Century Plaza Hotel saved by new development plans

Century Plaza Hotel, Photo by Andrew Hara
Century Plaza Hotel, Photo by Andrew Hara
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Conservancy

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Good news today for a famed hotel in Century City that was headed towards demolition. Next Century Associates announced new plans that will keep the Century Plaza Hotel intact.

Next Century Associates originally proposed a project that called for the demolition of the historic hotel and redevelopment of the property with a mixed use project comprising hotel, residential, office, retail, public plazas, and open space. In 2009, the National Trust listed the hotel as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

At the urging of Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust and Next Century Associates worked collaboratively to come up with a proposal that would preserve the hotel while allowing for new development on the property.

"Next Century's willingness to embrace a plan that preserves the hotel is a great step forward," said Councilmember Koretz. "The process serves as a model of how a developer can work together with the preservation community to bring forward a solution that preserves an important structure, allows future development on the property, and better serves the goals of the community."

The revised development project will preserve the existing hotel building while providing a mix of residential, office, and retail uses on the property.

The project will undergo the normal city review and approval process including a full environmental impact report (EIR) which will be submitted later this year. It will also be reviewed by the Cultural Heritage Commission for eligibility as a City Historic-Cultural Monument.

Councilmember Koretz added, "I look forward to reviewing the revised project and assuring a complete and open community process. Any new development will have to be consistent with the Century City North Specific Plan."

Completed in 1966, the Century Plaza Hotel was built as the centerpiece of Century City, a "city within a city," conceived 50 years ago as a progressive approach to urban planning. Century City rose on the former back lot of 20th Century-Fox Studios.

The existing 726-room hotel with its sweeping curved facade has been a gathering place for celebrities, politicians and world dignitaries. The hotel was designed by architect and engineer Minoru Yamasaki, who was also the architect of Century City's Theme Towers and New York's World Trade Center towers.

For more, listen to the L.A. Conservancy's Executive Director Linda Dishman interview with KPCC's Alex Cohen