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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Townscape moves closer to demolishing landmark Hollywood bank

The mixed-use project, designed by Frank Gehry, would replace Lytton Savings Bank on Sunset Boulevard
By Dennis Lynch |
Research by Haru Coryne
October 19, 2018 10:15AM

Frank Gehry and a rendering of 8150 Sunset Boulevard

UPDATED, Friday, October 19, 1:30 p.m.: Developer Townscape Partners is one step closer to demolishing a landmarked bank in Hollywood, to make way for a large mixed-use development designed by Frank Gehry.

This week, Townscape filed a permit with the city to raze Lytton Savings Bank on Sunset Boulevard, following a court battle with the Los Angeles Conservancy, which has been fighting to save the 1960s-era bank designed by Kurt Meyer. Located at 8150 Sunset Boulevard, it was designated a Historic Cultural Landmark in December 2016. Such a designation does not preclude demolition, however, but often dictates that certain aspects of the building be preserved or documented through photographs.

Townscape wants to replace the building with a 229-unit mixed-use complex, with 65,000 square feet of commercial space. The tallest building in the complex would be 178 feet. Gehry’s distinctive hand is evident, with the design showing his penchant for twists, bulges and waves.

In June, an appeals court judge denied the conservancy’s petition to stop the demolition, effectively ending the group’s two-year court battle with the city and developers, according to Curbed.

The conservancy sued in late 2016, after the City Council approved Townscape’s project, arguing that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not requiring the development team to incorporate the bank into the new project’s design.

Preservationists have been turning to landmark designations to stop development. A group in Venice filed for monument consideration for a historically black church there, which billionaire heir and media mogul Jay Penske wants to largely replace with a massive single-family home.

The bank on Sunset Boulevard was completed in 1960 and has a folded plate concrete roof. The L.A. Conservancy claims it “exemplifies a transformative shift in bank design after World War II.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that a city document was filed this week to make Lytton Savings Bank a Historic-Cultural Landmark. The bank was designated a such a landmark in late 2016. The most recent filing was part of a demolition permit.