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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Monument status for LA Times building advances; Onni Group isn’t going away

The Cultural Heritage Commission supports a preservation designation, but it may not protect the whole complex from Onni's redevelopment plans
September 21, 2018 10:15AM

Onni Group president Rossano DeCotiis and the newer William Pereira-designed portion of the Times Mirror Square building

What started as a grassroots movement to save the Los Angeles Times building from Onni Group’s planned redevelopment, now has the backing of another city agency.

The city Cultural Heritage Commission voted to designate the Downtown complex, known as Times Mirror Square, as a Historic-Cultural Monument, according to Curbed. The building — the L.A. Times recently vacated the 750,000-square-foot space for El Segundo — is more of a complex of distinct buildings, added over 40 years.

It includes older sections that Onni Group will keep intact as part of its development plans, and two more recent additions that the Vancouver firm wants to demolish to build a pair of high-rise residential towers. Onni has said it supports the designation for the two other sections.

The designation recommendation will move to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Commission before getting a vote by the full Council..

A report from the city Office of Historic Resources said the complex is worthy of designation because of its association with the Chandler family, which helped build the L.A. Times into an internationally recognized publication.

But a Historic-Cultural Designation doesn’t necessarily preclude demolition, and the report leaves the possibility that Onni could knock down the building’s newer sections — a 1973 office building and a six-story parking garage designed by architect William Pereira.

A designation would allow the commission to delay demolition up to six months, which the City Council could extend for another six months. It could also force Onni to tweak its plans to earn a green light from the city. Preservationists took up the landmarking campaign this summer, shortly after the Times left for El Segundo, after billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired the paper.  [Urbanize] – Dennis Lynch