Hollywood Book City (6627 Hollywood Boulevard) continues to hang on, on a month-to-month basis. As the proposed plan by developer CIM to demolish the building for a new retail/ theater complex appears to be faltering, Book City has remained rather than closing last December. The store has been running a 50% off sale since then, with great success, and has received support in the media generating an increase in business. Plus, such regulars as Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Bradbury have voiced their support for one of Hollywoods few true retail treasures. New books are being brought in daily so pay them a visit and see why a great used books store is a key part of Hollywoods cultural and economic well being.
Security Pacific Building at Hollywood Blvd. / Cahuenga Blvd. The first high rise (7 stories) built in Hollywood (1921) was damaged during Metrorail construction and is in need of much cosmetic repair to its unglazed terra cotta exterior. Plans by owner Michel Bolour to repair and restore the damaged first two stories and replace a doorway pediment removed in the 1950s are being developed to start, hopefully, in May. Long time building manager (a rarity in Hollywood) Gary Pasciak says plans are afoot to open a restaurant in the former bank space and may include restoration of the ornate beamed ceiling, covered since the 1950s.
Woolworth / Toberman Building. The former location of Woolworths from the 1920s to the chains closing has had its enameled sheet metal façade from 1954 removed to reveal much of the 1910 brick façade intact. The storefronts have been remodeled several times and the upper decorative brick section has been removed, but restoration is possible. The building is being planned for such a restoration by owner CIM after Hollywood Heritage submitted original photos of it to the Community Redevelopment Agency in order to demonstrate the feasibility and legal requirements, under the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan, of such a restoration. Further research by Hollywood Heritage showed the building to be the oldest commercial structure in the Hollywood Boulevard Historic District and the first permanent structure built by Hollywoods pioneer developer Charles E. Toberman (thanks to Marc Wanamaker for the 1954 photo).
1912 N. Tamarind Ave. This 1910 Craftsman house had been threatened with demolition for a parking lot over a year ago when tenants were moved out. Neighbors rallied behind the organizing efforts of Kay Tornborg (now a Hollywood Heritage board member) and Missy Kelly. Petitions were compiled, meetings with Councilman Ferraros office garnered support, and several Planning Department hearings were held where Hollywood Heritage testified to the importance of preserving the house and providing parking elsewhere for the neighboring restaurants. Kay also nominated her 1908, beautifully restored Craftsman home on Tamarind for city landmark status during the battle and was designated as monument #687 last fall. The neighborhood came together, and with the support of Councilman Ferraro and Anne Marie Roos, all attempts to rezone the house for parking failed. The house has now been cleaned up and is for rent.
Hollywood Equitable Building. The northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine will once again return to its former glory in late April. Construction barricades, up since last summer, will be removed revealing the restored first floor, covered, altered, and unviewable since the early 1950s. The buildings interior has been also receiving some additional restoration. A "model office" that utilized historic elements found in various conditions throughout the 1929 building were combined to create an "authentic" original look. It proved so popular that many tenants opted for the historic look rather than the projected high-tech one. But the.
building refurbishing has included cutting edge technology throughout to meet the demands of any business.
Developer/owner Tom Gilmore and architects Barry Milofsky and Tom Michali of M2A have given back to Hollywood one of its finest buildings, plus two new restaurants (one operated by neighboring Capitol Records!) that will be opening on the first floor during the summer.
Hanna-Barbera Studios. As the world was mourning the passing of animation legend Bill Hanna, the Cahuenga Blvd. Hanna-Barbera Studio was being quietly saved and renovated. Four years ago plans were disclosed to demolish the 1962 modern building and its later additions after Hanna-Barbera moved out (to the Sherman Oaks Galleria of all places).
The Modern Committee of the Los Angeles Conservancy had nominated the 1962 structure as a City Landmark, which was strongly supported by Hollywood Heritage. But the opposition of the buildings new owner, Universal Studios, directed the citys Cultural Heritage Commission to ignore the historic use and 60s design, thereby blocking the nomination.
All appeared lost as the buildings sat empty and talk was of demolition to widen Cahuenga Blvd., or its Hollywood Freeway exit and entrance ramps. Now a "For Lease" sign appears with "Under Renovation" and is included in the ads with renovation is now proceeding.
Sometimes stalling what appears to be inevitable or making an issue of a buildings history and architecture, even if the owner and city disagree, can help to save a piece of history. It helped here and the buildings new owners, the McGregor Company, are to be commended for renovating and reopening this historic building (and the other two). Broker Will Adams, of J. Studley Co. reports the building is being marketed with its former history as an important part of it. Now the Hanna-Barbera legacy will continue to have a visible icon in our community, a reminder of a recent past that now seems very distant.