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Iconic 1966 Century Plaza Hotel gets spared

February 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The landmark Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, which had been slated for demolition, has been saved.Since it opened back in 1966, the Century Plaza Hotel has been the centerpiece of Century City. But a few months ago the 19-story curved hotel faced the wrecking ball. The owner wanted to demolish it and build two 50-story towers.

"The loss of this building would just sort of wipe out this spirit of optimism that so captured not only Los Angeles but California in the 1960s," said Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy.

The thought of knocking down this building upset a number of people including City Councilman Paul Koretz, who said that would happen "over my dead body."

"The Century Plaza is one of the great icons not only of Century City and the westside, but all of Los Angeles. And it was on the national list of the 11 most endangered historic sites," said Koretz.

It took months of negotiations, but now the owner and preservationists have come to an agreement that will save the hotel. There will be new development which will include stores, offices and residences.

"Building new construction that is going to be interactive. There'll be lots of pedestrian connectivity to the rest of Century City," said Dishman.

For nearly 45 years the hotel has been a gathering place for politicians and celebrities. It was designed by the same architect who designed the World Trade Center in New York City, a unique example of 1960s architecture.

"Our fear was that if we didn't start fighting for these '60s buildings, which are increasingly threatened, that we would not have the best of the 1960s left to save," said Dishman.

There are no detailed plans yet of what will be built, but the hotel itslef will remain largely unchanged. The development is expected to be completed in about five years.