One of Hollywood's most famous indoor concert venues is now an official Los Angeles landmark.
On September 20, the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee recommended that the Hollywood Palladium be designated a Historic-Cultural Monument. The city council agreed and voted earlier this week to approve that status.
That puts the Palladium in good company. The platter-like Capitol Records tower, the moonrock-esque Cinerama Dome and the Pantages Theatre, all of which are within walking distance, are also official landmarks.
"This is an example as Hollywood evolves into the future, that we preserve the iconic locations where so much history has been made," councilman Mitch O'Farrell tells KPCC. "It preserves our cultural identity and that's really important to Angelenos. People have emotional attachments to beautiful, historic structures. We need that in urban life. We need places that we have a reverence for."
But this wasn't a decision based solely on nostalgia and an appreciation for architecture. Pushing to make the Palladium a Historic-Cultural Monument was also a savvy business move.
Development company Crescent Heights has big plans for the corner of Sunset and Argyle, where the Palladium is located — two 30-story, mixed-use towers with more than 700 market-rate apartments, according to Curbed LA.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has also been a key supporter of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, a measure that attempts to curb large, dense buildings. The initiative would place limits on development for two years — but is opposed by an unusual coalition of business groups, labor leaders, developers and homeless advocates. The ballot measure is currently slated for the March election.
Built in 1940 in the Streamline Moderne style, the Palladium has hosted everyone from Frank Sinatra to Jay-Z. If Crescent Heights hadn't been willing to preserve the concert venue, its mega-development might have been a tougher pill for officials and residents to swallow.
As is, the Palladium Residences will tower over the concert venue while leaving it intact. In fact, funds from the development will go toward preserving the structure.
"What's also great about this designation is the fact that we wouldn't be able to fully restore the Palladium if we didn't have the new project approved because that is exactly what's going to fund the complete restoration," O'Farrell says.
He tells KPCC that the plan is to activate the Palladium's original retail storefronts — those "lifeless" covered windows facing Sunset Boulevard.
[This story has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly stated that the L.A. City Council had yet to approve the Palladium's landmark status.]