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Fight to save historic Century Plaza

April 28, 2009 8:21:14 AM PDT
It may not be 100 years old, but preservationists say the Century Plaza holds plenty of historical relevance, and they want to see it stay.The hotel did undergo a major facelift last year, but a few months after the completion, new owners came in who want to bring the hotel down.

The partnership that bought the 43-year-old property, led by investor Michael Rosenfeld, wants to bring in the wrecking ball and replace the famous hotel with two 50-story towers, featuring condominiums, offices, shops and a smaller luxury hotel.

The L.A. Conservancy is determined to stop developers and has enlisted help from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which just put the hotel on its list of most endangered historic places in America.

The Century Plaza held the welcome home state dinner for the Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969, as well as President-elect Ronald Reagan's victory celebration. It even earned the nickname "The West Coast White House" because of all the Washington politicos who stayed there over the years.

Owners said they are determined to go ahead with plans to tear it down, saying the development will be more eco-friendly and pedestrian-friendly, and will attract full-time residents, but the L.A. Conservancy said it will stick to its efforts to keep the Century Plaza standing.

America's 11 most endangered historic places for 2009, as compiled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, Mass.
The 19th-century industrial village is threatened by plans for a mixed-use development.

Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, Texas.
The collection of late 19th century buildings is threatened by hurricane damage in 2008.

Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles.
The hotel known as the "West Coast White House" is threatened by a plan to build two skyscrapers.

Dorchester Academy, Midway, Ga.
The school founded in 1868 to teach freed slaves is threatened by deterioration.

Human Services Center, Yankton, S.D.
The campus founded in 1879 as the South Dakota Hospital for the Insane is threatened by a state demolition plan.

Lanai City, Hawaii.
The plantation town built by pineapple baron James Dole is threatened by commercial development.

The Manhattan Project's Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, Utah.
The hangar that housed the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the world's first atomic bomb is threatened by disrepair.

Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine.
The first major lift bridge in the eastern U.S. is threatened by possible state removal.

Miami Marine Stadium, Virginia Key, Fla.
The stadium built entirely of poured concrete is threatened by hurricane damage and neglect.

Mount Taylor, near Grants, N.M.
The mountain that as many as 30 Indian tribes consider sacred is threatened by exploration and proposals for uranium mining.

Unity Temple, Oak Park, Ill.
The century-old Unitarian temple designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is threatened by years of water infiltration.

Eyewitness News Reporters Lisa Hernandez and Adrienne Alpert contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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