of a 20th Century Fox movie lot -- and opened in 1966. It was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, whose later work included New York City's World Trade Center towers.
Besides the Apollo 11 party, the hotel hosted President-elect Ronald Reagan's victory celebration and Bob Hope's celebrity-studded Century Ball. Its popularity among Washington politicos on overnight trips to Los Angeles earned it the nickname ''West Coast White House.''
The preservation deal was reached under the goading of City Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district includes Century City. Koretz had vowed to stymie the hotel's destruction by having it declared a historic monument.